Unless you’re Bambi, you’ve got to have a few tricks up your sleeve if you want thick, flawless, so-long-they-must-be-fake eyelashes. From melting clumps to cocktailing your favorite formulas, we’ve rounded up 10 expert tips that will make people wonder what’s got you looking so bright-eyed. Take your lash game to the next level with these eye-opening mascara hacks that we doubt even Twiggy knows about.
Wiggle While You Work
A simple swipe is not enough. Makeup artist Ricky Wilson told ELLE that you should always move the mascara brush in a zigzag motion: “Many women only coat the tips of their lashes which is what I like to call ‘instaclump.’ The tips of the lashes will just stick together. To avoid this, wiggle the brush at the base before extending to the ends.” According to Wilson, getting your wiggle on has an added bonus: “Mascara doubles as faux eyeliner if you wiggle the brush at the lash line to give the illusion of a dense black liner.”
Coat Both Sides of Your Lashes
If you always apply mascara in one direction, you’ve been forgetting half of the job, according to The Beauty Department. The site’s hack for super thick lashes is to coat both sides of your lashes by first looking down and coating the backs of your lashes, and then looking up and sweeping the brush upward from below.
Bend the Brush
It may break your heart to bend the wand on your brand new mascara, but this insider trick from makeup artist Chuck Hezekiah will get you an easy to handle vertical brush that’s better at getting those tiny hairs at the corner of your eyes. Just carefully bend the brush until it’s perpendicular to the handle, and bend it back when you’re done.
You’ll be obsessed with this behind-the-scenes look at how makeup artists apply mascara backstage from The Cut. Our takeaway tip is the fan brush method (coating a fan brush with your mascara wand and then using it to paint color onto your lashes) to get that no-makeup makeup look.
Give It a Good Soak
You already know that you should change your mascara every three months to avoid raising your own little eye infection-causing bacteria colony, but you may end up with clumpy mascara even if you stick to this expiration date. Minq says you can fix this by dunking the whole tube into a cup of hot water for a few minutes before you use it — the heat will melt clumps and make your mascara more fluid.
Cocktail Your Mascara
Mascara maven Nina Leykind shared this killer tip with ELLE: “To make the most of your lashes, it takes more than one mascara! Call it mascara wardrobing or cocktailing, but it’s the only way to create a bespoke lash look. I have shortish, straight lashes so I always start with a lengthening mascara on my top and bottom lashes before going in with a curling formula to lift and tease out lashes for extra volume and curl. Believe it or not, one mascara doesn’t do it all—and any makeup artist will tell you that using two or three different mascaras makes all the difference to your look.” (As if you need an excuse to buy yourself another mascara.)
Break the Rules
Usually the rule of thumb is to curl then apply, but actress Natasha Lyonne spilled to Vogue that she achieves her famously full lashes by breaking the rules: “I have a very specific system. People are afraid to re-curl their lashes once the mascara is on, but that’s when you get the good action going. And when you think you’re done applying mascara, do another layer. Just never stop applying mascara. [Laughs] I like to do it the way that Blondie or Chrissie Hynde would have put it on—a little nitty-gritty. I even like it to flake. But, really, it’s all about the eyelash curler.”
We all make mistakes, but don’t just try to rub off those skid marks around your eyes with your finger and risk ruining your mascara job. Instead, dip a cotton swab in water and use it to dab away any leftover black marks without messing up your lashes.
Use a Hot Tool
Turn your eyelash curler into a mini curling iron by holding it under the nozzle of a blow-dryer for a few seconds just before using it on your lashes. (Test it first to make sure you don’t burn your delicate eyelids!) The heat will help seal in the curl, so you can bat your eyes all day.
Reuse Spent Wands
If you really are trading in your mascara every three months like you’re supposed to, you’re probably piling up quite a stash of old wands. But don’t toss them in the mascara graveyard. Instead, the folks at Byrdie suggest that you clean your old wands with your favorite makeup remover and reuse them to separate lashes after applying mascara. Hello, free lash comb!