If we had to pick one item in our makeup bag that we couldn’t live without, it would definitely be mascara. We would layer it on 10 times a day if we could—but, sadly, there is such a thing as too much mascara.
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We rounded up some little known tips and facts about the product, so you can really get the most out of your magical little wand.
1. It doesn’t last forever
This might come as a shock to most, but mascara actually does expire. The average life span is about 3-5 months, so after that, get rid of your old product. Otherwise, you’re risking bacterial infections, and no one wants that.
2. Keep the wand
It may be imperative to toss expired mascara, but saving the wand is actually something you should do. Wash the wand and use it as a “spoolie” brush to help groom your brows.
3. Take it off
Sometimes we get too tired to wipe our makeup off before we go to bed, but leaving mascara on your lashes overnight does more harm than you know. When the mascara dries overnight, it can cause your lashes to fall off, and a stiff lash can actually scratch your cornea while you’re sleeping.
4. Turn up the volume
We love a voluminous lash, so to get the best out of your mascara, powder your lashes using baby powder and a cotton swab before application for an extra lush look.
5. Moisturize your lashes
It’s easy to forget that our eyelashes are actually tiny hairs, and should be treated as such. Before bed, moisturize your lashes with olive oil or any moisturizer to keep them hydrated. Just be careful to keep anything out of your eye.
6. Not everyday is a waterproof day
Waterproof mascara is ideal for summer months or when you know you’re going to be sweaty, but using it everyday isn’t advisable. Since it can’t easily be removed, the continuous tugging at the lashes can cause them to become weaker and eventually make them fall out.
7. Keep your eyes open
The key to not blinking during application? Opening your mouth. When your mouth is open wide, it’s a bit harder to blink.
8. Never smudge again
Hate getting mascara stains on your eyelid? Avoid them by placing an old business card or plastic spoon on your eyelid, right above your lashes. Apply your mascara in this position, and any excess product will go onto the business card or spoon, not your eyelid.
9. Seal the deal
Give your mascara the finishing touch by coating your lashes with clear mascara after application. This will help to solidify your lashes and protect the mascara from smudging or running.
10. The perfect mascara
There are so many types of mascaras out there, you have to figure out what works for you and your lashes. Do you need to lengthen? Curl? Volumize? Whatever it is you seek, there’s a mascara out there waiting for you. If you can’t find it, find a few and make a mascara cocktail!
MORE: A Complete Guide to the Confusing World of Mascara Wands
Originally published January 2014. Updated March 2017.