(Last Updated On: January 24, 2018)

Mascara is here to stay. It’s been lighting up women’s eyes for decades now, and only gets better with age. Everyone wants eyelashes as thick and long as Naomi Campbell’s every day, and mascara is the one way to achieve that.

As reality may always remind us, not all of us have great eyelashes. Some people’s eyelashes are practically invisible. Others have theirs so short, while most of us have extremely thin ones.

Rather than using alternatives such as artificial eyelashes, many women prefer to use mascara for longer, thicker eyelashes. That’s what makes mascara an essential part of any makeup kit.

Having the best mascara brand isn’t a guarantee of great looks though, as the women below learnt the hard way.

Jo-Ann, a 39 year old interior designer from NYC remembers the time her mascara smudged before her big presentation at work.

I was meeting this couple about some new designs I had come up with and felt ready to blow them away. –She says. Minutes before I could meet them, I noticed that my mascara had gone out of order.

Getting it back in order had to wait, at the expense of uncertain stares from her clients.

“I tried cleaning away the smudge with a handkerchief, but it wouldn’t go.” She says. “The clients had other appointments, so I had to brave it out. Not the best experience of my career.”

Eve’s story is different, and more positive.

Everyone wonders how my Instagram photos look so good’, says the 25 year old accountant from NYC.

The one thing Eve’s friends cannot get over is her mascara and how it always looks so good.

“My friends keep asking me who my makeup artist is.” she adds. “They always get shocked when I tell them I do the makeup myself at home.”

Some followers have even asked her to make videos of her mascara application process and share them on her account.

Mascara application is what defines how good you will look after make-up. Poor application will have you cleaning up smudges every few hours; proper application will have you slaying like a queen all day.

So, how should one apply mascara?

The answer isn’t as complex as you think.

Before you can learn how to apply mascara like a pro, you’ve got to get the basics about mascara first.

What Is The Right Type Of Mascara To Use?

There’s lots of mascara brands to choose from, and you might even have a favourite already. But how do you know it’s the right mascara to use? Consider the factors below.

Formula and Ability

But even though they all appear to be made from the same formula, mascaras still differ in the abilities they have for the eyelashes. They can be thickening, volumising, curling, growth-improving, lengthening and more!

Brands will usually display this ability on the product packaging for easy view.

It’s important to remember that a mascara brand that lengthens eye lashes may not be good at making them appear thicker or voluminous.

Still, you can get both effects by applying both brands of mascara or using a three-in-one brand instead. Just remember to check out the latter’s reviews online before purchase.

The other factors to consider include colour and waterproofing abilities.


When it comes to color, there’s probably more shades to choose from than the stars in the sky. You need a mascara shade that will provide the right effect you’re looking for, ranging from simple to dramatic to sensual.

Your choice of color should also be appropriate enough for the event of activity you’re attending. Your skin also comes into play here, determining the color that will provide the best effect without too much hard work.

I recommend black/brown mascara for its double duty abilities and the ‘brighter eye’ effect it has. You can still try out colors such as green and purple for skin enhancement, but only if they fit your event or occasion.

Waterproofing Abilities

A mascara can be waterproof or not. Like the name suggests, waterproof mascaras are not affected by water, which translates to less cases of smudging halfway through the day. It also means that they last longer, in addition to enabling eyelashes keep their curl for more hours.

When choosing a waterproof mascara, remember that it can still be smudged by oil produced by the skin and needs specific cleansers for effective removal at the end of the day.

With such core differences in mascara brands, it can be hard to determine the best mascara to use for your lashes.

How To Apply Mascara

Applying mascara is not a complex process, and there’s lots of exciting things for you to try. Follow the steps to learn how to apply your mascara like a pro without the usual mistakes.

Get Your Beauty Tools In Order

Before you start, you need to have all your tools next to you if you’re to do it right. From experience, there’s no fun in looking for wipes after a ton of mascara has clumped up your eye lashes. The tools required may vary according to the make up to be applied, but the basics remain the same.

