Can Makeup Cause Headaches? (Learn How to Fix It)

Can Makeup Cause Headaches

Most of us, if not all, wear makeup, and that is a fact. Even a simple gloss counts as makeup. Makeup is a lifesaver. People use it for different reasons ranging from covering blemishes or highlighting your natural features. The makeup and beauty scene has grown over the past few years. 

Makeup is a multi-billion-dollar industry with new products released every other day. There are thousands of beauty gurus and makeup artists who have made a career from doing makeup. It is truly a beautiful avenue for people to show their artistic side.

However, with all the fantastic job makeup has done, some people cannot use certain products because of health issues ranging from acne to headaches. The article will tackle one question about using makeup, whether it does cause headaches, and what you need to know about it.

Can makeup cause headaches?

The answer is yes. Makeup does cause headaches. A lot of people have reported experiencing headaches and migraines from using some products. However, the makeup user does not realize it is the product affecting them. They continue using the product for a while before discovering that it gives them migraines.

Most of the makeup comes into contact with the face. What this means is you should always wear what best suits your face without compromising your health.

Why does makeup give me headaches and migraines?

Research done over the years has tied makeup to headaches and migraines. But what factors lead to these issues? For starters, the chemical composition of products could give you migraines. Many cosmetics are made from chemicals that could cause allergic reactions.

Another migraine contributor to makeup is fragrances. Some people react badly to strong-smelling products. However, in this case, it is not the fragrance causing the headache. It is the chemical composition making the product. Apart from odor-causing headaches, they can also trigger asthmatic attacks and cause skin redness.

The chemicals from the product you use to sieve through pores on your skin. The products pass through the skin and get into your blood vessels. If you are allergic to any of the chemicals in the product, you might experience headaches.

What products can cause headaches?

There are several chemicals in a product that can cause headaches. After thorough research by experts on people who experience headaches from using makeup, some products were prevalent. Some of these include:


Formaldehyde is a product used in the cosmetic industry as a preservative. It acts as a preventive substance that stops the growth of microbes. The product is present in shampoos, soap, nail polish, hair, nail, and eyelash glue. 

Apart from its usage in makeup, formaldehyde is also used in building products. It is used to make composite wood and fabrics as well as glue. Its industrial use makes it harsh on the skin and causes migraines, skin rashes, asthmatic attacks, nausea, and nasal blockage.


We are all attracted to something that smells nice. It is a human characteristic. However, not everything that smells nice is good for you. The effects will not be as noticeable, but they will eventually show. One example is by Emilie Hoyt, who is the owner of the household brand Lather. 

She had been using fragranced products from a young age, giving her severe migraines that would lead to temporary blindness. She was then motivated to create an organic and clean product line that is Lather. From her story, you can see the adverse effects of using products that give you migraines.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is often referred to as PG, and it is used in products to stop them from freezing or melting, or overheating. Propylene glycol is a product from a group of chemicals called humectant. Humectant products attract and maintain moisture, which is why it is prevalent in moisturizing products like primers, foundations, and face creams.

Propylene glycol is gentler on the skin than the two chemicals mentioned above. However, some people still get headaches from products with propylene glycol.


Parabens are the other ingredients on the list. It is commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, and eye-shadows. Parabens in makeup are used as preservatives and also inhibit the growth of microorganisms that lead the product to expiry. 

Parabens have copper residue that impedes hair growth and also leads to hair breakage. If you are allergic to copper products, then parabens could lead to headaches. Before purchasing a product, make sure to read the ingredient list.

How do I avoid getting headaches from makeup?

First of all, you getting headaches from makeup is not your fault. Many makeup lines never disclose their entire ingredient list in the packaging because of competition from other closely related brands. Due to this, you will not know what is causing the headaches. So how do you avoid getting makeup headaches?

Switch to clean products

Clean products use mostly natural chemicals like essential oils. Sanitary products, in my opinion, are a bit more open about the ingredients in their development. They know that majority of their customers chose them over other brands due to allergic reactions from harsher products. They want to keep you, so they will not hide information from their customers.

Read the ingredient list

The first thing you need to look for when you get a product is its ingredient list. If you find some of the products listed above and you are allergic to them, then best look for another alternative or substitute to the product.

Consult your dermatologist

A simple consultation with your dermatologist will make you aware of reactions you never knew you had. Dermatologists organize different tests to determine what you are allergic to. They do this by either applying a product on your skin or have you smell other products to see whether they trigger you negatively. After the test, your doctor will have a list of chemicals you have to avoid for the good of your health.

Using hypoallergenic products

Any makeup guru prefers hypoallergenic products. These products have chemicals that will not cause any allergy. Hypoallergenic products are made from mild chemicals that are less likely to cause an allergy to the user.

Avoid sunblocks with para-aminobenzoic acid

People always wear sunscreen as a preventative measure from harmful rays of the sun. But sunscreens that contain para-aminobenzoic acid need avoidance. Para-aminobenzoic acid acts by preventing the sun’s UV rays from reaching the skin—however, some people who use sunblock with this particular component report migraine attacks.

Now that we have discussed what we need to avoid… 

Here is a list of natural and migraine-free products you can try out

1.Sale Mascara

The mascara has shea butter which makes it an excellent moisturizer for your eyes. The mascara is fragrance-free and therefore does not cause any migraines.

2.Maia’s Mineral Galaxy Foundation

Maia Foundation does not contain any formaldehyde. The foundation is very light and provides good coverage. The foundation is also made from natural products like arrowroot. People who have used this product do not report any migraines.

3.Crunchi Make Me Blush

The Blush is extremely skin-friendly with all-natural products from lavender to oregano. Crunchi makes me Blush has good reviews and is headache-free.

4.Mineral Lipstick

Active products are the craze around the makeup world, and this is a product that contains many active ingredients. The lipstick has jojoba, shea butter, vitamin C and E. Mineral lipstick is free from any chemical fragrance and therefore does not cause migraines.

What about makeup brushes?

The use of makeup sponges and brushes simplifies makeup application. Dirty brushes carry a lot of makeup residue and bacteria. Using the brushes regularly while they are still dirty could cause some infection. 

The bristles of the brush carry bacteria that can penetrate the skin and get into the blood vessels causing diseases that could manifest as migraines. Although it is not scientifically proven that dirty applicators could cause migraines, it is a possibility.

How do you clean your makeup applicators?

Simple soap and water do the job well, but the method you clean matters. You do not want to damage the bristles or the wooden handle. Here are the steps of cleaning makeup brushes:

 • The first step is to wet bristles with some water

 • You will then use a mild soap and Lather it up with your hands

 • Gently massage the soap lather into the bristles and make sure every strand has soap

 • Rinse the bristles with clean water

 • Let the brushes dry naturally

 • Do not have the bristles face down. Hang them in a way that the water does not travel down to the wooden handle.


The article has shown the side effects of makeup and what you need to look out for when buying cosmetics. In my opinion, natural makeup products are the truth, and people should try them out if they suffer from artificial fragrances. Not only are they good for the body, but also easy on the environment. I hope the article helped someone who has suffered from unexplainable headaches whenever they wore some makeup.

Further reading material

I just know that you found this article helpful! Because of that, I have selected a couple articles that you might also find interesting to read. Click on one of the links below to start reading about your favorite subject.

Why Can’t You Wear Makeup During Surgery?
How Much Makeup Do I Really Need?
Why Are Makeup Brushes So Expensive?

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts