• Sat, Apr 25 2009

20 Tips for Mascara Application

Mascara can coat our lashes, making a beautiful frame for our eyes.  It can lengthen, thicken, and darken.  It can run off and smear when we cry, or stay on until special cleansers manage to get if off.  It comes in bright neon colors and plain old black.  It’s available at every price point from expensive to cheap, and is found in nearly every make up bag.

mascara eye Here are a few tips to get the most out of your mascara:

  1. Use an eyelash curler before applying mascara. Or, if you prefer to curl after application, make sure that the mascara is dry.
  2. Try a lash primer.  These are designed to coat the lashes so that the mascara will really make your eyes pop.  (I never seem to remember to use primers, but I have friends who swear by it.)
  3. Resist the temptation to pump the wand in and out of the tube of mascara.  I don’t know why we do this, but it introduces contaminants to the tube and also causes it too dry out faster.
  4. Apply is properly, by starting with the wand at the base of your lashes and working out to the tips.
  5. Wiggling the wand at the base of the lashes is said to make your lashes look thicker.
  6. Wiggling the wand as you coat the lashes from base to tip will help keep the lashes from clumping together
  7. Use even, consistent strokes to prevent globs being deposited on your lashes
  8. If #7 didn’t work so well for you, use a lash comb to get rid of any globs of mascara.
  9. Use the lash comb to separate any lashes that are stuck together.
  10. Don’t want to buy a lash comb?  Try creating your own with an old mascara wand:  Clean thoroughly with make up remover and let dry.  Then continue to clean as you would your other makeup brushes and applicator.
  11. Black mascara works for nearly everyone, but if you think it’s too harsh try brown/black.
  12. Want to try some colored mascara?  Avoid a garish look by applying one coat of black, let dry, and then a coat of color.
  13. When applying a second coat, whether of the same color or different, make sure that first coat is dry.  (I tend to put on mascara at the very last minute, so this is always a problem.  But if the first coat isn’t dry, the lashes are just going to clump together.)
  14. Keep eyes open really wide (unnaturally so) for a few moments before blinking.  This will help make sure the mascara is at least partially dry, and can help reduce smudges around your eye.
  15. To help reduce under eye smudges, powder the under-eye area before application.
  16. If you still get a smudge, remove carefully with a Q-tip:  Press the Q-tip onto the smudge with a bit of pressure, then rotate a half-turn. This will remove most smudges quickly and cleanly.
  17. If can’t seem to get the hang of smudge-free application, you can put a tissue under your lashes.  (This has never worked for me.  When I’ve smudged it’s always gone through the tissue as well.)
  18. Find a wand/applicator that is easy for you to use, and that delivers the look you want.  There are applicator shaped like combs, and brushes of varying sizes, shapes, and configurations.  You can find applicators with straight wands and with a bend at the end.  A bent wand can help provide a little steadier hand, if needed.
  19. Replace your mascara after 3 months, or sooner if it smells “off” or looks dry.  (I take a sharpie marker and write the date that I open the mascara right on the tube or cap.  That way I know when it’s time to be replaced.)
  20. Although you may have a favorite mascara, don’t be afraid to experiment.  A new color or new applicator brush may give you a totally amazing look.

Do you have a favorite mascara tip?  Please share it with us in the comments.

Photo credit: michael248 @ flickr

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  • jessica

    I was just wondering how or what kind to buy to make my lashes look thicker?

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  • Angela Tronetti

    Great list. Holding the mascara wand horizontally when applying helps the lashes appear thicker. If you hold the wand vertically when applying, the lashes appear longer.

  • Angela Tronetti

    Also, if you don’t have a primer, apply 2-3 coats on the top lashes while waiting several minutes between applications. Only 1 coat should be applied to the lower lashes.