It’s almost a challenge to be able to wear eye makeup, especially mascara when you have rosacea. As a type of rosacea, ocular rosacea causes dry, sensitive eyes and makes the eyes watery, red, and itchy. And that makes it almost impossible to comfortably wear eye makeup. If this sounds like you, then I’m about to change your mind. I’ve been dealing with rosacea and ocular rosacea for years. And I’ve experimented with several types of mascaras and numerous different mascaras until I’ve come up with a definitive list. You’ll find below the best mascaras for ocular rosacea. But first, here’s how to choose one to avoid irritation from your mascara.
In a hurry?
As someone with ocular rosacea, Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara is my top recommendation. It’s non-irritating, free of common irritants, and delivers amazing volume all day.
How to Choose a Mascara When You Have Ocular Rosacea
Go For Hypoallergenic Mascaras
Obviously, the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing a mascara for ocular rosacea is to make sure the mascara is hypoallergenic. There are things you can do to check for yourself but ‘hypoallergenic’ is a claim a brand has to make. That’s when you know it is, in fact, hypoallergenic.
But let me tell you this, it’s such a vague, catch-all phrase that it doesn’t even make sense at this point! Because I did try hypoallergenic mascaras and they did irritate my eyes.
This is a good reminder to keep your own unique condition in mind and remember that sensitivity is very personal. So even though choosing hypoallergenic over regular is a good way to start sorting things out, it’s not a guaranteed solution.
Avoid Common Irritants
Things are easy to catch when you’re shopping for skincare. But in makeup, especially eye makeup, we need to dig a little bit deeper. First of all, a very common irritant in makeup is fragrance. Avoiding fragrance in your mascara is a good way to ensure it won’t give you watery eyes.
Though one of my all-time favorite mascaras contains fragrance and doesn’t irritate, I generally recommend avoiding it anyway. Another common irritant found in mascaras is paraben. So look for the claim ‘paraben-free’.
Try Water-Resistant Instead of Waterproof
There’s a dilemma when it comes to choosing mascara for ocular rosacea. First, we need to make sure the mascara is easy to remove and wash away. Because too much rubbing during cleansing can further irritate your eyes and cause redness and sensitivity.
On the other hand, a mascara that’s too easy to remove basically means it’s easily affected by the elements. When your eyes happen to get watery from the wind, for example, the mascara can start breaking down and moving, causing watery eyes.
So even though there’s a place for waterproof mascaras, and there are amazing options out there, try to go for water-resistant, long-wearing options.
So these are the most important things to keep in mind when looking for a mascara for ocular rosacea. Obviously, don’t forget the aesthetic aspect and keep what you’re looking for in mind such as volumizing and lifting. Now, find below tried and tested mascaras that are gentle, non-irritating, and super flattering for the lashes.
The Best Mascaras For Ocular Rosacea
Best Overall: Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara
Gives incredible length
Defines from root to top
Thickens every single lash
Lifts and curls
More than 3 coats can cause clumping
You guys, this is my current favorite. I do have naturally long lashes, at least that’s what people say to me. But this takes things to a whole new level. And it takes a mascara like this for me to notice the lengthening effect. They claim that this mascara lifts from the root to the tip. And they’re not exaggerating. It’s like it has a thickening effect on every single eyelash, which makes mine touch my eyelids! It’s super volumizing and because of that, it kind of looks like I wore an eye pencil when I’m wearing this. I can layer this mascara comfortably. But don’t overdo it because it can get a bit clumpy, which I like a little bit if I’m being honest. It doesn’t move or darken my under-eyes and it lasts long too!
Type: Volumizing, lengthening, lifting
Size: 0.33 oz
Other Features: Fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, ophthalmologist-tested, vegan, cruelty-free
Best For Long Wear: Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara
Lengthens each lash
Lasts until you remove it
Requires double cleansing
The wand is a bit whippy
This is the mascara I swear by no matter what type of look you’re going for. This is a water-resistant, smudge-free formula so it doesn’t move around. At all! It’s as good as waterproof but at the same time, easier to remove. And even though they don’t claim this is hypoallergenic, this does not contain fragrance. This is actually what I wear when I want to be 100% sure that my eye area is clean and sleek all day. Pair it with a rosacea-friendly concealer, and you’re good to go! No black shadows under the eyes, no itching, or watering. And if you’re looking to budget, it comes in mini too and lasts a long time. It’s volumizing and the unique brush tip separates and gets every single eyelash for a high pigment effect.
