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Can’t wear mascara anymore? Or struggling to find a brand that doesn’t cause sore eyes?

In this article, you’ll learn more about the best mascara for sensitive eyes. Plus, we’ll review the ingredients in five top mascaras.

You may have searched for brands that say:

  • Hypoallergenic mascara
  • Vegan, organic mascara
  • Sensitive eyes mascara

However, makeup brands don’t have to prove that they’re safe. Especially in USA and Australia!

Did you know that there are only 11 banned makeup ingredients in the USA. In Europe there are over 1300 banned makeup ingredients.

When you put on mascara, have you ever thought about how close it is to the coloured part of your eyes? Even if you’re careful to put it on well, mascara can still fall into your eyes.

Your eyes and eyelids start to get sore, watery, tired and dry from the buildup. Even if it doesn’t hurt now, it might later.

Image: Zyany BMO (Unsplash)

Toxic ingredients in Mascara

How do you know what ingredients are bad in a mascara?

If you’ve ever tried to read the ingredients of your product, you’ll know how daunting it can be. But you don’t have to be a chemistry graduate!

On this list of best mascaras, I looked at the ingredients of five most common brands.

I put in the ingredients into Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep ingredient search box.

Here are the surprising results:

Brand 1

  • Paraffin Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Butylene Glycol Human any irritant – strong evidence
  • Polybutene May cause skin irritation
  • Aminomethyl Propanol Classified as irritant
  • Phenoxyethanol Classified as irritant, Neurotoxic

Brand 2

  • Paraffin Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Butylene Glycol Human any irritant – strong evidence
  • Aminomethyl Propanol Classified as irritant
  • Octyldodecanol Human any irritant – strong evidence
  • Ethylhexlglycerin Causes serious eye damage
  • Phenoxyethanol Classified as irritant, Neurotoxic

Brand 3

  • Propylene Glycol Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Aminomethyl Propanol Classified as irritant
  • Phenoxyethanol Classified as irritant, Neurotoxic
  • Ethylhexlglycerin Causes serious eye damage

Brand 4

  • Alcohol Denat Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Cyclopentasiloxane Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Propylene Glycol Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Paraffin Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Polymethylmethacrylates Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Triethanolamine Human skin toxicant or allergen- strong evidence
  • Methylparaben Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Isopropylparaben Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Isobutylparaben Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Butylparaben Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful

Brand 5

  • Polybutene Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
  • Triethanolamine Human skin toxicant or allergen – strong evidence
  • Phenoxyethanol Classified as irritant, Neurotoxic
  • Butylene Glycol Human any irritant – strong evidence
  • Tocopheryl Acetate Human skin toxicant or allergen – strong evidence
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate Human any irritant – strong evidence
  • Potassium Sorbate Human skin toxicant or allergen – strong evidence
  • Titanium Dioxide Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful

Did you make it this far?

It’s a long list, right?

When you think about toxic ingredients, it’s hard to know what’s in a mascara before buying it. The ingredients list is overwhelming.

So we just pick a product that is attractive or affordable. And what we think is right for us.

Toxic Eye Damage from Mascara

So there are toxic ingredients in my cosmetics? What’s the damage?

As an Optometrist, people see me regularly with cosmetic-related symptoms like:

  • Red eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Sandy eyes
  • Filmy eyesight
  • Eyestrain
  • Tired eyes
  • Headaches

These are temporary right? Maybe…

However, for some people, eye problems can be permanent and painful.

You only get one pair of eyes, right?

Best mascara for sensitive eyes (and eye-friendly)

Have you had to give up wearing mascara? Or need to find something different that doesn’t make your eyes sore?

I’m on the lookout for eye makeup brands that support eye health. I found a great brand that I’m happy with. I’ve ordered some myself for my lovely wife.

Eyes are the story mascara
Eyes Are the Story Mascara Trio Set are designed to be changed regularly.

Each of the ingredients in Eyes Are The Story 2020 Capsule Collection was made to be safe for the eyes.

Eyes Are the Story 2020 Capsule Collection includes a range of Skincare & Makeup for sensitive skin and eyes. Tested non-toxic.

Unlike other makeup brands, you won’t end up with red, sore eyes.

Imagine the freedom of being able to wear your makeup again. You have the confidence that you used to have before.

You can enjoy the lift you get from putting on your eye makeup in the morning, knowing this stuff is good for you.

Read the Full Review of Eyes Are The Story- by a Makeup Artist

Want to see a review by an acclaimed makeup artist?

“First off, I want to thank you for trusting in my expertise, as a bridal makeup artist, to send me the Eyes Are The Story 2020 CAPSULE COLLECTION product line.

I know you didn’t request a full breakdown, but I wanted to share my honest thoughts with you (as I know how it is to put everything into one’s brand)

As you can imagine, I haven’t worn as much makeup as I usually wear during the pandemic, so it took me much longer to get to the point where I could give a thorough breakdown of my thoughts.

I have used the products on myself for the past 8-10 weeks and I am happy to share with you my honest and thorough thoughts about the products. I spent my time making sure I gave you detailed feedback. I went back to rework my findings to streamline the information. I will not discuss ingredients or recommended changes to the formulation (I will only discuss formulation in reference to my particular makeup needs, if needed).

