Raving about makeup, skincare, hair and other little obsessions... A Beauty Blog

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Test for Makeup Allergies: a Quick and Simple Way

I'm an allergy-prone individual. No, I don't get anaphylactic shocks from peanuts. But I do often get hay fever. I also occasionally find myself reacting to makeup products. The most prominent ingredient being parfum. It sends me into fits of sneezes that can last for the whole day. I am also allergic to other makeup ingredients. The "wrong" lipstick/lip balm can make my lips red, flaky and itchy. The "wrong" mascara/eyeliner can make my eyes extremely itchy and uncomfortable.

It's never a pretty look to be scratching away, especially at your own face. I don't know if you can see it but I've taken a photo of myself after wearing a lipstick that I was allergic to. The reaction was mild compared to some of the past episodes I've had. Nevertheless, it was distracting for me to be "itching away" while I was in class. I've since thrown the product out.

Although I have not isolated a lot of ingredients that I'm allergic to, I've learnt how to test for them.

I would swipe the product onto the inside of my forearm near my elbow (kind of like you're swatching a product). This area of my skin is thin and has some major blood vessels nearby. So if I'm allergic to the product, I get red and itchy within a minute.  You can test lip products, mascaras, and eyeliners. I have yet to try it with powder products.

Note though that this will only work if you've been exposed to the ingredient before and have developed an allergy to it. So it is possible that you'll react to the product later on (on the second exposure). In other words, when you're shopping for a makeup product, you test it with this method and you buy it thinking it's all clear but that's because your body has only come across the ingredient for the first time. So when you start using the product, your immune system is already mounted and will then recognise and start responding to that ingredient.

What I'm trying to say here is, this is not a fail-safe technique. It's just a quick and simple way to save you some grief: from buying products that contain ingredients that you are already allergic to. I hope this post has been helpful!

Do you have any tips and tricks for testing for makeup allergies? Please do share!


  1. Great post! Thanks for the tips :)

  2. That's a really interesting way. It completely makes sense to swipe it near major blood veins!

  3. Thanks for the tip! I'm allergic to a lot of parfum products too. But there's so many ingredients in one product that I have no idea what I'm allergic to. I break out a lot when trying foundations though :/

  4. its so funny i alway sneeze when i put makeup on but it happens after i finish applying my entire face makeup...so im not sure what im allergic too!! great post !!

  5. This is really a helpful post ..

  6. Such a great post! I've never been allergic to a makeup product but it always pays to be wary!

  7. Thanks for this.
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  8. Thank you for the feedback ladies! I really appreciate it!

  9. This is a really helpful idea! I get hayfever too, and tend to have sensitive skin! Fortunately I don't find that too many products don't work with me, but there are a few that sting. Great tip for telling us that you may not get a reaction the first time, it's always the subsequent exposures that result in an allergic reaction, thanks to our immune systems :P