Mascara Mistakes: What to Avoid When Applying Mascara

Avoid these situations when applying your mascara products.

Don't make these mistakes

Mascara has been a makeup staple since Eugene Rimmel patented the first cake mascara, made of coal dust and petroleum jelly, back in 1917. Since that time, professionals have perfected the application of mascara, but many of us at home have not. Even if you think you are an expert on applying your mascara, you may read over some of the following tips and pointers and discover something that you didn’t know. You may even end up surprised by a whole new look for your lashes.

Mistake Number One: You Wear Waterproof Mascara Every Day

While waterproof mascara is wonderful for a day at the beach, or for a wedding or funeral, it’s made for just that. It’s formulated to be waterproof and worn on days when your eyelashes will be exposed to water or tears. It’s not meant to be worn every day. Wearing waterproof mascara daily can lead to brittle, broken lashes. It’s also much more difficult to remove, meaning you may end up scrubbing too hard which can end in lash loss.

Mistake Number Two: You are Pumping Your bottle

Don’t pump your mascara wand in and out of the bottle to try to attach more product. Pumping the bottle causes air infiltration which will cause your expensive new mascara to dry out much too quickly, and dry mascara causes clumps and flakes. Instead of pumping, insert the wand and gently twist back and forth in a circular motion to get plenty of mascara on the applicator.

Mistake Number Three: You are Not Applying Mascara Correctly

Most people start at the top lashes and swipe upward several times, and then do the bottom lashes. Instead, try doing your bottom lashes first. This prevents mascara from your top lashes leaving spots under your eyes while you look down to apply it to your bottom lashes. Also, when applying mascara to your upper eyelashes, start at the base of the lash line and then zig-zag as you move upward. This helps to curl and separate the lashes. Getting plenty of mascara at the base of the lash line helps your lashes to appear both thicker and longer.

Mistake Number Four: You Aren’t Wiping the Brush off Before Using

Most mascara wands pick up more product than needed and this results in clumped, stuck-together lashes instead of long, separated lashes. Try wiping the excess mascara off on a tissue, or scraping the wand against the inside rim of the tube to remove the extra.

Mistake Number Five: You are Using Old Mascara

Although the FDA doesn’t require expiration dates on makeup labels, they recommend tossing out your old mascara after three months. Mascara is a perfect breeding medium for bacteria colonies. The wand picks up bacteria and skin flakes from our eyelashes and then places it inside a moist, dark, warm, beaker-like container. Studies on used mascara tubes have revealed alarming amounts of bacteria that can cause eye infections especially in those with contacts, or if you have a scratch or pimple on your eyelids. Old mascara also causes flaking and clumping, so there’s that, too, if flaky mascara scares you more than bacteria.

Mistake Number Six: You Don’t Tailor Your Mascara to Your Eye Shape

Mascara shouldn’t be applied the same way for every eye shape. If your eyes are close-set, concentrating mascara on the lashes at the outer ends of your eyes will separate them. If your eyes are wide-spaced you can bring them in a little by putting an extra coat of mascara on the inner sides of your eyes. You also may want to apply mascara differently depending on what effect you want. Zig-zag strokes of the wand thicken lashes, and long, upward sweeps lengthen them.

Mistake Number Seven: You are Over-Coating

Mascara is formulated to work best at two coats, and no more. Putting on three or four coats results in twisted, spidery looking lashes. Stick to two coats for a silky, separated look. For even more amazing results, do one coat each of two different types of mascara. For example, the first coat can be a thickening mascara and the second coat can be a lengthening formula. Also, if you want to go with a waterproof mascara, putting it on top of a layer of typical mascara will still give you waterproofing, but will protect your lashes from the drying effects of waterproof mascara and it will wash off easier.

So no matter how great you are at applying your mascara, unless you are a professional makeup artist, I bet you’ve learned something new to try at your next makeup application!

Resources— Allure, The List, Good Housekeeping, LoveToKnow