Lash Stand The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

Kim Kardashian lashes The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

Remember when buying mascara was as simple as strolling through the drugstore and picking up whatever Maybelline New York or CoverGirl product happened to be on sale that week? The decision was pretty much: Waterproof or Not Waterproof. Brown or Black.

Things are so much more complicated now. Not that I don’t still love the brands I wore in high school—but they’ve morphed into high-tech magic wands that share retail space with dozens and dozens of equally impressive-sounding formulas. Lengthening! Volumizing! Curling! Plumping! Defining! Vibrating! Growth-enhancing!

It’s enough to make your brain hurt. But you know what? I swear to you that the mascara itself is only the first hurdle. Sure, it’s important to choose the right prodz (especially if your lashes are long but fine, and I’ll get to that in a sec). But the way you apply it can make a HUGE difference. I’ve collected a ton of tips over the years from makeup artists, brands, a reader and even my own mother (thanks Mom!), so today’s post is dedicating to helping you brush up (!) your technique.

Tip #1: Use the tip of your mascara wand to deposit the product at the roots of your lashes.

Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes Mascara The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

This is the newest tip I’ve adopted, which came my way via reader Barbie in the comments of this post. She was talking about Lancôme’s new Doll Lashes (which I reviewed here), and said: “The trick is to apply mascara with the tip of the applicator to the roots of your lashes first and then using the brush as a whole to brush/even out the product.” I started doing it with not just Doll Lashes but ALL of my mascara, and I’m hooked. If your usual technique is to just brush the wand through, this will rock your world because it really helps deposit the product at the bottom of the lashes—and the more colour at the roots, the more your eyes will pop. It’s also fantastic if your mascara is on the clumpy side, since any clumps will attach to the roots first (where they’re actually not such a big deal), and then you’re smoothing them out with the brush anyway. Love this tip. Thanks Barbie!

Tip #2: Use volumizing formulas with caution if you have long, fine lashes.

Remember this show?

Marc Jacobs Spring 2012 beauty The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

Marc Jacobs was going for a deliberately heavy-lashed look… but that might not be your cup of tea for the office. Or ever. You see, when you load up long, fine or long AND fine lashes with mascara that’s too heavy for them, the lashes get weighed down and you end up with this slightly unnatural, drag-queeny effect. Even worse: because the lashes can’t hold up the weight of all those fibres, the mascara can start to flake off. So if you have these kind of lashes, or if you’re on Latisse or have lash extensions, a more clean-look formula is probably a better choice. (I’m currently on Latisse and I’ve definitely noticed a new ridiculousness with my usual plumping mascaras… I just can’t wear them anymore.)

Tip #3: Brush your lashes in a diagonal direction for a wide-eyed effect.

I’ve heard different things from different experts on the direction in which you should pull the mascara through the lashes, but I think the diagonal is the most universally flattering. (One makeup artist brushes straight up, and yes, that can make your eyes look bigger, but it’s also a bit cartoon-ish.) Diagonal works for everyone—it gives a really pretty, wide-eyed effect. You know how cat’s eye liner helps open up your eyes? Well, it’s kinda like that.

Tip #4: Coat your lashes with powder to thicken them.

Shu Uemura loose powder The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

An oldie but a goodie. You know those mascaras that are double-ended, and one side is this weird white “priming” thing? Me no likey. Using a little bit of translucent face powder is so much easier, and it works the same way to fatten them up. Just lightly brush the lashes while you’re setting your foundation (you do set your foundation, right?) and then slick on the mascara. BAM! Fat juicy lashes.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to wear two or three different kinds of mascara at once.

Seriously, who said you had to only wear one mascara? You can totally layer them for a custom mix that ticks off all your boxes. For example, you might start with a defining mascara first to separate out your individual lashes, and then build it up with something lengthening on the tips, and maybe throw on a volumizing one at the end for the final wow factor. It’s totally up to you. Lately, however, I’ve been dabbling with a brand new product from Hourglass called Film Noir Lash Lacquer:

Hourglass Film Noir Lash Lacquer The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

It’s basically a top coat for lashes that goes on over your regular mascara. It makes them way more black (like, VERY noticeably more black) and a bit glossy. Highly recommended for evening.

