The mistakes you're making with your mascara

Here's how to fix mascara mishaps.

08 July 2014
by Annie Brookstone

You may be so busy trying to avoid poking yourself in the eye that you don’t even realise that the way you’re using your mascara may be reducing its intended dramatic effect. Do your lashes a favour before you pick up that mascara wand again and read this…

Mishap 1: Choosing the wrong mascara

It’s true – your first mascara mistake may happen before you’ve even made it as far as the till to pay for it. Consider the effect you want to achieve first. Do you want a lengthening formula, a product that promises fuller lashes, one that curls, or all of the above? Do you want a waterproof option that won’t budge, even if you’re in the sun and sweating, or would you prefer something specially formulated for sensitive eyes? And don’t forget to pick the right colour.

If you can’t test the mascara before you try it, do a little research: online reviews by real women with the same real eyelash issues as you can be far more useful than the magazine ads that promise everything.

Mishap 2: Pumping the wand

Far from achieving anything constructive, pumping the mascara wand in and out of the tube simply pushes air into the tube, which leads to your mascara drying out faster and can introduce bacteria. You want to pull the wand out in one smooth motion, making sure to scrape off any excess as you do so, to avoid clumping. Need more mascara on the wand? Gently twist it back and forth to pick up more.

Mishap 3: Doing a rush job

If you find yourself frequently hurriedly applying mascara at the traffic lights or just as you’re about to rush out of the house, you may wonder why it always clumps. It’s not your mascara, it’s you: you’re going too fast. Wait for the first coat to dry before applying a second coat, otherwise your lashes will stick together. The best way to apply mascara is by starting at the base of your lashes and wiggling the wand as you work your way up from base to tip.

Mishap 4: Expecting too much from your waterproof mascara

Waterproof? Yes. Sweat-proof? Sure. You can go swimming at the gym or cry at your sister’s wedding without having to worry about your mascara smudging, but the moment it comes into contact with something greasy – your emollient make-up remover, for example, or, less conveniently, moisturiser, sunscreen, concealer or foundation – you run the risk of it smearing. To avoid the less-than-flattering panda eyes that result from smudging mascara, be sure to make it the last product that you apply to your face.

Mishap 5: Keeping mascara too long

Like the goods in your fridge, the products in your make-up bag have a shelf life, and mascara has one of the shortest. Beauty experts recommend tossing your mascara after three months to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria back and forth between the tube and your eyes.

For further make-up advice and tips, chat to a consultant at the beauty counter in a Clicks store near you