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The best makeup for dry eyes

Recently, one of our lovely customers messaged us asking for tips on choosing makeup for dry eyes. Below are our top tips.

Steer-clear of certain ingredients

If there is one thing to know about Peep Club, it’s that we really care about ingredients – how they’re sourced (organic, sustainably farmed, unprocessed), how they work (high-level scientific studies only) and who they’re best for (not all eyes are the same!). Needless to say, this philosophy carries over to our advice on makeup products.

There are 4 ingredients to steer clear of if you have any form of dry eyes;

3 are ingredients to avoid if you have any form of dry eyes (including mild) and the last one is more for those with moderate to severe dry eyes.


Alcohol is a common ingredient found in makeup used around or near your eyes (specifically makeup setting sprays, certain foundations or concealers and of course, makeup removers). Dry eyes tends to make your eyes more sensitive and also, more vulnerable to irritating ingredients (especially if you tear film – your eyes first line of defence – has been compromised). As alcohol can be sensitising – causing an irritating reaction – especially on dry or vulnerable skin or eyes, it is better avoided. Steer clear of INCI lists that have alcohol, denatured alcohol (also known as alcohol denat), ethanol or denatured ethanol.


Similar to alcohol is fragrance. Strangely, many mascaras and even eye cream brands still add fragrance to their products, despite the fact that it has no cosmetic benefit. As fragrance can be particularly sensitising to those with dry skin and dry eyes it is better to look for mascara or eye creams that explicitly say ‘fragrance free’. Especially as fragrance allergies and sensitivities go hand-in-hand with dry eyes.


Many, if not most, of your cream or solid makeup products will contain wax (when it comes to eyes; mascara, eyeliner and facial balms especially will likely contain wax). Wax is added to most non-liquid cosmetics to keep it solid and stable in warmer temperatures. Our Soothing Coconut Eye Balm is formulated without wax – but the downside is that it will melt and needs to be stored in the fridge in warmer temperatures.

Powders; specifically talc

Powders are included in cosmetics to combat and outlast your natural oil/ moisture – which is fine when it comes to a setting powder on an oily t-zone but definitely not what you want near your dry eyes! Ideally switch your powders out for their cream equivalent eg cream eyeshadows instead of powder formulas – there are a lot more cream options on the market than before, with most brands (high end and drug-store) having a cream alternative for blush, eyes and foundation.

If makeup powders (such as foundation powders, setting powder and eye shadows) are an important part of your routine – really try to keep your eyes closed tight while applying them – to avoid them interacting with your eye surface. Ideally go for talc-free formulas – as talc is one of the most drying of all the powder ingredients and, finally, try opt for preservative-free powder formulas where possible.

What about preservatives and eye makeup?

In case you haven’t already, check-out our new post on preservative-free eyecare! Preservative-free is less important for your eye make-up (mascara and eyeliner) than for your eyecare products (eye make-up remover, eye lash growth serums, sprays/ drops) because your eye makeup is less likely to come into direct contact with the front surface of your eye (the cornea). However, as mentioned above setting powder and eyeshadows are the two that can touch your eye surface most easily – unless you really make an effort to keep your eye closed while applying them.

Ideally opt for preservative-free, especially for any powders you use, if you have severe dry eyes, as your cornea will be more vulnerable from the excessive dryness – but if you do, remember to pay very close attention to use-by dates on your products (ideally use within 1-3 months of opening).

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