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Minimize Mascara Clumps

Clumpy Lashes? We're here to help. Follow our tips to minimize mascara clumps

Here's how to minimize clumpy mascara

Have you ever glanced into a brightly lit restroom mirror and discovered that your mascara has clumps that you didn’t notice in your makeup mirror at home? Nothing ruins a makeup look more than clumpy mascara, lashes stuck together, and the dreaded spider-lash look. Mascara is meant to be applied smoothly, in order to thicken, lengthen, and separate lashes for a look that enhances the natural beauty of your eyelashes. Clumpy mascara looks worse than no mascara at all.

So what is the cause of clumps, and how can we avoid them?

Toss it!

Many people don’t realize that mascara comes with an expiration date. Though the FDA doesn’t require this information to appear on cosmetics labels, they recommend mascara be thrown away after three months. By that time it’s generally drying up, and dry mascara doesn’t apply as smoothly. Also, mascara tubes harbor bacteria which is then transferred from your eyelashes to the tube, where the dark, moist environment promotes bacterial growth. Expired mascara can cause infections such as conjunctivitis and styes, as well as those unsightly clumps.

Pumping the wand in and out of the mascara tube also causes drying by adding air to the tube. Instead of pumping, try twirling the wand inside the tube to pick up more product.

Less is More

Too much mascara on your applicator wand can cause clumping. Make sure to wipe off any excess on the inside bottleneck or on a tissue before applying. If you want more mascara, apply a second coat rather than using extra product on the first coat.

The Over-Coat

Mascara is formulated to work best with no more than two coats. Putting on a third or fourth coat will cause unsightly clumps. When applying a second coat, be sure to do so before the first one dries. Applying a second coat on top of a dry first coat is more likely to cause clumping, and that spidery-lash look that we want to avoid.

Thin is in

Thinner mascara wands will do a better job of separating and defining your lashes than the fat, puffy ones. The fatter wand tips gather more product and result in the clumpy-lash look. Also, mascara wands with plastic bristles work better than the soft, hair-like bristled tips. Plastic bristle tips work like a comb through your lashes to separate them and prevent clumps and keep eyelashes from becoming adhered to each other.

Do the Wiggle

Instead of brushing smoothly straight up from the roots to the tips of your lashes, try wiggling, or zig-zaging the brush upward from the roots to the tips. This thickens, curls, and separates your lashes for the best mascara application without clumping.

Clean Canvas

Be thorough when removing your mascara at night. If some of the previous day’s mascara remains on your lashes, you are much more likely to end up with some annoying clumps when you try to apply fresh mascara over the remnants of the old.

Ugly clumps are just one reason you shouldn’t sleep with mascara remaining on your eyelashes. Sleeping in mascara overnight invites nasty pests like bacteria and eyelash mites to make your lashes their dream home.

Water Isn’t Welcome

If your mascara has become too dry before its expiration date, don’t add water. This destroys some of your mascara’s important components and will cause clumping. Instead of adding water, try placing the capped mascara tube into a mug of hot water. The heat will help to thin the product left in the tube.

Besides clumping, there are several other reasons not to add water to mascara. The addition of water promotes the growth of bacteria in your mascara, which can lead to infections. Also, if your mascara dries out well before its expiration date it could indicate that eyelash mites have infested both the mascara tube, and your eyelashes. Eyelash mites are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye. If your mascara dries out very suddenly, throw it out and wash your eyelashes thoroughly with baby shampoo.

While no made-up face looks complete without mascara, especially a good lengthening formula, unsightly clumps and spider-lashes can distract the eyes from the rest of your face’s beauty. Proper application and mascara maintenance will keep your mascara fresh, and your eyelashes looking their best!

Resources — Gabriel Cosmetics, Loreal Paris, Makeup.com, Byrdie