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Handle With Care

Some of us are a little more—how should we say this?—sensitive. Especially when it comes to certain products. While these types of irritating reactions are generally out of our control, what we can do is to avoid potentially harsh ingredients like parabens and preservatives.

So we (your trusty Birchbox beauty editors) curated a list of some of our gentlest products, based on the most common allergy and sensitivity-related questions our customer operations team receives on a regular basis. On the hunt for a petroleum-free serum or soy-free eyeliner? We’ve got you covered. Just a friendly reminder to try a patch test 72 hours before use to anticipate any unwanted skin reactions:


For hair, we love Agave’s Smoothing Haircare Trio, which relies on the power of natural agave instead of chemicals to smooth and hydrate locks. Number 4 Hair Care creates vegan, paraben-free hair products with an environmental slant: their Non-Aerosol Hairspray offers superior hold without damaging the atmosphere. When searching for paraben-free makeup, look no further than INIKA’s Face in a Box, which combines the mineral-based beauty line’s greatest hits (a concealer, foundation and brush) into one pretty package.


Suffering from a gluten intolerance doesn’t just affect your pizza intake. If you have a wheat allergy, you may want to consider using Juice Beauty’s 100% gluten-free skincare and makeup. We love how their Glowing Cheek Color gives you a natural flush. Pangea Organics also makes select gluten-free products like its facial scrub which leaves skin bright and smooth.


Just because you are sensitive to soy doesn’t mean you have to forgo playing with makeup. There are plenty of great brands that skip the ingredient when formulating their products. Give your cheeks and lips a healthy glow with theBalm® cosmetics Stainiac, or use Eyeko’s Skinny Liquid Eyeliner to get the coveted cat-eye without causing any allergic reactions.


Want soft lips but can’t tolerate petroleum? Try petroleum-free sticks like Yes To™ Carrots Lip Butter, which is infused with sunflower seed oil, carrots and Shea butter to soften your pout the organic way. W3LL PEOPLE also offers petroleum, dye and fragrance-free products, including the versatile Universalist Multi-Use Color Stick, which we’re obsessed with.

General Safe Bets

If you’re unsure of which ingredient causes your skin to freak out, it may be best to stick to hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products until you can figure out your issues with a dermatologist. We love brands like VMV HYPOALLERGENICS (free of fragrances, dyes, and preservatives) and Marcelle (developed by an allergist). When in doubt, try makeup artist and celeb secret weapon, Egyptian Magic. Comprised of six natural ingredients, it can be used as everything from a makeup remover to a flyaway tamer.

Note: Birchbox is not making any scientific claims about the efficacy or safety of these products. We researched and wrote this story with the intention of informing you, but do not intend to give you medical or clinical advice regarding your allergies. For those, please reach out to the manufacturer directly, or speak to your doctor.

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