Size: 0.30 oz
Other Features: Fragrance-free, paraben-free
Best For Thick Lashes: Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara
Separates lashes and thickens
Holds a curl
Smudge-free and flake-free
Doesn’t give you super dramatic lashes
This is another mascara perfectly suitable for people with rosacea. It’s supposed to thicken, curl, and lengthen. But I’d say its thickening and curling effects are more pronounced than its lengthening effects. It certainly can’t hold a candle to Hourglass. But this is for those of you looking to enhance what you have and to make the lashes appear more voluminous horizontally rather than vertically. It’s gentle and smudge-proof. So it won’t cause watery eyes or raccoon eyes. And it’s long-wearing too. To care for your eyelashes, it packs vitamin B5 and vitamin C as well.
Type: Lengthening, curling
Size: 0.25 oz
Other Features: Fragrance-free, paraben-free, vegan, opthalmologist-tested, safe for contact lens wearers
Best Hypoallergenic: Clinique High Impact Mascara
Gives volume and curls
Perfect for everyday use
Gives a natural look
Lacks the ‘drama’
Not very pigmented
Just like their skincare, Clinique makeup is a safe bet for people with ocular rosacea. It’s the one to go for if you’re looking for something no-muss, no-fuss, and if your eyes are really sensitive to everything. That also means you sacrifice the cosmetic benefits a little bit but the mascara is still surprisingly effective in volumizing the lashes. It glides on and adds volume with each coat. The end result is more suitable for everyday use. If you need something more dramatic, you can layer the mascara for more volume and definition. But I don’t think it’s as lengthening as they claim it to be.
Type: Volumizing, lengtehning
Size: 0.28 oz
Other Features: Fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, ophthalmologist-tested, safe for contact lens wearers
Best Clean: Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara
Lengthens and lifts
The unique wand works great on lower lashes
Easy to remove
If you don’t want the hassle of wondering what your mascara contains, clean makeup is another safe bet for people with rosacea and ocular rosacea. And this non-toxic, 99% natural, award-winning mascara is as clean as they come. The impressive part is that this one has a unique dual-sided wand with short bristles on one side and long bristles on the other. So you achieve both amazing lift and length. Also, this makes it super easy to coat your bottom lashes too. It’s easy to remove, and it doesn’t smudge.
Size: 0.27 oz
Other Features: Oil-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, opthalmologist-tested
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
Gives amazing volume and length
Lifts and curls every single lash
Easy to remove
Not very long wearing
There’s no shortage of drugstore mascaras out there. But my personal favorite is this one all thanks to its unique wand shape. The mascara is curved. If you’ve ever seen or used Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara, this is like that. And this type of wand is exceptional when it comes to really giving the lashes that curler effect without the curler. It’s also super lengthening and you can easily apply layer after layer without clumping. The texture of it is really light, allowing you to build it up without having your eyelashes get weighed down later on.
Type: Volumizing, lengthening
Size: 0.32 oz
Other Features: Fragrance-free, paraben-free, ophthalmologist-tested, safe for contact lens wearers
Best For Volume: Lancome Lash Idole Lash-Lifting & Volumizing Mascara
Light texture allows for several coats
No smudging, flaking
Requires several coats
OK, speaking of curved mascara brushes, this high-end volumizing mascara with its slightly curved wand is absolutely amazing for day-long volume. I mean the whole ‘Idole’ line from Lancome, foundation, and concealer, has been working great for my sensitive skin I must say. The bristles separate every single lash, lift it up, and give volume all the way to the top or to the tip. It’s as close as it gets to the faux lash effect without the itching. The gel base allows for several coats of mascara until you get the perfect length while holding your curl. It comes in waterproof too and that’s just as good. But to be honest, this is super long-lasting. That being said, because it’s so lightweight, it does require several coats to achieve that curl I’m talking about. And for some, that can be frustrating and budget-draining.
Type: Lifting, volumizing, lengthening
Size: 0.27 oz
Other Features: Fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, silicone-free
So if you have ocular rosacea, these are the best mascaras you can comfortably wear without worrying about red, dry, itchy, and sensitive eyes. But know this, the application is just as important as using the right mascara. So remember to use a gentle makeup remover for rosacea to clean up your eye makeup and keep reading to find out how to apply mascara if you have rosacea.