You should have;

An eyelash curler

Mascara tin (of a brand you trust)

Mascara wand (should be made of full bristles and be of a size that fits your eye lash length)

Hard body card or business card or credit card (for use during mascara application on lower lashes)

A fan brush (for coating the roots properly)

An old mascara wand (for brushing out coated eye lashes to remove clumps)

Clean Up

Applying makeup is like painting in a way. Click To Tweet

To do it well, you need to use a new canvas. Clean your eyes and eyelids first.

Take off any excess oil & residual makeup by washing with warm water prior to mascara application.

Curl Your Lashes

While mascara makes your eyelashes appear thicker, curling them makes them appear longer and fuller. It’s important to curl them first before adding the mascara.

Place your eyelash curler at the base or root of the eyelashes (at the point where they come out of the skin) and maintain the pressure for at least 10 seconds.

Then move the curler to the middle of the lashes and have another go for another 10 seconds.

Finally, shift your curler near the top of the lashes and continue the exercise for 10 seconds.

This process gives your eyelashes a beautiful curl with lashes that appear longer and open your eyes up.

Note: Do not curl your lashes again after applying mascara. Click To Tweet After it dries, mascara makes the eyelashes stiff and more vulnerable to breakage with rough movement such as curling.

Apply Eyeshadow To The Eyelids

Once you’re done curling the eyelashes, apply a good layer of eye shadow to the eyelids.

The idea is to create contrast with your skin before the mascara is applied. You can consider brightly colored eye shadow for that pop effect or a light shade for formal occasions.

Add A Primer

Instead of eyeshadow, you can apply a primer to the eyelids instead. The best primer i recommend is baby powder, which is effective at absorbing sweat and body oil.

To apply, close your eyes and sprinkle the powder lightly onto the eyelids. (Don’t use too much of it!)

Note: If all you’re looking for is longer, curlier and thicker lashes, you can move to the mascara application stage after applying the primer. If it’s the complete look you’re going for, consider the next stage too.

Get Your Eyeliner On

Eyeliner does even more for your eyes with some mascara on, as hundreds of some will testify.

If you want that dark complimentary look that eyeliner gives, this is where you apply it.

To add a good layer of lining, move your eyeliner carefully around the eyes, maintaining the lining’s thickness all the way.

Apply Mascara To The Eyelashes

Applying mascara sounds like one of the easiest parts of makeup application. But basing on the number of people that find difficulty with it, it isn’t as simple as it appears.

To apply, get the wand out of the bottle and place it at the root/base of the eyelashes. Click To Tweet

Spread the mascara all-over the eyelashes by moving the wand up and down along the lashes slowly, and then applying a zig zag like motion after. The latter ensures that every lash is coated rather than smeared lightly with the product.

Combination of both movements helps limit the clumping of mascara within the lashes, aiding in their separation.

Do you fear the mascara wand getting into your eye?

You can also close your eyes first and then roll the wand along the lashes to coat them effectively.

Enough mascara should make your lashes thicken and stand out.

Too much mascara?

Not so much. All you will get is lots of clumping and spider web eyelashes.


  1. Because of their fine bristles, mascara wands tend to remove lots of product from the bottle with every withdrawal. This increases your chances of getting some product onto your skin if you’re not careful.
  2. When getting mascara from the bottle with the wand, drive the wand along the edge of the bottle to rub off the excess product.
  3. To avoid smearing mascara on your body during application, cover and hold a hard body card or paper (such as a business card) against the eyelid as you apply.

Apply To The Lower Lashes

Most people skip the lower eye lashes when applying mascara, which is totally wrong. True, the lower eyelashes tend to be shorter, bit that doesn’t make them unfit for make up. Once made up correctly, the lower lashes can contribute greatly to your bright, flirty look more than you look.

To apply, tilt your head backwards a little to prevent the mascara from getting into contact with your eyelids.

Go through the same procedure you used for the upper lashes, starting with the curling, finishing with the clean-up. Use a card or cloth against your eyelid during application to keep the mascara away from the eyes.

