Eye Shadow Makeup Causing Puffy Eyes

Updated on May 05, 2013
L.R. asks from Houston, TX
18 answers

Back in November my eyelids from the crease to the lashes puffed up on eye. I didn't wear makeup for about three weeks and it went away. Started wearing eye makeup again and then both eyes puffed up. Again I didn't wear makeup for about three weeks and it went away. After trial and errors I find it's the eye shadow that's doing this. I can put it on in the morning but by around 3:00 in the afternoon I'll start getting an itch and then the lid starts puffing up. It takes about a week for it to go back down to normal. The dermotologists seems to think I'm allergic to eye shadow and suggested I try non-allergenic eye makeup, but how can that be after wearing it for the past 30 years! The only eye-makeup I can wear is eye-liner and mascara with no problems.

Needless to say I've tried Allmay, Covergirl, Loreal, and Physician's Formula, and Bare Minerals with the same results.

Has anyone had this happen to them and are there any suggestions for non-allergenic or natural eye shadows.

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answers from Austin on

Have you tried Mary Kay or Avon? Also, could it be that there might've been some kind of bacteria that may've gotten in the shadow or on the applicator? Do you wash and/or sanitize the applicator at all? Perhaps that will help if you did. What about trying a new container w/the same shadow?? Are you removing the eye shadow at night w/a hypoallergenic remover too? How about cleansing the eyelid area after removing the makup? It may be the brand too. That's strange that you would start having this reaction after using the same shadow for years. Maybe you just now are developing an allergy to it but I'd try the same shadow, just a new container & see if that helps first & again, consider Mary Kay or Avon. I've never had trouble w/their makup so far & their products are supposed to be hypoallergenic, at least I know MK is supposed to be. Hope this helps, good luck!

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answers from Orlando on

I have worked for Clinique for 13 years and see this all the time. The body changes and allergies can develop at any time.
Some are allergic to the dye in eye shadow. Red in particular. So that would rule out any purple, blue or pink shadow. Sparkle can irritate and fragrance. I would stick with neutral colors (although I've seen allergies to these as well), make sure it is fragrance free, and maybe put concealer or base on eyelids to give it a sort of "barrier" before you apply the shadow. Make sure your shadow is new and your applicators/brushes are clean. Or apply with a cotton swab, so you know it is bacteria free.
Try Clinique. We are fragrance free and allergy tested which means we actually put the finished product on humans when we test to see if there can be a reaction. It goes a step further than "hypo-allergenic" which just means the ingredients in the product are not known to cause a reaction, but who knows what can happen once things are mixed together?!
Good Luck! And there is nothing wrong w/ wearing just eyeliner and mascara, think of all the time you will save! :) I feel these two products are the biggest difference makers when it comes to making eyes stand out.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i have developed allergies to makeup i've worn for years, including expensive hypo-allergenic stuff. elizabeth arden sends my poor eyes into the puffed-shut zone, and i've found that the older i get, the more intolerant i get of ANY mascara that is any color but basic black. this is after decades of wearing pretty much anything.
it stinks, but there ya go.
stay with very good quality natural-ingredients products and use them sparingly. the high-priced department store cosmetics are worse for my eyes than cheap bargain-basement brands.

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answers from Portland on

We do develop allergies to things that we've used for years. I'm allergic to many foods and it seems I develop a new allergy every year. It's the frequent exposure that causes the body to build up antigens against it.

I'm not able to wear eye shadow or mascara because they make my eyes red and itchy. I've tried several different brands and not found one that worked for me. I hope that someone knows of other brands that might work.

Later: My allergist told me that most cosmetic allergies are to the perfume/scent, chemical dye, and most often to the preservative. Look up a list of cosmetic preservatives so that you'll recognize them. Look for unscented products and those colored with a natural ingredient. I don't know if there is a product that would fit that bill but you could try to find one or eliminate one each time you try a new product.

:Later, Benedryl does not relieve allergies that affect the eyes. I don't think the newer non drowsy ones do either. Otherwise I could wear make up. I've been on antihistamines 24-7 and still had the same intense itchiness and redness.

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answers from Topeka on

How old is your makeup it does expire it should be thrown out after awhile and especially since your having issues with puffines...Makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria and all other types of illnesses from eye,akeups to lipsticks and glosses.Replace all your makeup.Look on the product lables for nonallergenic and natural formula.Maybe your makeup is too old maybe not but if your trying different brands and they are all given you eye puffinesses then ditch them and go with what you can wear...

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answers from Dallas on

Hi L.,
Shaklee has a line called Minerelles®. It is anti-aging and there are 8 patents on the line. All Minerelles eyeshadows provide silky smooth formulas that blend easily and are ophthalmologist-tested. They won't irritate, crease, flake, or build up around the eye area.
If you are interested, let me know.

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answers from Atlanta on

Hi L.,

The body does change and allergies can develop but that is usually because of a nutritional change. If your diet has changed, or you've aged and your diet didn't change with you, allergies will develop. I always recommend that you take an age appropriate absorbable multivitamin to maintain that extra ummmph!

Also, there is a possibility that the makeup is not bothering you but some bacteria has gotten into it and there is an irritant there. That's the reason makeup experts recommend that you throw things out every 3-6 months. You can also go to www.cosmeticsdatabase.com and see if there is an irritant in your makeup that will cause you to develop an allergy. I use a non-toxic, natural line called Sei Bella that is wonderful if you're looking for suggestions.

Hope this helped!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I have pretty much the same thing, but it extends to anything near my eyes as well (on cheeks). I found through trial and error that Benefit works for me. It is not hypoallergenic or anything, but it still works even though hypoallergenic doesn't. You may want to experiment with cheaper brands. They also work better.

