Beautiful lashes without the pain.

Top tips for using mascara on sensitive eyes, from a leading Ophthalmologist.
We all want a mascara that gives our lashes amazing definition; lengthening and volumising the frames of our eyes, with bonus points for nourishing and protecting our lashes. But if you’re someone who has sensitive eyes, you’ve got an additional check list for your mascara; not only does it need to stay put – especially if you are regularly using eye drops – but it also needs to be non-irritating, easy to apply and remove, and make you feel and look good, without flaring up any eye conditions that will only leave you in pain. Here are our top tips for using mascara on sensitive eyes, from Australian leading Ophthalmologist and Founder of OKKIYO, Dr Jacqueline Beltz.
A dramatic colourful eye shadow design, with mascara for sensitive eyes | OKKIYO

Start with a mascara made for sensitive eyes.

Sounds obvious right? But it can be harder than you think. Without rigid guidelines or criteria about declaring a product hypoallergenic or Ophthalmologist tested, it can be difficult to quickly identify which mascaras will be safest for your sensitive eyes – or even the best choice for those proactive about their eye health.
Typically, sufferers of dry eye (read: 7% of Australian adults…and climbing as we age), tend to reach for preservative free eye drops as ongoing use of alternatives can result in developing additional sensitivities. However, despite advancements in packaging and technologies, it is still important to incorporate a degree of preservatives in cosmetic products that include water in their ingredients (nearly all cosmetics). This is essential for avoiding contamination or overgrowth of bacteria or fungi, and we don’t need to tell you how harmful that can be for your eyes.
Despite this, levels and types of preservatives in your mascara can vary between brands and warrant a closer look. OKKIYO products have been produced especially to be suitable for people with sensitive eyes. Whilst it’s still important to know ingredients to avoid, and types of preservatives or other potential irritants in your chosen mascara, you can trust that Dr Beltz has avoided any ingredients that she thinks shouldn’t be used near your precious eyes or eye lid margins.

People with sensitive eyes sometimes struggle to wear mascara, which is unfortunate because we wear mascara to feel good.  OKKIYO mascara has been specifically designed for people with sensitive eyes and skin, but it’s also just a good safe mascara that you can use without needing to worry about your eye health.

Try new products out in a safe environment first.

Just like patch testing a new skin care product on sensitive skin, it is wise to try out any new mascara while you’re at home and can remove it immediately if you do have a reaction. Despite lab (not on animals!) and then completely independent Ophthalmologist testing on a group of people with sensitive eyes, reactions to OKKIYO (or any new-to-you products) are not impossible, which is why it is always important to pre-test, and have a back up plan.
Don’t apply a new mascara just before a long awaited girls night, or when you’re rushing out the door to work. Give yourself some time, and a steady hand. If you do have a reaction, remove the product, apply a cool compress and use any lubricating eye drops as prescribed. As always, if symptoms don’t settle quickly or if your reaction is severe then arrange to see your doctor or eye health professional. 

Authors note: Lubricant drops are especially refreshing if you keep them in the fridge.

Last on, first thing.

Sensitive eyes are often worse first thing in the morning. Compensate for hours of not blinking by treating the subsequent dry eyes with lubricating tear drops. Naturally we have 2 main types of tears – those that should be in our eyes, nourishing and protecting them all the time (a.k.a. our tear film), and reflex tears that come in with a vengeance after something like a poke to the eye.
To avoid ruining your mascara with these morning tears, start your day by applying any eye drops as prescribed. Follow your normal morning routine, leaving space for your eyes to settle in for the day. Then, as your last step, once your eyes have settled a bit, complete your gorgeous eye makeup and look-defining mascara, and trust that it will still be there when you get to work!

Dab – don’t squeeze.

