ATB Beauty Notes: Cosmetic Selection Criteria in Sensitive Skin Patients

Got sensitive skin? The cosmetic formulation book I'm reading suggests you keep the following in mind when purchasing products: (my comments in italics)

1. Powder cosmetics should be selected: makes sense, as it reduces the shelf life of products and also inihibits contaimination by microbes. The whole mineral makeup line also uses mostly powder based products. I guess lesser the water / liquid, lesser the preservative content.

2. Cosmetics should be water removable: Oil based cosmetics need careful removal, or else it can leave behind traces on the skin which causes clogging of pores. It is the cleansing to blame, not the product.

3. Old cosmetics should be discarded:
No brainer. Old = expired preservatives = microbes + ingredients that have decomposed/broken down into maybe noxious toxins

4. Eyeliner and mascara should be black: Colored pigments generally are known to cause eye irritation. Black eye makeup actually has the least amount of irritating pigment. The ones with the largest is actually liners with red or purple pigments. For example, I am able to wear MAC Teddy (brown) without any problem on my waterline, but when I tried MAC Prunella (purple), it stung my eyes.

5. Pencil formulations should be used for eyeliner and eyebrow cosmetics: I really don't know why they suggest this, I'm guessing pencil liners have lesser chemicals compared to liquid liners that may have waterproofing ingredients.

6. Eye shadows should be earth-toned (tan, beige, light pink, cream): Less pigment which can cause irritation

7. Avoid chemical sunscreens in cosmetic formulations: Chemical sunscreens have been proven to break down when exposed to sunlight, the break down products can cause allergies to flare up in sensitive skin. Physical sunscreens (zinc oxide or titanium oxide) are much better, as they tend to sit on the surface of skin and don't penetrate to cause reactions, they are also much more stable.

8. Select cosmetic formulations with as few ingredients as possible: Kind of self-explanatory

9. Avoid nail polishes: I think it is very telling that nail polishes are in the avoid list. Nail paints are known to be the most toxic makeup products. So much so, that in certain regions in US, you cannot dispose them in the regular waste as they are classified as highly toxic for the environment. If you have to use nail paint, I'd say use transparent or very sheer ones.

10. Select cream/powder facial foundations or, if liquid, silicone-based formulations: Silicon can cause acne in some people, but it is also inert by nature and less likely to cause allergic or sensitive skin to flare up.

What are some things you keep in mind when shopping for sensitive skin?


  1. this is for me..i like the scientific angle you have to the post. any good cream foundation suggestions? leave mac!

  2. @Vanity: Thanks! :D.. am glad you found it useful. Cream foundations, hmm, besides MAC the other other brands I can think of which will have good quality ingredients is Bourjois Healthy Mix or Maxfactor. I hope this helps :D

  3. very informative.I don't use colored mascara and never apply colored eyeliner on my waterline.I have been very scared when it comes to sunscreen..still don't know which is the best but I use blossom kocchar and neutrogena spf30

  4. very informative post for sensitive skin Tanveer, great <3

  5. Informative Post..I really liked it ..Thanks for sharing.

  6. regarding the mineral makeup, I would also add that the minerals in the mineral makeup are known to be irritting to senstive skin....even titanium dioxide is also irritating to senstive skin so one might want to avoid that!!!
    and, regarding cleansing, I would say that oil based cleansers are always effective on all kinds of makeup and remove the complete traces of products so that should be preffered and generally, they are less irritating than chemical cleansers...

  7. Awesome read as always...

    am I being ignorant here? I never knew nail paints were so toxic..kinda freaked me out Tanvi

  8. @GGG: Nails paints are extremely toxic Poorni.. I had done a post on it a long while ago. I always buy nail paints that are either Big 3 free or only from Big Brands.. I steer clear away from all Chinese or local brands. The reason nails paints are so damaging is because they stay on your nails for so long and you use your hands in so many things - including food preparation and as Indians in eating too. Traces of it definitely enter the body.

  9. ty so much tanveer for following my blog..i m so happy!!!

  10. tis post was vry usefull & informative!!!

  11. Very informative Tanz..can we have more of these every week?

  12. Nice post Tanveer,
    whatz your reco on the sunscreen!!

  13. wow what a well thought of post, really amazing tips T. I am sure a lot of people will benefit out of it :)

  14. Really great many tips n info I nvr knew abt...
    Ty :))

  15. @Simran: Thanks! :)

    @AOYV: Thanks! :D

    @Dhanu: I use a Zinc Oxide - Titanium based sunscreen.. It is a Canadian brand. I find it suits my skin much better than a chemical sunscreen, but it is heavy & definitely leaves a whitish cast.

    @Anamika: Thanks! I will do these more often :D

    @Sunna: Thanks! :D

  16. @Pavani: You are most welcome :D

    @Swati: Thanks for sharing your tips on mineral makeup, I haven't used them so I didn't know that.. & I totally agree on the oil based cleanser bit - I have been using them since the last 2 years I will vouch for their superiority :D

    @KrazzyKi: Thanks! :)

    @Rakshanda: Thanks :D

    @Giggle: I used to use Neutrogena, but if I used it everyday it wld dry out my skin - so I stopped using it..


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