Genius Mascara Tips That Will Change Your Life

Alle Connell
mascara tips

Photo: IMaxTree


When it comes to our makeup essentials, mascara is forever at the top of our list. No matter how luxe our lashes may be naturally, we want MORE—more volume, more length, more dramatic darkness—and when you find a mascara that gives you that look? It’s a life-changing feeling. But no product is without its issues, and with mascara comes with a few of them: clumps, smudges to smears, mascara problems have been an accepted fact of life—until now. These mascara tips are going to solve ALL your eyelash problems. Read on for the definitive answers to your eyelash prayers!

The problem: Clumps.

Sure, we all want thicker lashes. But there’s a difference between “volume” and “clumps,” and the latter is something NOBODY aspires to.

The solution: Re-hydrate.Mascara gets clumpy when it dries out, so the goal here is to moisten it again. To do this and banish clumps forever, add a couple of drops of alcohol-based eye makeup remover to the tube, STIR (don’t pump!) with the wand, and voila. Thinner, clump-free mascara!

If you find you’re still having clump-problems, you might not be waiting long enough between coats of mascara. Allow each to dry completely (this takes between thirty seconds to a minute) before applying the next.

The problem: Smudges under the eyes.

While Rocket Raccoon may have been the epitome of glamour in Guardians of the Galaxy, we don’t necessarily want to steal his look at work.

The solution: Go waterproof—or at least embrace products with seriously long wear. We’re obsessed with Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash ($23) because it’s truly, genuinely waterproof; we’ve gone swimming in the ocean wearing this mascara and come out with our lashes still totally perfect.

If you’re not into totally waterproof eye makeup, but you still need something with incredibly long wear, NARS Audacious Mascara ($26) is the product for you. We’ve been outspoken about how much we love this mascara, but just to reiterate: it lasts through a full day at work, a sweaty commute AND a serious workout session, all while keeping our lashes curled and dark as night. It’s perfection.

The problem: Mascara “fall” on your cheeks.

Mascara is wonderful when it’s on your lashes. When it’s fallen off and dotting your cheeks? Not so much.

The solution: If your product isn’t dry (see above for how to fix that), it may be the type of mascara that is the culprit. Anything containing microfibers or lengthening “tubes” are especially prone to shedding. Switch your formula and see if that does the trick.

If you absolutely cannot say goodbye to your lash-building mascara, prep your lashes with primer first to reduce fall. A great product like Clinique Lash Building Primer ($15) will help the fibers adhere better to your natural eyelashes. No more little black specks!

The problem: Lashes sticking together.

Not only is this not a good look, it also feels incredibly gross.

The solution: A lash comb. These somewhat intimidating-looking tools have the power to totally revolutionize your makeup life. Not only do they separate out each eyelash, they also remove excess product to give you feathery, natural-looking lashes. And the best part? They’re SO easy to use now!

The problem: Overly-dramatic lower lashes.

Hey, nothing wrong with a little drama—Twiggy served it and did it well. It’s just when there’s TOO much happening under your eyes that your look can get unbalanced.

The solution: Two mascaras. Think about it: using one product and expecting it to do two contradictory things (adding volume on top, but no volume on the bottom) is never going to work. A second mascara with a thinner formula (and a smaller brush) is going to be your best bet for your lower lashes. We love Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara ($10) for natural darkness that doesn’t compete with the rest of you look.

And remember: always apply mascara to your top lashes first. This way, the majority of the product will be deposited there, giving lower lashes a lighter coat.

The problem: Excess dryness.

A truly unfortunate side-effect of painting your lashes—certain waxes can dry out eyelashes, making them feel brittle.

The solution: Lash conditioner. Oh yes, there’s such a thing…and it’s amazing. Jane Iredale’s PureLash Conitioner ($17.50) is like night cream for your eyelashes—put it on at night to keep your eyelashes feeling soft all day. Bonus: because it’s colorless, you can even wear it under your mascara for additional hydration help.

The problem: Expiration dates.

Ah, the eternal question: “How long is my mascara actually good for?” Bacteria is a serious concern for a product worn so close to our eyes!

The solution: When in doubt, throw it out; mascara’s shelf life is around three to six months. If you’re ever not sure how long a product has before its time to kiss it goodbye, look for this little mark on the packaging:

Period After Opening

Image c/o Cosmetics Europe.

This is the period-after-opening symbol. It’s required for all products sold in Europe, and it denotes how long a product is good for after it’s been opened for the first time. An M after the number stands for the number of months you can safely use it before its time to throw it away.

The problem: It won’t come off!

We all want our makeup to last, but when mascara clings TOO tenaciously, you can end up with red and painful under-eye skin from rubbing it away.

The solution: Use an oil-based makeup remover, rather than an alcohol-based one. We love Bobbi Brown Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover ($26) for the quick and luxurious way it removes all of our eye makeup. Many people also swear by straight coconut oil to remove stubborn mascara, but because it can block pores, it may not be suitable for people with certain skin conditions. If you’re unsure, check with your dermatologist!

The problem: Smudges on your glasses.

A show of hands: how many glasses-wearing babes have ever experienced those annoying mascara smudges on your lenses? Yeah, us too.

The solution: Curl your eyelashes. Not only will it prevent them from brushing against your lenses (thus eliminating smudges), it’ll also open up your eyes and make them look especially gorgeous. A really great tool like the Tweezerman ProCurl Eyelash Curler ($22) is easy to use and gives curl that will last all day. Curl first, then apply your mascara (NEVER the other way around; that can cause eyelashes to break) and we bet your problem is solved.

The problem: Sensitive eyes.

When everything makes your eyes red and watery, is mascara an option?

The solution: Talk to your doctor. If your eye sensitivity is serious, only your ophthalmologist can tell you if mascara is a good idea. If it is, RMS Beauty’s Mascara ($28) is an excellent option for sensitive eyes. If it isn’t, thank your lucky stars that the no mascara look is back in style!

More from Daily Makeover: 9 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Your Eyelashes.