How Does Lengthening Mascara Work

Curious about lengthening mascara? We've got the scoop. Here's how lengthening mascara works

The story behind how lengthening mascara works

Long, lush eyelashes draw attention to the eye, the focal point of our faces. But not all of us are born blessed with long, curling, fluttery eyelashes. In order to achieve the look, we have several choices. We can get extensions applied, but that can be an expensive and tedious process. Or we can start each day struggling with false eyelashes; dealing with the adhesives, or magnetic lashes, and the difficulties in getting them on evenly, and in a way that makes them appear natural.

Or another, less expensive, and much simpler choice is mascara. And lengthening mascara takes it even further.

Mascara is a staple makeup product; one that no cosmetic bag is complete without. Even those who wear very little makeup at all will generally use a mascara, because enhancing the eyelashes brings attention to our eyes, which are the focal point of the face. Nearly every day, those of us who wear makeup will swipe on one or two coats of mascara and then go about our day without thinking twice about what’s in it, and how it actually does the job of making our eyelashes appear longer and thicker than they are naturally.

What’s in Mascara?

Mascara has been around since the Egyptians—both male and female—walked the earth wearing blended coal dust and minerals on their eyelashes to ward off evil. Since then, the popular cosmetic has made a lot of formula changes.

Today’s mascara is generally a mixture of beeswax, oils, and pigments. When you brush it onto your eyelashes, the wax clings and dries on each eyelash, causing them to appear thicker, from the wax coating, and darker from the pigments.

What Makes Lengthening Mascara Different?

While lengthening mascara doesn’t actually help your lashes to grow longer, it does make them appear longer while you are wearing it. Lengthening mascara contains the typical waxes and pigments contained in all mascara products, but takes it a step further by adding small rayon or nylon fibers that cling to your eyelashes. When you brush on lengthening mascara, these small fibers attach from the root of your lashes upward to the tips, making your lashes look longer. Many lengthening mascaras also contain eyelash curling properties to make your lashes curl upwards, further lengthening them in appearance. If you apply a second coat, you get a stronger lengthening effect.

Because of the tiny fibers contained in lengthening mascara, it is more susceptible to clumping, so brush it on carefully and don’t use more than two coats.

Two in one Mascaras With Primers

Another type of lengthening mascara now available and increasing in popularity, uses a different approach to eyelash length building. It merely gives the appearance of longer lashes by using a two-in-one approach; an eyelash primer and mascara. The first coat is a clear primer, which is brushed on first. Then a colored mascara coat is applied, resulting in longer looking lashes.

Natural Lengthening Mascaras

If you worry about synthetic lengthening fibers on your eyelashes, several cosmetics companies offer natural alternatives for lengthening mascara containing such ingredients as berry pigments, cocoa fibers, and black tea.

Tubing Mascara

Another new choice in a mascara that’s both thickening and lengthening are “tubing” mascaras. Rather than coating a blend of pigments and wax onto your eyelashes, tubing mascara wraps each individual lash with a polymer blend that surrounds your lash with a narrow black tube to extend beyond the actual lash. This gives the appearance of longer lashes. While the tube itself does also thicken the appearance of your lashes, length is the primary focus of these products, so if you really want thickening action, you can try a coat of thickening mascara, followed by a coat of tubing mascara.

Tubing mascara is more difficult to remove than traditional lengthening mascara, and requires being gently worked off with warm water and a washcloth. Don’t be frightened when you see what looks like your eyelashes on the washcloth, it’s just the empty tubes.

It’s important to remember that whether you have long or short eyelashes is a genetic trait, and while some serums and conditioners may benefit the health and reqrowth of your eyelashes, it will not increase the length. If you are born with short eyelashes, they will always be short. Your options are to wear false eyelashes, have extensions placed, or to wear a great lengthening mascara!

Resources —  Beauty Bulletin, How Stuff Works, Wendy's Tips, TheGoodTrade, Byrdie