How Much Is Enough Mascara?

Because too much mascara has no benefits for your eyes or overall look, you need to know the right amount to apply. Unfortunately, there is no set amount of product written anywhere as the right amount to apply.

Expert beauticians suggest that you apply not more than three layers of mascara a day.

Apply two coats on both eyes, and then apply one final layer to each eye.

Some Simple Application Tips For Proper Application Of Mascara

 For an even bigger effect, you can sprinkle some of that translucent powder or baby powder onto the lashes before applying the second layer of product. The powder makes the lashes appear even thicker and more voluminous after the mascara dries.

 Getting mascara onto the roots of the eyelashes is the most difficult part of the process. They are difficult to coat without smudging the skin, but even harder to ignore once left uncoated.

 Usually, mascara wands are too big to coat the roots without excessive smudging. To apply mascara to these roots, use a fan brush instead. Their small size makes them perfect for coating even the smallest eyelash just the way you want it.

 For longer staying curls, (and less smudging even on hot days) use a waterproof mascara for your coating. You can then add another layer of mascara for other effects.

 If your eyes are far apart, i recommend applying more coats of mascara to your inner lashes. (those closest to your nose). For eyes that are close together, the vice versa applies just as well.

How To Keep Mascara From Smudging

Despite their best attempts, applying mascara is still a pain for many women, mainly because it tends to smudge half way through the day.

Even after following the application tips from the best experts, some women still see their mascara smudge and melt away, distorting their makeup.

Does your mascara smudge a lot?

It could be your oily skin, mascara brand or weather conditions affecting you. Whatever the cause, we have some simple solutions you can try to keep mascara from smudging.

 Before applying mascara, apply some translucent powder on your eyelids. You can then apply the mascara on your lashes. This powder absorbs the moisture and oils that would otherwise result in smudging, even for waterproof mascara.

 You can also apply a clear waxy mascara after the first layer of mascara has dried. The waxy mascara layer should be able to keep the first mascara layer in place and prevent it from smudging.

 You can also apply a little powder over your eyes with a brush after applying the first mascara layer. After some time, you then spray the area lightly with makeup finishing spray.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Dropping the wand/brush in and out of the mascara bottle during use. This introduces air into the bottle which dries up the bottle. Twist it within the bottle instead, and rub it along the opening as you pull it out.

Applying to only the upper eyelashes. Leaving out the lower lashes will only leave you looking awkward. You can apply less mascara on the lower lashes rather than leave them out completely.

Keeping your mascara for more than three months. After three months, your mascara is no longer fit for use. It might not say ‘expired’ on the tin, but still needs to be replaced to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Not wiping the wand from the bottle. Wiping helps you remove excess product from the bristles before application. Skipping it will result in clumpy eyelashes.

Applying mascara first before foundation. There are high chances of messing up your make up (smudging etc.) if you apply mascara first. Experts recommend that you apply mascara before other items of makeup.

Not combing through eyelashes after mascara application. This results in clumping and very unsightly lashes as a result.

Skipping the curling part. Applying mascara before curling your lashes is a bad idea. You need to lengthen and curl your lashes first before coating them with mascara because doing so after is not recommended.

Dipping the wand in the bottle for every coating. Besides wastage, this will only leave you with excessive product in your lashes. You don’t want that. All you have to do is dip it in once for every few rounds.

Rubbing away wet mascara from the skin. Don’t try this; you’ll only smudge it further all over your face. Instead, wait for it to dry. It will flake away and you can easily brush it off after.

How To Remove Mascara

To get your make up off, use approved make up removers and cleansers. This is especially true for waterproof mascaras, which require more effort to remove.

If it’s small smudged edges you want to clean up, use a Q-tip dipped in remover for the best effect.

Before You Go!

Leaving mascara on your lashes before bed is dangerous.

Your lashes can dry off, brittle up and fall out, leaving you with patches.

Keep on the safe side by ensuring utmost cleanliness and care for your eyelashes every day.

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