The One Thing You Shouldn't Do When Putting On Mascara

October 29, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Mascara may seem like the most foolproof cosmetic, but in reality it can be a maddeningly perplexing makeup tool.  It seems like no two applications are ever alike and clumps appear out of the blue. Why is mascara such a random and fickle product? Turns out it has a lot to do with the one thing most women seem to always get wrong when applying it.

“The number one mistake women make when applying mascara is rushing through the application and not bringing the wand close enough to the roots of their eyelashes,” says Ramy Gafni, a New York-based celebrity makeup and brow expert and author of How To Fake Real Beauty. “For the best results bring the wand as close to the roots of your lashes and wiggle the wand left and right as you pull it though your lashes. This will coat the entire lash evenly from root to tip, resulting in fabulous lashes.”

Makeup Artist Liz Fuller agrees and adds, “You want the majority of the product at the base, which helps to create the look of thick, dark lashes. A lot of women apply in an upward motion that leaves mascara at the tips, depositing a lot of the product at the tips, which weighs down the lashes.”

If you’ve already got this tip down and still don’t feel like your lashes are as luscious as they should be, here are 3 more ways you may be thwarting your own efforts to get gorgeous eyelashes.

You are curling your lashes after applying mascara. Always use an eyelash curler before mascara–never after its application. Not only will this prep your lashes, it will save them extreme damage. “Curling lashes after applying mascara can cause the lashes to break,” Fuller says. “Mascara hardens on the lashes and when you clamp down on them there is the likelihood that you are going to snap them in half.”

You’re sleeping in your mascara. That little rule about removing your makeup before bed applies to mascara, as well. But some women may think they’re scrubbed off all of their mascara, only to wake up the next morning and, unbeknownst to them, actually apply new mascara over an old coat. Zain al-Thawadi, director of OAT Group, offers this great tip on effectively removing mascara:

“I would recommend using eye make-up remover with a cotton ball or bud, then brushing the eyelashes with an eyelash brush that is coated with eye make-up remover or caster oil,” al-Thawadi says. “Use the eye makeup remover again with a button ball or bud to remove that tiny amount of residue that makes the difference between a beautiful application the next morning, or a borderline disastrous clumpy or fake thick-looking application.”

You’re not using a great wand. If you find a mascara wand that works for you, don’t chuck it out when your mascara runs out–hold on to it because, as Megan Cox, founder of Wink Natural Cosmetics, tells us, a fab wand can be even more important than your mascara formula. “The biggest problem is that women don’t choose a brush that separates their lashes, Cox says. “Try to find a brush with many small, tough bristles that won’t stick to themselves. You can pick up a mascara like Benefit’s They’re Real!. It’s mostly about the brush, rather than the formulation, so when you find an awesome brush, feel free to clean it and put it in a new bottle of mascara.”

For more beauty tips, check out 11 facts you never knew about Essie and the best new eyeshadow palette for beginners.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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