10 Mascara Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

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For many of us, applying mascara is as routine as a morning latte. It’s part of our beauty ritual and completes our look, like the perfect lipstick. You’d never think of going to a cocktail party or a date without mascara right? But who taught you how to apply mascara? Your mother? Your sister perhaps? Or maybe it was just a DIY project when you were 12 and having a sleepover with your bestie. If you thought mascara was a no-brainer, think again. We’re here to tell you that there’s a good chance that no matter who taught you, you’re doing at least one thing wrong. But the good news is that there’s an easy fix for every mistake.

1. You Don’t Zig Zag

This basic motion ensures a fuller, thicker lash look. For top lashes, hold the wand at the bottom of your lashes, then zig-zag as you move the wand upwards. “This will help give your lashes a curled effect. Keep repeating this until you get your lashes as thick as you want, usually two to three coats. When it comes to the bottom lashes, tilt your head forward slightly to keep from getting mascara onto your cheek,” Marlena, founder and CEO of the blog Makeup Geek, explained to GoodHousekeeping.

2. You Only Coat The Bottom Of Your Lashes

It makes sense that when you apply mascara you look in a mirror and swipe from the eye up towards your brow. But if you think about it, this leaves the top layer of the lash bare. Instead, brush down your lashes to coat the top, then look up and finish as you normally would. Making sure the downward stroke is the first step in the application otherwise the brush will flatten rather than lift and curl lashes. This two-step technique will create a thicker and more voluminous look. And if you have really fair hair and your lashes are blonde are grey, this will make a huge difference.

3. You Don’t Use The Wand Vertically 

Holding the wand horizontally is how we are all taught, but that’s not the only way. Try swiping lashes vertically, or as celebrity makeup artist Melanie Inglessis suggested to Self Magazine, use a windshield wiper motion along the root of the lashes with the wand held up and down. “When you use your wand vertically, you can really get to the roots of your top lashes,” she said. This method works on those tiny lower lashes as well.

4. You Pump the Wand

We all want to get as much out of our mascara tube as possible and we think that by repeatedly pumping the wand in and out it will get more of the formula out and onto our lashes. Think again. What this actually does is allow too much air inside the tube, which will not only dry out the product faster (meaning you’ll be at the beauty counter more frequently) but it may also allow the growth of bacteria, causing irritation at best, infections at worst.

5. You Don’t Wipe the Excess Off the Tip 

It’s simple but too many of us skip this step when we’re in a hurry. When you remove the wand remember to wipe the extra formula that’s on the tip against the edge of the tube or even on a tissue. This will prevent clumping and allow for smoother application.

6. You Avoid an Eyelash Curler 

Maybe you had an eyelash curler malfunction and pinched your eyelid. Or you’re one of those people that can’t handle objects getting too close to your eye. We’re here to tell you to try it. An eyelash curler makes a world of difference to your lashes, making them appear thicker and fuller without even using mascara! Your eyes will appear larger too. Which brings up the next point…

7. You Use Your Eyelash Curler After Mascara 

Tempting though it may be, never curl your lashes after you’ve applied the formula. For one thing, it will stick to the curler. This can make your mascara clump together, but worse than anything, it will actually stick to your lashes and break them off or yank them out causing long-term damage.

8. You Re-Apply at the End of the Day 

With so many all-day wear and waterproof mascaras on the market, there is no need to try and layer on top of formula that has been there for 8 hours or more. It won’t add anything to your look, but instead will clump and weigh down lashes. If you really want a fresh look then remove and start over.

9. You’re Only Using One 

Some beauty junkies like their regimes, be it makeup or skincare, to have multiple steps. Others like a product that does it all. With a mascara, you will probably need more than one type. Most formulas focus on solving one problem: length, curl, definition or volume. So trying to find one to do all four is pretty much impossible. The solution? Layer! We don’t suggest four mascaras, but we do think finding two that solve your most pressing concerns will give you the look you want. Think one that lengthens and one that curls, or one that adds volume and one for length. You get the idea.

10. You Keep Mascara Past its Prime 

Mascara, and any cosmetic for that matter, comes with a due date that its manufacturer stamps on the bottle, tube or palette, that spells out the life of the product. It’s often a symbol of a container with an open lid. The container symbol will have a number stamped on it with a duration, say 6 months, or 12 months for example. We strongly encourage following this guideline when making the decision when to toss your mascara, otherwise, you may end up with an eye infection or some sort of skin reaction.

Looking for a best-selling mascara with great reviews? Check out some of the top-rated mascaras (and our favorites!) below: 

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