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answers from Austin on

You can most definitely develop an allergy to anything at anytime. It doesn't matter how long you've been using it. In fact long term exposure to something is often what does it. Ditch that eye makeup and try something else. You might start experimenting with brands from Whole Foods (however, just because they are more natural doesn't mean you are not allergic to those too). It's most likely a specific ingredient you are allergic too that is in most eye shadows. Just try different things. I will say, however, that my mom has the same problem.that you do. Except that hers don't visibly swell, she just becomes itchy and her eyes feel slightly swollen. She has trouble with almost everything other than lipstick. She never had a problem with this until her 50's. She does better with cosmetics that have no scent at all. Have you tried something along the lines of using a brown lipstick on your lids (smear it on like a cream blush)? That might not be safe, I really don't know. Just trying to think outside of the box. Also, if you have no problem with your eyeliner, have you tried smudging it to give your eyes a smokey effect. You might be able to get away with no shadow that way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had the same thing happen in Nov. I went to my naturapathic doctor and she says the company's use small pieces of glass, silica and so forth in their eye shadows for the sparkle etc. It irritate's the eyes. I switched to a brand called Palladia from Sally's beauty or Ulta. have used that since. Yesterday for some reason I went back to the old stuff and this morning my eyes are puffy, red swollen and itchy. That went directly into the garbage!
Good luck and it's nice to know someone else has experienced same thing. What brand eye shadow did you use? Mine was Loreal.




answers from Houston on

Allergies can develop after repeated exposure to an allergen, so the fact that you are just now becoming allergic is not that unusual. It's possible that over the years they have added different minerals or additives to the makeup and you developed an allergy to that.

I would suggest setting up an appointment with an allergist so they can do a skin test and see if there is a specific mineral that you are allergic to. That way you can try to find makeup without that mineral in it.

I know my sister is allergic to a specific mineral in Bare Minerals, but she can wear other mineral makeup without that specific mineral. (I wish I could remember which mineral it was.)

Another option is to try blush as an eye shadow, since you wear eyeliner, a little blush on your lid for color can go a long way. Also have you tried the pencil or liquid shadows? They may have different components than the dry shadows.

I hope you find a shadow that works!



answers from Houston on

Yes,it happened to me and I found out it's allergies not eyemake up.I've never had any kind of allergies then all of a sudden my eyes would just puff up.I got rid of all my make up bought new everything and still the puffie eyes.You might ask the Dr.if it could be allergies.I know take alegra every morning.



answers from Sioux Falls on

Yep. It bothers me too, and it just started manifesting itself in the last year. I can only wear liquid eyeliner, and the longest I can wear eyeshadow is a couple of hours before my eyes start stinging and the lids feel painful by the lashes.



answers from Indianapolis on

It does sound like you're allergic to one of the ingredients in the eye shadow.

If you really want to know, go purchase some benadryl (or another allergy medication over the counter), put on the make-up, when you have a reaction, take the medication and see if it reduces the reaction.

The skin on your eyelids is much thinner than other parts of your body, so my guess is that it's an allergy from exposure to a very sensitive area. But, i'm not medically trained, so it is simply a guess.

Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I am having the exact same problem. I went to an optimalogist, dermatologist and allergist and they just said to not wear makeup but that is not an option for me. I hate not wearing makeup. I look awful without it.
So now I don't know what to do. I tried hypoallergenic makeup, Gabriel Organic makeup with no preservitves and that was awful. The eyeliner turned the skin bright red and puffy. It was awful and the mascara smells like cannine pepper! I keep looking on the internet for an answer and can't find one. I have a book called "Don't go to the Cosmetics Counter Without me", by Paula Begoun and in it it says, Certain components of the skin also become depleted with age. The water-retaining and texture enhancing elements, such as ceramides, hyaluronic acids, proteins, etc. are exhausted. Older skin is more subject to allergic reactions and skin sensitvites than younger skin which suggest that older skin is less capable of defending itself against irritants because of a weaking immune system."
The books says alot of other stuff that makes sense too. I am currently going thru memopause and I am wondering if that is why and my skin and immune system is changing. I wore makeup my entire life! I am only 49 and I don't want to think I can never wear makeup again. I am really depressed over this. I have tried so many kinds of makeup and everything I put on my eyes makes them an angry red and puffy and then I get bags under my eyes on top of it all. Anyone have the same thing I am experiencing??
It's awful and I am so depressed over it! Also wanted to mention I have tried one thing at a time. First couple days eyeshadow, then next couple days only liner and it was both. I also had a cosmetic allergy test, the T.R.U.E. test and wore it on my back for 3 days and there was no reaction. I didn't test positive for any cosmetic ingredient. I don't know why they test it on your back because the skin there is thick. My eyelid skin is thin. So how can they tell from that test?



answers from Seattle on

This is happening to me too. I went for allergy testing and found out I am allergic to methyparaben. I am using eyeshadow without that and am still having problems. I love wearing makeup too. Help!



answers from Sherman on

I do sale Arbonne BUT.... I did start using it first because of my reaction to other products. Their products are FREE of harmful ingrediants , using botanical princiles as well as science... You will love all of their products. You can still be alergic to a natural ingrediants because I am still to several fruits.. But its worth a try.. I shared arbonne so much with my friends and family becasue of the results... i now do it as a business and earned a white mercedes in a very short time if anyone is interested. Good luck with your eyes.. that is not a fun thing... call me if you want more info ###-###-#### or you can read more on my website at lisauselton.myarbonne.com take care L.



answers from El Paso on

did u buy new makeup or use the same one? Try mineral make up there isnt any talc in the mineral makeup that could be the source of thhe allergy

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