6 Gentle Brands of Mascara for Sensitive Eyes

Finding the right mascara takes trial-and-error for most folks, but it feels especially daunting for those of us with sensitive eyes. On the quest for the perfect formula that doesn’t make our eyes sting or water, we’ve tried many a tube and through rigorous testing, we’ve been able to narrow it down to these six picks.

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1. Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Primer: Best Natural Formula

Clean beauty often gets knocked for underperforming, but this 2-in-1 mascara delivers on all fronts. On one end is the primer, which has jojoba esters that condition lashes; on the other end is the mascara, which is super glossy and lengthening. With no silicones, parabens, mineral oil, sulfates or synthetic fragrances, the formula is dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested and approved. 

2. Maybelline Full 'n Soft Washable Mascara: Best Value

If volume is what you seek, then look no further than this drugstore classic. With a fat, fluffy wand that makes your lashes equally robust and a vitamin e-enriched formula that keeps each hair soft to the touch, it’s the rare mascara that doesn’t flake or run throughout the day. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, meaning it has fewer potentially irritating ingredients in the formula. 

3. Eyeko Lash Alert! Mascara: Best Water-resistant

Speaking of flakes, if you haven’t tried a tubing mascara yet, you’re in for a treat. Rather than simply coating your lashes with pigments and waxes like traditional formulas do, a tubing mascara sheaths each hair in flexible polymers that makes your lashes resistant to the everyday offenders like sweat, tears or mindless rubbing. Plus, the curved brush and densely-packed bristles in this tube catch and curl every last lash. 

4. Clinique High Impact Mascara: Best For Easy Removal

With a mission to formulate products that deliver “maximum results without irritation,” it perhaps comes as no surprise that this cult mascara made our list. Completely fragrance- and paraben-free, this gentle pick goes on as smoothly and comes off at the end of the day just as easily. (No fancy makeup removers or excessive tugging required.) We’ve been wearing this mascara since we first got contact lenses (many years ago, mind you) and haven’t looked back since. 

5. Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara: Best Lengthening

For an everyday, natural-looking lash, this is our go-to tube. Formulated with rice proteins, vitamin E and olive oil, it elongates every last hair without making them brittle. Even the bristles on the wand—which are evenly spaced and super soft—take extra care not to burden your lashes. (No jabbing here.) The only caveat is that it’s not meant to add volume, so if you’re looking to build bulk, we’d recommend going with one of the others on this list or using them in tandem. 

6. Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara: Best Dramatic

A makeup artist favorite, this luxe formula is known for its high impact results. Packed with beeswax to beef up thin lashes and acacia gum to hold and set a curl, a few swipes transform your short, wispy hairs into long, lush fringe.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...