Our most unique and expressive feature is our eyes. As babies and young children, our eye-to-face ratio is much higher, emphasizing the eyes as our dominant, youthful feature. You will notice in younger people the lashes are darker, fuller, longer, and naturally curl at the tips. It is a young-looking, doll-like trait we try to replicate in adulthood. And thus, the need for mascara was born.
As a beauty industry veteran, I have spent countless hours watching some of the most noted celebrity makeup artists apply mascara with different products and techniques. Putting on mascara seems like such a simple task. Swipe up, swipe up, swipe down, swipe up, repeat. Wrong girlfriend. I’ve compiled my years of observation to share the most accepted and successful way to beautify the eyes with mascara.
Prepping is vital, and the correct products are imperative; however, the way you apply mascara is where the magic happens. So let us begin.
Before you do anything to your lashes, ensure they are spotless and free of any previous lash color or eye treatment products. It is imperative to have clean lashes. If not, you run the risk of clumpy lashes, lashes sticking together, mascara that runs, or irritated eyes.
Side Tip: Never go to bed with mascara on your lashes. If you are out too late (guilty as charged), then at least use an eye makeup cloth or makeup remover cleansing towelettes to remove all of your eye and facial makeup before passing out on your pillow.
Curl Your Lashes
Start on the outer part of the eye at the lash bed and clamp down comfortably for a second or two, then move halfway up the lash and crimp again for only one second. Typically you don’t need to do this to the inner part of the lash line. Yet, if you do, work from the middle out since the lashes towards the nose are shorter and very difficult to curl. Your lash should have a natural C-curve, no kinks or bends.
If you are too heavy-handed with your lash curler (or if you do not clean/replace your pad regularly), you run the risk of lash breakage. The biggest mistake I see women (and novice makeup artists) doing is curling lashes after they apply mascara. I cannot express this enough – only curl clean, bare lashes to preserve the health and strength of your lashes long term.
Using a lash primer will help to separate lashes and give them a longer and thicker appearance than just mascara alone. Even if you are naturally blessed with longer, thicker lashes (I hate you already), you still want to use a primer. A lash primer conditions and fortifies the lashes before applying mascara. Think of it as skincare for your lashes.
Which Mascara To Use
I feel that some mascara wands are too large and make applying mascara more difficult. Stick with ones that have the same, smaller shape throughout the wand. If it is bulging in the middle and tapers off on the ends, it takes more finesse to apply.
Choose a mascara based on your biggest concern. Do you want your lashes to look longer, fuller, or both? Typically length will give a more natural look, and more voluminous or fuller lashes tend to provide a more dramatic appearance. Do you need a waterproof mascara for a special occasion? It is not recommended that you wear waterproof mascara daily as the formulas are too harsh on the lashes for extended wear.
Always opt for black. Period. It does not matter how pale you are or light your hair color or brows. Black mascara will give you the most vibrant look to your eyes. Black lashes match your pupil and help to emphasize your distinctive iris color.
Because I received free mascaras for decades, I have literally tried hundreds of brands and formulas. Still, the best over-all has been my favorite for a long time (find it featured in the shopping widget). Sometimes I venture out with the recommendation from a trusted colleague, but I always circle back to my favorite. This mascara is a very pure dark, dark black; it doesn’t clump, and it gives my lashes longer and thicker appearance. I also like that my lashes are still soft to the touch and not stiff.
The Best Way to Apply Mascara
Do not pump the wand into the container, thinking you are adding more solution onto the wand. This action adds oxygen into the chamber, which more quickly thickens and dries out the mascara. Start by wiping off any excess mascara (especially from the tip). More is not always better when it comes to mascara. It is about the formula, wand shape, and application technique to deliver the best mascara effects.
The most effective way to apply mascara is to start on the outer corner working your way from the root to the tip of the lash. Slowly wiggle side to side as you coat the entire length of the lash. Wiggle, wiggle, shimmy, shimmy is the secret sauce to longer and thicker looking lashes. It not about combing the lash upward as it is about thoughtfully using the side to side action to coat each lash naturally thoroughly. Work swiftly while applying mascara as it is easier to manipulate the mascara when it is still wet on the lashes.
Follow with the same technique for the middle lashes and then again for the inner lashes closest to the nose. Sometimes I like to direct the outer lashes so that they are swooping out to the side of the eye more than up vertically. It gives a beautiful natural effect to the lash and also makes them appear longer from your front and profile. I rarely put mascara on my bottom lashes as I want the focus on my eyes to be uplifting, not downward. It takes a bit longer to coat the lashes with this technique, however it will give you the perfect mascara effect.
Try For Yourself
Applying mascara takes me less than two minutes. Once you have mastered the wiggly-shimmy technique with your favorite mascara, you will create your own beautiful lashes. If you want an additional tip to emphasize your lashes even more, then read my article, How To Create a Natural Makeup Look Over 40. Now go and be dazzling and bat those new lashes at someone special.