Admit it - you, like everyone else, make a funny face when you apply mascara. The head tilting, mouth gaping, furiously blinking, inches-from-the-mirror position is familiar to most – and the blinking is actually helpful in dragging your lashes through the mascara wand, ensuring your lashes are nicely coated.
Blinking is fine,  but avoid scrunching or squeezing your eyes. Not only do you risk ruining your entire look, but you are also likely to smoosh mascara into your lids, causing irritation. When this happens, it is best to let smudges dry, before removing with a Q-tip, rather than spreading it further before it has set.
The same goes for using eye drops after applying mascara. Always wait until your mascara has properly dried – usually 2-3 minutes after application - then use eye drops as you normally would. Always blink lightly, avoiding the squeeze that will smudge your makeup, and have a tissue available to dab away any overflow.

Feeling extra sensitive? Stick to the tip.

If you are having a particularly sensitive day with your eyes, avoid potential drama and apply mascara just to the outer 2/3 of your lashes. Start by wiggling the brush into the middle of your lashes then draw it outwards, avoiding the base of your lashes altogether, to prevent the product from seeping into your eye lid margins or tear film. 

Authors Note: OKKIYO mascara is very mild and non-irritating, but if you don’t have a similar product or if you’re having a particularly bad day with your sensitive eyes, try wearing mascara just on the tips of your lashes.  It will still give you definition, just without disturbing the margins of your eye lids or tear film.

Applying mascara to only the top lash when your eyes are feeling sensitive is a great way to keep your make up look without irritating your eye

Shelf life of 6 months? Make it 3.

Even though the product is preserved, any mascara can still become contaminated, which is why it’s essential to never share eye makeup products, especially if you have sensitive eyes. 
People with sensitive eyes often have tiny scratches on the surface of their eyes, which compromises the protective barrier, leaving you prone to eye infections from misused or improperly cared for products. 
It’s critical to keep your makeup products and applicators clean if you have sensitive eyes. Even though the use by date might be 6 months after opening, we recommend disposing of your mascara every 3 months.  Mark down the date that you open it or sign up for our subscription and conveniently get a new one sent to you every 3 months.  It’s simply not worth the risk of infection to use mascara or eye products longer than recommended. 

Leave nothing behind.

We know you are aware, but how many of you are following the rules? At the end of the day, there should be nothing left on your face, and especially around your delicate eyes, if you want to best look after your skin and eye health.
The most important thing when removing eye makeup is to avoid rubbing your eyes. OKKIYO cleansing balm is currently being formulated specifically to assist in carefully removing all traces of mascara and other eye makeup, as well as to keep the natural oils along the eyelid margin healthy and clean.
Want to know the best way to safely remove eye makeup and cleanse the eyelid margins of sensitive eyes? Click here and sign up to our email list for a FREE download to get all the know how.

Mascara is a powerful tool.

When asked about the safety of using mascara on sensitive eyes, most Ophthalmologists take the easy option of saying “just don’t use it”.  At OKKIYO, we refuse that message. 
Mascara is a powerful tool that many of us use to feel good, enhancing our confidence or just making us feel more awake!  Sometimes it’s even more important to feel powerful if you have sensitive eyes.  At OKKIYO we want people to still wear and enjoy mascara, and make sure you can thanks to our safe-for-sensitive-eyes tips, and our thoughtfully designed mascara that will not worsen your sensitivities.
Dr Jacqueline Beltz Ophthalmologist and creator of OKKIYO, pioneering makeup for people with sensitive eyes - poses in a sofa chair in a pink 2 piece suit.
Dr Jacqueline Beltz, BMedSci (Hons), MBBS, FRANZCO, MSurgEd(Hons) is one of Australia’s leading cataract, cornea and laser eye surgeons.  She has almost 20 years of experience in eye health, is Co-President of the Australasian Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgeons and recent Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Corneal Society.  Jacqueline works at Eye Surgery Associates and Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne.  Along with her medical degree and specialty training, Jacqueline also has a Masters in Surgical Education.  She recently completed 6 years as Director of Training for the Victorian Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and 10 years as Associate Medical Director of the Lions Eye Donation Service, Victoria.  Jacqueline loves ophthalmology, sees many patients every week and is always striving to improve, both personally and professionally.
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