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Makeup: What Will Suit My Sensitive Skin?

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Here at Sönd we’re often asked about makeup. We have a range ofalkalising skin care products including a creamy cleanser, a day time and night time moisturiser, a serum and our brand newClear Out Face Mask.

Each one is designed to support the needs of all skin types, whether you have acne prone skin, oily or dry skin or ‘normal’ skin. At the moment, we’re thinking long and hard about a range of makeup products that will support and nourish the skin in the same way.

While sadly, we don’t sell makeup just yet, we thought we would still share our tips on what to look out for when shopping for makeup when you have sensitive skin.

Because it’s all well and good when someone tells you not to wear makeup when you have problematic skin, saying ‘it will just make it worse!’. Yet makeup can sometimes be the only tool we have that makes us feel self confident enough to even step outside the door with skin that’s not playing ball. (And it doesn’t always necessarily make things worse anyway, especially since the development ofcosmeceuticals.)

We developed our skin care products because we know exactly what it feels like to have contrary, non conformist skin. We couldn’t find the right skin care brand or products that were made for skin like ours, so we made our own. And we’ve become pretty knowledgeable on the do’s and don’ts of skin care!

Here’s what we’ve learned over time (and much trial and error) about wearing makeup when you have sensitive skin… 

Check your ingredients

However fancy, expensive or exclusive your makeup brand is, it could still contain harsh ingredients thataren’t very skin friendly. No matter how much it’s being shared on social media by influencers that say that love it, it might not be best for you.

We’re all beautifully individual, and that includes our skin. What might work for your best friend, might not work for you if you havesensitive or acne prone skin.

That said, there are some ingredients that we think should never appear in skin care ingredient lists as they’re likely to cause irritation or inflammation for most of us. Even if we don’t have sensitive skin.

These include substances such as mineral oils, talcs, parabens, phthalates and alcohol. Foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (most commonly listed as SLS) are also best avoided. So get used to becoming a label reading pro! 

Consider dropping a layer

If we use a toner, serum and moisturiser, then by the time we get to putting on our makeup, our skin already has a couple of layers of products on it.

Then, if we use a primer, concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer, blusher, powder and a setting spray, we’re potentiallyoverloading our skin.

If you feel like your makeup regime is upsetting your sensitive skin, you could try quitting a few products, or minimising how often you use them. For example, you could save on the primer and only use it for special nights out, or give up the setting spray altogether. 

Swap shop

Similarly, you could try swapping out some products that might be overloading your skin. You could try a tinted moisturiser instead of moisturiser and foundation, or a heavier foundation in place of a primer and concealer.

Using powder versions of bronzers and blushers might also suit your skin better as they tend to be lighter than liquid versions. Just make sure they’re free from talc, that can irritate the skin. 

Clean those brushes! 

When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? We’re certainly not asking in order to make you feel bad, or to judge. It’s just that sometimes, months or even a year could go past, and we’re still applying makeup using a brush that’s got remnants of last years’ makeup on it.

And it’s not just dirt. Dirty makeup brushes and sponges harbour bacteria, providing the ideal conditions for bacterial growth. This bacterial growth will then be transferred onto your skin, which can make sensitive and acne prone skin even more inflamed.

This can then lead to moreirritation, sensitivities, spots and breakouts.

Ideally our brushes should be washed and dried every week. 

Don’t double dip 

You know how annoying it is, when you’re sharing chips and dips with friends, and someone goes in for the double dip? Because, well, it’s a bit gross?

The same goes for when we’re applying our makeup. Ok, so it’s not the same as having someone else's saliva (ewww) in your hummus. But touching your concealer wand directly onto your skin and then dipping it back into the tube could potentially be passing bacteria into your concealer.

As above with unclean brushes and makeup tools, this bacteria could be making your skin break out or react.

Instead, when applying concealer, foundation or any other liquid makeup such as blusher, use something clean to take the product from the applicator.

For example, rather than dabbing your concealer directly onto your face, dab it onto some tissue. Then use a clean brush to apply it to your skin. And make sure you clean your brushes each week! 

How old is your product? 

Each skin care and makeup product has a shelf life. That is, a recommended period that it should be open before being discarded. Each product varies, but it’s generally between 12 and 18 months. You’ll notice a little marking on the packaging symbolising an open bottle or tube, with a number next to it depicting the suggested shelf life.

It might be hard to keep track, but keeping a little note of when you opened each product and keeping it in your makeup bag will help.

Studies suggest that as many as 70-90% of products and makeup toolstest positive for skin harming bacteria!

Also, the older a product gets, the less effective they become. Plus of course, the more bacteria can build up. So keep an eye on old products and replace them with new ones as they reach the end of their shelf life. Buy small tubes and bottles of makeup if you think you’ll be wasting more than you’ll use.

Try some makeup free days or minimise your look

Finally, you could try embracing the no makeup look. Or at least minimising the amount of makeup you wear.

We know this takes some getting used to. Like that first time we all tried bright red lipstick, or pencilled in our eyebrows  a new look takes some getting used to. We get used to seeing ourselves with a ‘full face’ and anything less makes us feel uneasy.

But trying one less thing at a time could help to ease us into wearing less makeup and feeling comfortable with wearing less.

Or, you could ditch the foundation and go for the full red lip! Or a dramatic eye. It could draw attention away from the imperfections you see in your skin.

Here at Sönd, we understand how stressed out skin can make us stressed out. But we also champion everyone feeling comfortable in their own skin. That’s why we developed our all encompassingrange of skin products that help all skin types find their best skin.

Give us a try today (if you’re not already one of our mega fans!) and see how we can support your sensitive skin.


Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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