For many, skin care has become a ritual. A daily step-by-step meditation with a complex array of products serving different purposes. But when it comes to sensitive skin, less has always proved to be more. I’ve had to give up a great product more often than I can count because of some added irritant that caused my skin to flare up. Choosing skin care products with sensitive skin is often a game of trial and error, and often, once I find a product that reacts well with my skin, I remain loyal to it. But when I do feel like venturing out for a new product, the general rule of thumb is to look for fragrance-free and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores) products.
Yet in recent years, as the beauty industry makes greater strides towards clean and non-clogging ingredients, the pool of brands suitable for sensitive skin is getting deeper. Here, we recommend 10 brands with products specifically tailored for sensitive skin.
This Korean skin care brand is true to its name (“the snow” in French). With a quarter-century worth of research behind it, Laneige works to lock moisture into the skin with its trademark Water-Zipper Technology. All its skin-care products, from the hydrating sleeping masks to the Water Bank moisturizing cream, are enriched with healing ingredients like mineral water and garden cress.
A staple brand used by dermatologists and skin care professionals, Skinceuticals’ skin cancer research strengthens the brand’s ethos of science-backed skin care. Recommended for those with sensitive skin, the Phyto corrective gel is a combination of botanical extracts, eucalyptus oil, and hyaluronic acid that work together to calm irritated skin and reduce redness.
Eau Thermale Avene
The history of this brand dates back to 1736 in the small French village of Avène when a marquis’ horse was healed of pruritus after swimming in the Sainte-Odile spring waters. In the centuries since, the infamous spring became a source of healing water for the world. Eau Thermale Avene infuses the naturally soothing spring water into all its products. The latest range, Tolerance Control, is specially formulated to calm hypersensitive skin by reducing burning and tingling sensations in irritated skin.
Known for its patented Vinotherapie vine and grape extracting technology, Caudalie centers nature at the core of its products. Paraben- and irritant-free, Caudalie products like its latest Vinoperfect line target problem areas—dark spots and texture—with the help of grapeseed’s natural antioxidants.
Rodan + Fields
Rodan + Fields has evolved into an encompassing brand targeting all ranges of skin issues, from dark spots to hypersensitivity. For the latter, the Rodan + Fields’ Soothe regimen range uses ingredients like glycerin, Cherimoya fruit extract, and colloidal oatmeal to target red, irritated skin and is even suitable for eczema-prone skin.
Bridging the gap between luxury and natural skin care, Tata Harper’s lineup is free from the artificial fragrances and synthetic chemicals that irritate the skin. The SuperKind collection is hypoallergenic and free of over 85 common skin irritants found in products. The collection is made of a mix of soothing botanical extracts to calm skin.
Mushrooms are the star ingredient of FRWRD Skincare’s vegan Mushroom Super Serum, which includes three types of mushrooms foraged from the Canadian wilderness along with other natural extracts from hemp, sugar maple, and gotu kola. The serum, described by the brand as an elixir, strengthens collagen and boosts elastic production while still soothing skin and calming redness.
Thermal spring water, which has proven to be a soothing and effective relief for sensitive and irritated skin, is the core ingredient in Uriage Eau Thermale’s products, which uses water drawn from the French Alps. The Cica Daily Serum and Gel Cream launches in Canada this August and combines a 10.5% thermal and prebiotic complex with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to repair fragilized skin.
Embryolisse’s infamous Lait Crème Concentré is a cult classic. Formulated in 1950 by a dermatologist in Paris, the hydrating cream has become a standard for skin care and make up professionals. The formula has been adapted for sensitive skin with a new hypoallergenic version, the Lait Crème Sensitive. Enriched with natural ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, and beeswax, the Lait Crème Sensitive is fragrance-free and can be used under make up or as a moisturizer by itself.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) are a skin care staple these days, and perhaps that can be attributed to the founders of Neostrata, who discovered the benefits of AHA’s in the ‘70s. Literally meaning “new layers”, Neostrata works to create products, such as the PHA facial cleanser and the Reactive Skin Neutralizing Serum, that gently exfoliate dead skin and uncover fresh skin beneath. Far more gentle than abrasive exfoliating beads, Neostrata products work to exfoliate sensitive skin without irritating it.