First off, the packaging is amazing and spectacular! I love the matte black box packaging for the group products. The silver packaging for the mascara, eyeliner and skincare products is so sleek and has a sophisticated and luxurious feel to it. Makes me happy every time I use them. The products individually are ingenious and I love how they work very well independently.

Below are my thoughts and feedback about the products:

1) Eye Proof Facial Cleanser: As I mentioned, I had a baby last year, therefore, my skin went haywire. I am currently under the care of a dermatologist and I am using some prescription products. I didn’t want to use the cleaner and serum for a prolonged period of time, as I wanted to experience the true benefit of the cleanser and serum once my skin has cleared. I was able to try the cleanser and as an ‘oily-skinned’ person, I loved that it has a gel-like consistency and it is fragrance free. A true winning combination. I will say, I did not experience any issues when I used it. No burning or irritation occurred on my skin or around my eyes. I agree this is great for sensitive skin b/c I had no reaction.

2) Eye Proof Facial Serum: I like that the serum absorbs very well into the skin and does not leave behind a film or residue. I did not experience any burning or irritation. And it is fragrance free…and it is great for oily skin

3) Eye Proof Liquid Liner: I love how precise the felt tip of the eyeliner is. I store mine with the tip downwards and I have never had a problem with it drying out. It is refreshing to see that it does not dry out quickly. Again, the slick silver packaging is incredibly luxe. It’s pretty much foolproof and I get my wing liner right every time. I always get my wing liner right. I only recommend this liner for everyday use, as it is not super long wearing. It is not the blackest black, which makes more of an impact for deeper skin tones like mine.

4) Eye Proof Mascara Mini: I noticed the mascara usage direction verbiage hasn’t been updated. It still says “For best results, use twice daily”. I do not suggest using mascara twice daily. I found this mascara to be flake-free, defining and natural. I didn’t find it volumizing, which works fine for me because I have unruly curly lashes, so defining mascaras work great with my eyelashes. I love that the brush head is small, because I can also use it for my lower lashes with ease without any mistakes. I like that it is not waterproof (but that makes it not long wearing). For this reason, I only recommend it for everyday use and not for important occasions (where sweating or crying might happen). As I mentioned with the liquid liner, it is not a “very” black color, so for my complexion…the impact and project is not there. Therefore, it is natural and great for everyday use. As we discussed, I think it is ingenious that you have the trios.

5) Eye Proof Refreshing Towelettes: The towelettes work very well. I have sensitive eyes, and usually other eye wipes and most facial wipes either burn or make the area around my eyes sore. In the case of these towelettes, I had no such reaction. I also used one on my client and I asked her how she felt. She was impressed and said it felt great (with how well it took off the eye makeup she came in with) and would look into getting some. I also like that the expiration date is on each individual satchel. I would categorize this product as unscented. The slight scent that I perceive is pleasant and almost undetectable. The directions for use, says to use an individual towelettes for each eye to avoid cross contamination. When I use the towelettes, I feel each wipe is pretty large for one eye (unless you are trying to remove waterproof products or lots and lots of makeup). Therefore, I would suggest to cut the towelette in half and put the two pieces in each package. I am not sure if this makes sense. I think it would be more sustainable and easier to use, if there were two wipes (two halfs) for both eyes in the same package. I know it mentions that they are individually wrapped for each eye to avoid cross-contamination, but if the person takes out the wipe, one at a time (after washing their hands), it might work as well. It would just depend on how the towelettes are folded and placed into the packaging.

Also, below is The Action Plan of what I have done so far with the products: Apart from using the products on myself, I shared your company and products with my clients, makeup artist colleagues via word of mouth and during my 1-on-1 makeup classes and makeup application appointments. I mentioned them organically while talking about products to my clients. I stressed the need to reduce cross contamination, especially due to the pandemic. I did not use my products on anyone else (except the Eye Proof Refreshing Towelettes on the client I mentioned above). I did make sure to bring up the products, if I thought it would be a good fit for their individual needs. Again, thanks for believing in what I do.”

Currently the Eyes Are The Story range includes:

  • Eye Proof Facial Cleanser – $39
  • Eye Proof Facial Serum – $89
  • Eye Proof Liquid Liner – $39
  • Eye Proof Mascara Trio Set – $39
  • Eye Proof Refreshing Towelettes – $29
  • Trinacria Collection – $119
    • Includes the Cleanser, Serum, and Towelettes
  • 2020 Capsule Collection – $159
    • A gift set that includes all products

Tap on this link (or watch the video review by Dr Melanie Denton Dombrowski, O.D. below)

Shop online for the 2020 Capsule Collection

Love makeup? Make sure you use makeup that won’t damage your eyes. You only get one pair of eyes.

Browse the range of Eyes Are The Story mascara, eyeliner, serum and cleanser

Want a coupon code? Enter winkwink at checkout to take 20% off your first order

Eyes Are The Story skincare & makeup range is currently available in USA & Canada.

Live outside these areas? EyesAreTheStory may be available in your country in the future.

For now, have a friend or relative who lives in the USA/Canada to ship to you. This is what I did for my wife.

Question of the Day

What’s the best mascara you’ve found for sensitive eyes? Leave a comment below.


  1. NY Magazine ( Accessed May 26th 2020.
  2. EWG Skin Deep ( Accessed May 26th 2020.
  3. O’Dell, LE. Sullivan, AG. Periman LM. ADVANCED OCULAR CARE | JULY/AUGUST 2016.


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1 Comment

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