Aside from applying mascara to make lashes look longer and better, rarely do we consider how to take care of our lashes on a day-to-day basis. Unlike other parts of our face and body, lashes don’t typically fit into our daily routines, even though they are a major component of our overall look and feel. So, let’s go over a few mascara hacks we should all know about making those eyelashes pop and really elevating your application.
#1. A Good Routine Is Priceless
There is nothing better you can do for your face and lashes than following a regular skincare routine that includes gentle and nourishing products for your lashes. Before going to bed each night, make sure your routine starts with a thorough face cleanse and makeup removal. This will also include the eyes, so be on the lookout for gentle cleansers and do not dry out the delicate eye area. While taking off your mascara, be careful not to pull or tug on your lashes, as this can easily damage them.
#2. Eyelash Conditioning Serum Is a Must
Even though most ads will tell you that eyelash serums will make your lashes longer, it’s important to remember that serums are not magic. The products will help keep your lashes healthy and hydrated, which will have an effect on their appearance. In case you’ve never tried it, we recommend testing out a lash serum. You’ll be surprised how effective it can be even if your lashes don’t get longer.
After removing mascara, apply a few drops of conditioning serum to help nourish and protect your lashes, which in turn will make them appear healthier, smoother, and longer. A nice little tip is to use your lash serum on your eyebrows also.
#3. Avoid Dangerous Ingredients in Mascaras
The main thing to avoid when looking to buy a new mascara is ethyl alcohol. This ingredient is very common in beauty products, and most people aren’t aware that it is extremely drying. In this case, it might cause breakage, as the lash structure becomes brittle. You want to keep lashes elastic and smooth so that they can be shaped and hold the products we put on them.
Aside from ethyl alcohol, the most common ingredients you’ll find in mascaras are phthalates and parabens. These are chemical preservatives that have been associated with increased cancer risk.
Often, brand-new mascaras are just a little too wet when you first try them out. They might take longer to dry or not hold a curl as well as you’d like. If this is the case, let the mascara dry a bit by leaving the tube open for 20 to 30 minutes. Your next mascara application should be much easier as a result!
#4. Avoid Pumping the Wand
Never pump your mascara wand! If you were ever in the habit of rapidly pushing the brush in and out of the mascara tube as though you were trying to mimic something particularly crude, now is the time to stop doing that. That motion loads up the brush with way more mascara than is actually necessary, and it also pushes air in which will lead to your mascara drying out sooner than it needs to.
#5. Wiggle As You Work
Embrace the wiggle, understand the wiggle, and master the wiggle. I’m talking, of course, about the side-to-side motion you should utilize when applying mascara, as it ensures that your lashes will look voluminous yet separated.
#6. Use It As Eyeliner
In a pinch your mascara formula can also double for liquid eyeliner. Dip an eyeliner brush into your tube of mascara and apply it as you would any other liquid liner – no one will be able to tell the difference!
#7. A Clean Mascara Wand for Lash Separation
Another detail worth mentioning is about hanging on to a lash brush or a clean mascara wand, for separation. After applying your mascara, while it’s still wet, get rid of clumps by brushing your lashes with the clean brush. Use the side-to-side wiggle motion for the best results.
#8. Try Different Angles
You don’t have to hold your mascara wand horizontally! Experiment with the angles at which you hold your mascara wand. You might discover that a vertical angle works well for your lower lashes or outer corner, or that a diagonal angle really helps you get into the inner corner.
#9. Think Lash Primer
If you feel like even the most volumizing mascara on our list doesn’t do quite enough, consider investing in a lash primer. They add more bulk below the mascara and they also help prevent it from flaking throughout the day. Be careful, however, as lash primers often also make the lashes look unnaturally thick.
#10. The Powder Hack
Another volumizing trick that is just as dramatic as using a primer but unfortunately just as prone to over-thickening, is the powder hack.
After the first coat of mascara dust your lashes with some face powder (or baby powder, although we’re not sure it’s safe to have near the eyes). Comb out your lashes, and then do a final coat or two of mascara. The powder will add some significant thickness and volume.
#11. Removing Tubing Mascara
If you’re willing to go through the effort of double up, there is a trick that gives the easy removal of a tubing mascara but the volume of a volumizing mascara. It’s simple: just start off with a coat of tubing mascara, give it a few seconds to dry just a bit, and then add another coat or two of volumizing mascara.
#12. The Saline Drop Trick
You may have heard of the saline drop trick before – you add a few drops of an eye solution to a dried-out mascara in order to extend its life and make it more fluid. I’m not going to recommend that, however.
It might give you a few more uses out of the mascara, but it will also throw off the balance of the preservatives in both formulas, and it can end up hurting your eyes, especially if the mascara has already reached its expiration date. You’re better off sticking to one of the more affordable mascaras we recommended, and replacing it often.
#13. Extend the Life of Your Mascara
So if it hasn’t been three months yet, and your mascara is getting too dry there is some recourse. Tighten the cap off your mascara, and let it sit in a bowl filled with warm (though not boiling) water for a few minutes. The heat will melt some of those clumps, but it won’t be so hot as to compromise the preservatives in your formula.
#14. Curling up Those Lashes
If you find your lashes are difficult to curl, you can heat your lash curler up with a blow dryer before using it – it should give it a boost and curl your lashes better.
#15. Avoid Messy Lower Lash Mascara Application
If you find yourself struggling with a messy lower lash mascara application, use a tissue as a protector. Fold the tissue once or twice, and then hold it along your bottom lash line. Apply your mascara to the lower lashes, and the tissue will prevent a clumpy application while also preventing mascara from smudging on to you under-eye area.
#16. The No-Clump Trick
If you’d like to amp up your mascara from day to night but are afraid of flakiness or clumping, try the makeup remover trick. Pour a few drops of an oil-free makeup remover on a clean eyelash brush, and use it to brush out your lashes. It will re-moisten your lashes, remove hard clumps of mascara, and will allow you to apply a few fresh coats of mascara with ease.
#17. Recycling the Tube
Once you’ve finished a tube of mascara, don’t throw out the whole thing! The tube itself might be recyclable, but you can definitely reuse the brush. Wash it with dish soap to get all the mascara residue out, and then use it for combing your lashes both before and after mascara applications. You can also use a clean mascara brush for combing your brows!
#18. Curling After the Mascara Application
We’re generally opposed to the suggestion to curl the lashes after mascara application. 9 out of 10 times this will just lead to crimped-looking lashes and a dirty eyelash curler.
However, if your lashes are truly resistant to curling and you really want to try this technique, we recommend working fast – apply your mascara, and then immediately curl your lashes while the mascara is still wet. Your curler will still get dirty, but at least your curl will stay in place without your lashes looking wonky or crimped.
Photos via @grishina.viktoria, @nikki_makeup, Instagram