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Applying Mascara Tips and Tricks

Updated on August 2, 2010

Mascara is the icing on the cake of eye makeup.  You can wear it alone on days that you don't have time to apply other eye makeup.  If you do apply other eye makeup, mascara is a must for the perfect finishing touch. 

Mascara can help you look more wide awake, create the effect of having larger eyes, and even enhance the color of your eyes as well.  Knowing how to apply mascara for the best effect will create a gorgeous look that will last all day.

Choose the Right Mascara for You

The first thing to do is to pick out the right mascara for you.  There are so many types to choose from it can be confusing to know which one is the best fit for you.  Different types of mascara promise different benefits.  Some will lengthen lashes, volumize, thicken lashes, separate lashes.  Try the types that will give you the best effect that you are hoping for.

I suggest always opting for waterproof mascara.  If you are active or live in a warm climate, you'll need the waterproof benefit to keep mascara from smearing or running down your face in a dark yucky looking torrent.  Of course being out in the snow can also affect your makeup, as I’ve had the misfortune to witness first hand.

Usually trial and error is the best way to choose the mascara you'll love.  If in doubt, go with Maybelline Great Lash.  It's the top selling mascara now for years running.   That one doesn't really work for me, so I don't get why it is so popular, but it must work for many others and is usually a good place to begin experimenting.

Pick the Perfect Mascara Color

Black and browns are the obvious choices for mascara.  Black is universally the most popular.  Browns look more natural, unless you have black hair, and are the best choice if you are a pale blond or redhead.  Black mascara on pale blonds or light redheads just looks too harsh.  But what about some of the other color options?

  • Blue mascara will wake up tired eyes.
  • Purple mascara will make brown, green, and some shades of hazel eyes pop.
  • Green, well, I haven't tried this color, but it might be a fun color to enhance blue or green eyes.
  • Raisin or reddish colors will create stunning effects for green eyes.
  • Quartz or shimmering mascaras are a great evening look, but a bit too much for work or school.

I apply one coat of black under any colors that I put on to darken my lashes first.  Then I apply one or two coats of color just for fun.

How to Apply Mascara

  • Start with a light dusting of powder under your eyes.  This will catch any drips.  You can then wipe it off without the mascara smearing on your face.
  • If you apply mascara to your bottom lashes, put the mascara on them first.  Tilt your head slightly down and use the mascara wand lightly over the bottom lashes.
  • Tilt your head up to apply mascara to your top lashes.  Start at the bottom of the lash and wiggle the mascara wand all the way up through the tips.  Start at the inner corner of your lashes and repeat this until you've covered your entire lashes.
  • If you are going for a second coat, put it on while the first coat is still wet.  This will help reduce clumping.
  • If lashes do get clumpy, or you need to separate them, wait for mascara to dry and then run an eyebrow comb through them.
  • One or two coats should do for a good daytime look.  At night, add another coat or two for a more dramatic look.

Additional Mascara Tips

  • Mascara has about a six month shelf life after it's opened.  If you haven't used it by then, throw it away and get a new one.
  • Don't pump the mascara wand up and down in the tube.  This creates air bubbles which could encourage germs and dry out the mascara too fast.
  • If you accidentally get mascara on your face, use a q-tip to wipe it off.  It will take it off without smearing the rest of your makeup.


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    • HappyHer profile image

      Tracy Morrow 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Hi DaisyJae. I have a hard time saying good bye to makeup that I haven't used all up, but is past it's prime. But it is healthier to toss it and get something else.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 7 years ago from Canada

      I have had the same mascara for a few years now, time to throw it out i guess!