Finding Nonirritating, Cruelty-Free Makeup Has Been a Challenge for a Sensitive Soul with Sensitive Skin Like Me

I think I've finally found the perfect products that don't disagree with my allergies and my love of animals.

I was born with sensitive skin. It's been with me from the time I was a babe to present-day 27-year-old me. I have terrible dry skin, allergies, and eczema, and anything sets it off: makeup, sunscreen (I'm allergic to even hypoallergenic sunscreen), certain plants and grass, heavily scented lotions, etc.

The saddest one of all, though, is makeup. I LOVE makeup! Granted, day-to-day, I wear little makeup because it upsets my skin, but I adore getting gussied up for a night out. My dream is to be rich and get invited to cocktail parties where I don't have to actually pay for the cocktails and I can have someone do my makeup for me on these special occasions. Sadly, that will most likely never be the case. But hey, dream big.

Another thing that makes it harder for me to find makeup is my passion and empathy towards animals. I would hate to monetarily support any company who tests their cosmetic products on animals. I look at my beautiful cat, Margot, and cannot imagine endorsing a company that could hurt such a sweet little creature, or any other living thing.

So I recently revamped my makeup. I wanted a fresh new look and my old makeup, particularly my BB cream, was cakey and drying me out (something that BB cream should NOT be doing). I went to Sephora and insisted on sitting down and having them do their nifty little skin-tone test to help me find the perfect shade of everything.

I consider myself luckier than most because, while the Sephora employee tried multiple products on my face, my three favorite brands all happened to be cruelty-free brands with clear statements on their websites opposing the use of testing on animals.

So now, without further ado, I will enlighten you of my findings.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

I know! I said I was allergic to sunscreen, and I am. But it affects me much more when it's in chemical form in a moisturizer and my skin is directly absorbing it. As long as I prep my skin with a light moisturizer before putting on makeup with mineral SPF, even if that makeup is a moisturizer, my skin does not absorb it and therefore is not irritated.

All of that aside, this is probably my favorite new product. It is just light and silky enough to feel like water being splashed on your face, but thick enough to cover any blemishes and really even out your skin tone. I can wear it all day and it never dries out, because it, too, is a moisturizer! Don't we just love makeup that doubles as a moisturizer? I have the driest skin, and now I don't need to reapply moisturizer throughout the day to keep from becoming dry and cakey.

Benefit Fake-Up Undereye Hydrating Concealer

Along with my sensitive swin, I was born with the darkest of under-eye circles, and as gross as this sounds, sometimes my eyes get very itchy and dry and flaky from allergy-induced eczema. But this product has done wonders.

It has a hydrating tube of moisturizer with concealer built into it. The eye area is the most sensitive area on your face, and this stuff is the real deal — no irritation whatsoever. Even when my eyes are inflamed and in rough shape, this moisturizes and soothes. My tip for users would be to use lightly and blend fully; otherwise it will get into the creases under and above your eyes and show lines. Other than that, it is a terrific product!

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder

Sometimes, I just skip the NARS tinted moisturizer, and this powder is enough. It's so even, and the color spectrum is great for any skin tone in any season. It makes my complexion look even and smooth, and it has never irritated or dried out my skin. I have used three different colors for different parts of the year, and each one has matched my skin flawlessly. The best part is, it stays on all day. No reapplication.

A couple of more cruelty free products that I love: NARS Blush, and this very stunning cream RMS Beauty Eye Polish.

RMS is extremely health-conscious and environmentally friendly. They use all-natural ingredients, which, in the past, has meant severe rashes, redness, and break-outs on my skin, but so far, I have had zero problems with skin irritation. The difference between their natural ingredients, listed on their website, and others is that their ingredients mostly consist of natural butters and oils which actually work to heal your skin. Makeup that heals your skin and provides nutrients! You really can't beat that.

You may be thinking that all of these products are a little out of a millennial's price range, but in the long run, I feel like I'm saving money. I never have to reapply, as opposed to when I used to use cheap drugstore makeup and I would always be reapplying throughout the day. Also, generally speaking, cheaper makeup has harsher chemicals, has often been tested on animals, and generally irritates my skin more, causing me to have to buy more products to soothe and heal my skin.

I try to wait and replenish my beauty stock after Christmas and birthdays via gift cards, but I rarely need to replenish because each product lasts so long. I can cover far more facial area with much less product, saving me time and money in the long run. Not to mention the happy skin.

  • What are some of your favorite cruelty-free makeup picks for sensitive skin?
  • Know anything that won't break the bank?