Tip #6: Paint both sides of your lashes.

I forget to do this a lot of the time, but trust—it’s a fabulous trick if you want your lashes to look thicker. (I mean, DUH! We all go around wishing we had thicker lashes, and this is a pretty basic way to get ‘em no matter what the formula.) Plus, when you blink it just gives you a more polished look if the top part of your lashes are painted instead of just the underside.

Tip #7: Hold your brush horizontally and blink to coat your bottom lashes.

You know that well-worn tip about using the tip of your mascara wand to paint the bottom lashes? Like this?

woman applying mascara to lower lashes The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

Well it blows. I don’t know where that came from, but there’s no better way to make the lower lashes all thick and clumpy and unnatural-looking. Instead, if you want to add a touch of product to those puppies, try this: rest your mascara wand horizontally, NOT vertically, along the bottom lashes and blink a few times. Works like a charm!

Or you can always try Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara, which has a tiny brush that is a bit easier to maneuver.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

Tip#8: Prevent bottom-lash smearing with a waterproof mascara.

My mom’s been doing this for years now. Waterproof mascara can be a pain in the bum to remove, but it’s also painful when you catch a glimpse of your makeup mid-afternoon and realize your mascara has migrated from the bottom lashes down to your cheekbones. The best way to avoid the panda-eye look is to follow tip #7 but with a waterproof formula that won’t budge.

Tip #9: Tubular mascara might change your life.

Apparently there are some people out there who have never heard of tubular mascara, because a question about it came through just the other day. God, it’s good. Kiss Me from Blinc was the first one…

Kiss Me Mascara The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

…but now you can buy them from Bobbi Brown, Clinique, L’Oréal Paris, Estée Lauder, Lise Watier and Maybelline New York. What they do is coat each individual lash with an actual “tube,” which requires no makeup remover—just water—to get off. (The first time you use one of these, you’ll be mighty alarmed when you see all the tubes in the sink. Don’t worry, your lashes aren’t falling out.) They’re not likely to give you crazy volume or even lengthening, but are simply ACE for anyone who is fed up with clumping, flaking, smudging and smearing. Because they’re tubes, you get none of that. They’re a great choice for bottom lashes too.

Tip #10: Maybe you should think about not wearing mascara at all.

Here’s the thing. If you want to look younger, fresher, less “done,” then you might want to try skipping mascara altogether from time to time. I noticed this last season at Prada and okay, the model is probably 14—but doesn’t this look gloriously fresh?

MFW F11 Prada 4 The right mascara is only half the battle—here are 10 seriously great tips to help you brush up your application technique (Kim Kardashian, listen up!)

It’s a nice palette cleanser after all the horrific lash crimes we’ve been subjected to lately (and the Kardashian family is at the top of that list). So just somethin’ you might want to consider. You’ll want to make sure your skin is looking tops, and to compliment the look with some nice cream blush and rosy lip balm. Curl your lashes, too. Then: wait to be asked for ID at the liquor store.

Tell me:

Have you tried any of these mascara tips before?
What lash tricks do YOU swear by?
Do you have a favourite mascara?

25 Comments

Tegan McIntosh
Monday, October 24/2011 at 7:15 pm

what a great post. I never wear bottom lash mascara because of it migrating (or poking myself in the eye), but I might have to try, because the blink technique sounds really easy! I also always brush my lashes straight up, but you are right, it does look a little cartoony. I am going to try diagonal now!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 9:48 pm

Yes the blink tip is one of my faves! It doesn’t deposit a ton of product either so it’s way more natural looking.

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Magda
Monday, October 24/2011 at 9:35 pm

Omg. Amazing post. Thank you! ;)

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marta
Tuesday, October 25/2011 at 5:55 am

Great post!

