Certain skin types are very sensitive. One wrong move and you will have a reaction, which is why you should take certain precautions. If you don’t have great skin, makeup doesn’t fix that, meaning skincare should be your first line of defense. That being said, here are some smart ways to navigate your beauty bag for a clear and calmed complexion.

Prepping the skin pre-makeup is the most important step: If you have very sensitive skin, you have to moisturize very well. And, it goes beyond slapping on some hydrator. Start by spraying thermal water, which soothes and heals irritated skin, directly where you plan to apply makeup. You can also spray it onto tissues and do a compress, of sorts, on your face. Circular movements are ideal. Then, follow with a gentle moisturizer.

Mineral and organic makeup aren’t always better:  While you might assume makeup labeled all natural would automatically soothe sensitive skin, you still need to take a close look at the ingredients. If there’s a lot of perfume and three, four, five, or more preservatives, it’s not so safe anymore.

Solid makeup is generally safer: Stick or compact formulas are easier to create without too many preservatives because they don’t contain water which harbors bacteria.

Pay attention to the expiration dates: An often-overlooked element of a beauty product’s packaging is the tiny symbol that tells you ‘6M’ (six months) ‘12M’ (one year), etc.—that’s how long after it’s opened it will last. Pay attention and make sure to replace your makeup when it expires. It’s quite simple, but it’s important.

Try a BB cream instead of heavier foundation:  Pigments increase the dryness of the skin. Because BB cream contains fewer pigments, it can be more effective. Another big tip? Use powder sparingly, as it also sucks skin dry, which can exacerbate sensitivity. If you do rely on powder, tap off any excess before applying to be sure you’re using the bare minimum.

Sponges are the best makeup applicator: Women love sponges because if your skin is textured, the sponge can leave a very smooth finish, and dabbing is especially effective for covering wrinkles. That being said, you have to be conscious of your sponge’s composition. It’s important to avoid the common allergen latex, which can trigger atopic dermatitis.

Highly-pigmented makeup is more likely to cause a reaction: Eyeshadows have a lot of pigments, and if you have more colors, you can have more allergies. The more neutral tones like beige and bronze rarely elicit bad reactions, but blues, greens, purples, and other more saturated hues are usually not so safe. Same goes for lipsticks that are bright red and deep purple as there’s a lot of pigment, which dries the lips.

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