Whether dryness, redness, reactivity, itching, or just general inflammation, sensitive skin comes in many forms, and can present challenges when it comes to finding a targeted skincare and makeup ritual that’s right for your unique skin. And, while skincare is often the focus in soothing, calming, and repairing irritated, sensitized complexions, your nourishing practice doesn’t end with your skincare ritual, the makeup you choose matters too.
Sensitive skin can be a vicious cycle. You use makeup to conceal the redness or dryness, yet paradoxically, that makeup could actually be making those things worse. That’s why taking a skin-first approach to your makeup is so important. As with your skincare, the first step in selecting makeup for sensitive skin is to look to the ingredients as your guide, and to target hybrid, skincare-powered makeup that cares while it adds color.
Generally speaking, most of us encounter some sort of skin sensitivity at some point in our lives. It can be caused by many different external or internal factors, and tends to be seasonal, temporary, or persistent. “Menopause, pregnancy, over-cleansing, not knowing the ingredients in all of the skincare products you’re intermingling, not washing your face before bed, these are all types of sensitivities I see a lot of,” explains Alayne White, top skincare expert. For more serious, chronic sensitive skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, it’s best to consult a dermatologist for advice and a treatment plan.
It’s impossible to talk about makeup without looking at skincare. The same principles apply to anything you're putting on your skin. Conditioning, nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, squalane, and vitamin E, along with hydrators like hyaluronic acid, and protective antioxidants such as vitamin C should be at the top of your makeup’s ingredient list. “For sensitive skin, my go-to ingredients are also chamomile and cooling aloe and cucumber,” adds Alayne. These universally skin-positive ingredients will buffer and replenish skin, while letting the pigment power do its thing.
And, what’s not in a product is as important to know as what is. Talc, parabens, fragrance, and sulfates can all be very irritating, that’s why all our Glo complexion and color products are formulated without them—meaning that all our makeup is suitable for sensitive skin.
“Make mineral makeup your go-to for sensitive skin”, advises Anna De La Cruz, Glo’s Master Aesthetician. “It contains more natural ingredients and less fillers— for instance, our Pressed Base contains over 80% minerals, then the rest is comprised of antioxidants and binders. And, minerals like titanium dioxide provide a natural environmental shield, protecting all skin, especially sensitive, from damage.”
If you’re experiencing visible skin sensitivities like dry patches, irritation, or redness, you’ll want a staple, reliable base and concealer in your kit.
Making sure you’re going for hybrid, skincare-powered makeup formulations infused with SPF will really help protect you against damaging free radicals and shield against any photo-sensitivities like redness and irritation. Our award-winning Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+, is an essential for all skin types—especially sensitive, as it hydrates while offering protection against damaging UV rays, and of course, delivers a delightfully lightweight and dewy tinted glow. Just add concealer, and you're good to go.
Addinn an additional buffer layer of primer will really help give skin that hydration and moisture it needs, while allowing any foundation or concealer to be applied more evenly and comfortably. All of our primers are suitable for sensitive skin, but one of our most loved is the Tinted Primer SPF 30 as it gives a lightweight tint, vital sun protection, and primes skin so beautifully, creating a clear and comforted skin canvas.
You’ll want to avoid cakey, heavier powders that might cling to the dry patches. Instead, try a liquid foundation like the Luminous Liquid Foundation SPF 18 or HD Mineral Stick. Featuring hyaluronic acid, and an elevated mix of vitamins and antioxidants including green tea, both formulations help moisturize and hydrate skin, while offering light, second-skin radiant coverage.
And, this same texture principle applies to concealers too. Our Luminous Brightening Concealer is just the thing for drier or more irritated complexions. A little goes a long way, so you could use this on its own, teamed with the Moisturizing Tint SPF 30, or foundation, depending on the coverage effect you’re going for.
When talking about sensitive skin makeup, it’s important not to overlook the eyes. The skin around the eyes is thinner and often a little more sensitive. And, then there are the eyes themselves. Many people will experience allergies throughout the year which can make their eyes more sensitive, and prone to redness, watering, or puffiness. Make sure your eye makeup—especially your mascara and liner as these are closest to the eye itself, are allergy-free, ophthalmologist-approved, non-irritating formulations. And, all our eye products are free of mineral oil and fragrance, both of which can be very irritating on the eyes and skin in general.
With our full lineup of makeup being suitable for sensitive skin, there’s no end to the color play. Again, much like with the base, for drier complexions, opt for richer, creamier color like our Creme Glaze Lip Crayon, Cream Blush, Glow Up Highlighter, and Cream Stay Shadow Sticks, as these all condition while they add color.
All our products are expertly crafted to work synergistically together, and that goes for our skincare with our makeup too. You can boost your makeup by blending it with your favorite serum for added skin-nourishing benefits. For more reactive, stressed complexions add 2-3 drops of Phyto-Calm Aloe Drops to your primer, tinted moisturizer, or foundation for a calming boost, for super dry complexions try adding HA-Revive Hyaluronic Drops to hydrate and refresh, and for added conditioning add Phyto-Active Conditioning Oil Drops on the daily.
“Hands down, my favorite combination for very reactive, sensitive skin is adding a few drops of the Phyto-Calm Aloe Drops to the Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+,” shares Alayne.
Of course, the best base for your makeup is a happy, comfortable complexion. “If you’re experiencing a flare-up of skin sensitivities, it’s a good idea to stop everything and just keep it simple,” Alayne advises. “Use cool water, opt for a gentle cleanser, and a soothing moisturizer with no acids.”
“Of all the moving parts of better skincare, this is the easiest one to address. Your skin goes into its repair mode when you are sleeping and as you sleep, you want it to take in all of the goodness you have placed on it. If you don’t wash your face, you let the pollutants of the day soak in and wreak havoc.
“Use a sensitive skin-friendly cleanser that removes makeup, and the dirt and grime from the day. If you wear a lot of makeup, you’ll need a double cleanse or a makeup remover first. For this, I recommend the Essential Cleansing Oil, it’s gentle and effective for all skin types, especially sensitive.”
“Don’t let hot water beat on your face in the shower. Sensitive skin should be treated sensitively, so always use water on the cooler or lukewarm side. And, if you’ve done a good job washing your face the night before, then you don’t necessarily need to wash in the morning if you’re a super sensitive person. Sometimes less is more.”
“For sensitive complexions, mechanical exfoliation can be very irritating and make redness worse. Avoid scrubs, and opt for gentle chemical exfoliators such as Hydra-Bright Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant once a week just to help break down the flaky build-up and allow for the moisturizer or serum to do its magic. Start using just a small amount on a cotton pad, and build up your tolerance. Avoid using this on openly inflamed skin, just work your way around it.”
“If your skin is screaming, go back to the basics to start, and build it back up slowly. This will help isolate the problem which may be as simple as one product being a little too active for your skin’s tolerance levels. For flare-ups, it’s good to visit your aesthetician or dermatologist."
“Aloe vera is such an incredible anti-inflammatory for redness, and the Phyto-Calm Aloe Drops are a game-changer for reactive skin, so is the Soothing Gel Mask. If you’re super red and want to cover up or at least minimize the redness, try the Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+—you get a tint, a sunscreen, and an oil-free moisturizer all in one and it is a great way to feel good, protect, and hydrate with one simple product."
"There are many factors that can cause sensitivity, and while it’s easy to blame your skincare, it can often be coming from an internal issue. Watch what you’re eating. Your skin is a mirror to your wellbeing. Pay attention and moderate alcohol, dairy, processed food, sugary drinks. For any continuous issue, visit your dermatologist or a registered dietician."