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Lindsay
Tuesday, October 25/2011 at 11:59 am

I went into Sephora and carried around that Lash Lacquer from Hourglass for 20 minutes. Then put it back again because I was already dropping mad cash. But I think I have to have it.

Also, I’ve been using the Kiss Me mascara since I was 15. That makes roughly 17 years. It’s seriously the best. I’m only NOW branching out into Lancome territory.

Also, what’s your take on eyelash extensions? A lot of friends have discouraged me because people they know have ended up with eye infections. But I’m so curious and love the results.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 9:53 pm

I LOVE the Hourglass product. I mean, a regular application of mascara is fine, but you will see what I mean when you try it – it just takes your lashes to the next level (but without making them thicker/clumpier).

I haven’t tried eyelash extensions myself… I do Latisse and love it. With extensions having the glue near my eyes sort of gives me pause, as well as the potential for breakage. But I’ve seen results up close on a couple of friends and they do look amazing. I feel like Latisse is more natural-looking though.

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Susan
Tuesday, October 25/2011 at 3:19 pm

But realize in these pictures and ALL mascara ads, the models are wearing either false eyelashes or eyelash extensions. Would love to be able to afford the extensions myself…

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catadelic
Tuesday, October 25/2011 at 5:12 pm

Such a great post, thank you very much! It’s useful to have everything as a list)
Speaking about tubular mascara, I’m a huge fan of the concept, it really changes the life, but I haven’t found “That one and only” yet.
Blinc glues my lashes together, Clinique makes no drama at all. I also tried different Kanebos (you forgot to mention them), they are difficult to be wiped off. And one of them, perhaps, volumizing, is really thick and with artificail fibres, which makes the brush rather messy.
Perhaps, I should try Bobbi Brown next)

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Lindsay
Tuesday, October 25/2011 at 8:47 pm

Did you use the regular Kiss Me mascara or the volumizing one? I’ve heard horrible things about the volumizing formula, but have nothing but love for the regular one.

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catadelic
Wednesday, October 26/2011 at 12:47 pm

Lindsay, I think it was a regular one, purchased here – http://www.feelunique.com/p/blinc-Mascara, in Dark Green. Well it’s quite nice, I mean is very comfortable on the lashes and comes off easily. But it was difficult for me to separate the lashes…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 9:57 pm

Have a look at this post, there are some reviews in the comments here: http://www.temptalia.com/rant-rave-tube-mascara

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Bevfred
Tuesday, October 25/2011 at 8:43 pm

One word………..Armani.
Sorry, can’t read the bottom of the wand.
The regular one, NOT the other.
The sales associates understand that

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Nomadic D
Wednesday, October 26/2011 at 12:37 pm

Hmmm… I like the idea of using the tip of the applicator at the roots. Also intrigued by the coat-with-powder-first idea. And while I love and have even tried the paint-both-sides ofyour lashes technique, I think if you curl them at all that becomes pretty much mission impossible. The one thing on this list that I do all the time is the diagonal brushing. And I’ve tried and enjoyed tubular mascara in the past, but my favorite is and probably always will be Maybelline Full N’ Soft. Seriously. I’ve tried all kinds of high-end and low-end mascaras and I just don’t think anything beats it. I’ve got it in black and brown, waterproof and regular. It’s my go-to!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 9:58 pm

Yes I remember you raving about that product a while back!

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Nomadic D
Friday, October 28/2011 at 2:32 am

Ok, so I repeat myself… at least I’m consistent!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

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lolly
Wednesday, October 26/2011 at 11:11 pm

Ugh, is there any make up product I like more than mascara? I think not. My favourite is definitely CoverGirl LashBlast (the fat orange tube) in Blackest Black and HAS to be waterproof. My long straight Asian lashes will not stay curled for anything less than a combo of that and an eyelash curler. I also love the price and only stock up when it’s on sale, haha! Some people think it dries too stiff but my eyelashes stay curled all day and all night if I want them to (I’ve gone to bed and woken up with curled lashes. I know, I know, it rarely happens I swear..). I read somewhere that you can just apply it halfway up your lashes to “seal” the curl and use a softer mascara on the tips so you don’t get the spiky effect, so that’s an interesting idea.

I don’t know if you’ve done an eyelash curler review but you definitely need to Michelle!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 10:04 pm

Ooh I like that tip! I will have to try because now that I’m using Latisse I don’t like the tips of my lashes to be too thick – it’s too fake-looking unless it’s evening and I’m piling on tons of eyeshadow. (And that rarely happens.)

For eyelash curlers I always go back to the classic Shu… although Nars also has a good one that I am using right now, it’s pretty much the same. Urban Decay just came out with this: http://www.urbandecay.com/the-revolution/303,default,pd.html However, I can’t for the life of me get the hang of it. The reviews seem mixed. And I’m not sure I trust the cheapie curlers eg from Revlon.
You should check this thread here, they’ve reviewed a lot of them: http://www.essentialdayspa.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=16275

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jody
Tuesday, October 9/2012 at 12:29 am

Amen! I am half-Chinese, and although the hair on my head has lots of body and curl, my eyelashes are miserably straight (thanks, Dad!). My go-to mascara has been CG Lash Blast Volume in the orange tube for quite a few years. I stray, try new mascaras, and ALWAYS come back. I do think MAC’s Zoom Fast Lash is pretty comparable, but why pay more money? I love that I can get it absolutely anywhere, and it performs well in many different climates. I always stock up when Target does the 2-pack at Christmas. :)

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Kharina
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 9:52 am

My HG mascara is Hourglass Film Noir – this IS the only mascara that will thicken, lengthen and curl and make the curl stay curled. I have lots of lashes and they are quite long but are poker straight being half Chinese. Lash curlers don’t work as the curl is gone after an hour. One coat of this mascara and the difference is ridiculous. I swear by this and don’t care it’s expensive, it does it all and I love it. I love it so much, I shall write a sonnet, and bake it some cookies.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 10:05 pm

Thanks for the reco!!

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Barbie
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 6:39 pm

I’m so glad I got to share, and help!!:) Thanks for the great post Michelle!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, October 27/2011 at 10:05 pm

Honestly that’s one of my all-time favourite tips so thank YOU! xo

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Marina(Makeup4All)
Monday, October 31/2011 at 6:04 pm

Great post, I will try the tip from Barbie, thanks!
Right now I am using Lancome primer and BADGal mascara by Benefit and this is a killer combo, it makes (even) my lashes look absolutely amazing.
As for tubing mascaras, BECCA makes a great one, one of my faves!

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QuiteLight
Thursday, January 5/2012 at 2:57 pm

I inadvertantly do the powdered lashes trick, since my rich winter moisturizer layers leave my lids too greasy for shadow without a good powdering. This works fine for the shadow. (My tres dry skin needs the creams, so not ditching those.) I guess the powder thickens the lashes a bit, I am usually rushing by this point to catch the bus to work, so I can’t say I’ve really thought about it.

However, I do notice that since I’ve been using more powder, the mascara-blackened powder does snow down a little on my lower lids over the course of day. It dusts off, rather than smears, so not a big issue if I check it when I use the facilities. Any ideas on how to stop this?

I switched to Aveda Mosscara a few years ago when I started the natural kick, & immediately my eyes stopped itching (didn’t notice until it stopped!), & my lashes grew longer. I think I must have been rubbing the itchy lashes out unconciously! It’s worth a try if you have itchy eyes.

I have recently replaced Aveda in my makeup heart with Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara, originally for price reasons, but now I’m hooked! Totally natural, very gentle, & stays on pretty damn well, considering all my natural oils etc.! A lot of natural/mineral mascaras, um, suck, but this is excellent. The texture going on is a little different, it doesn’t coat the lashes as easily, but with a little practice, it’s nice & light & feathery. I use black (a fairly soft black), but I think they have brown too.

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Yuliana
Tuesday, October 30/2012 at 11:05 am

Newest follower. :)

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