I‘m one of those people who’d rather go out naked, than go out without my mascara. No, I’m not joking: you know those nightmares people have when they’re out in public, and they suddenly realise they’re not wearing any clothes? In my version, I realise I’m not wearing mascara. (OK, there’s another version in which I’m wearing my dressing gown, which is just as bad. And one where I’m wearing roller skates. This is a post about mascara tips, though, so those dreams aren’t particularly relevant. I don’t even know why I mentioned them, to be honest. Moving on…)
As the not-so-proud owner of translucent eyelashes, I learned the power of mascara at a young age. Over the years, I’ve refined my technique a little, and now I have five little techniques I swear by when I’m putting on my mascara. If you wear makeup regularly, you’ll probably already know these, so you might want to skip this one. (I should probably have said that first, rather than banging on about dressing gowns and roller skates, shouldn’t I?) If not, however, here are five quick mascara tips I swear by…
If you have pale lashes, dye them first
This one isn’t a mascara tip, exactly, but if, like me, your lashes are so pale that you look like you don’t actually have any, before you even start to think about mascara, you should get your eyelashes dyed . Go and have it done now, in fact: don’t even bother to read the rest of this post. A lot of people worry about eyelash dyeing, because putting dye anywhere near your eyes sounds like a recipe for disaster, really, but trust me, once you’ve tried it once, you’ll never look back. I now dye my eyelashes at home (I wrote a tutorial on it here), but if you’d rather not risk it, it’s one of the cheapest salon treatments available, and should only take a few minutes. Try it: your pale lashes will thank you.
Curl your lashes
This is another one that some people baulk at, because eyelash curling seems like the kind of thing that might be painful, and let’s face it: eyelash curlers look more or less like instruments of torture, don’t they? Done correctly, though, it shouldn’t be even remotely painful (And honestly, if I can do it without hurting myself, ANYONE can…), and it will make a huge difference to how your lashes – and your eyes in general look. Not only will your lashes be curly afterwards (Well, d’uh!), they’ll also magically look longer (purely because they’re now pointing up towards your eyebrows, rather than sticking out straight in front of you), and will make your eyes look bigger. It’s like magic, basically.
Important! Always curl your eyelashes BEFORE using mascara, never afterwards. If you try to do it after applying mascara, the lashes can stick to the curler, and get pulled out: ouch!
One thing, though:
Heat your eyelash curler before you use it
Now, this one CAN actually hurt you if you’re not careful, so please follow this particular tip with caution! Curling your lashes will, as I mentioned above, make them look longer, and generally more dramatic, but heating your eyelash curler first will make them look even better, and will make them stay that way for longer, too. There are various heated eyelash curlers on the market: personally I’ve never really rated them, though, so I use a regular metal curler, and just give it a quick blast with my hair-dryer before using it. Obviously you need to exercise caution when you’re doing this, or you WILL burn yourself, so take care, don’t over-heat the curlers (they should be just hot enough for you to still be able to touch them), and make sure you’re able to use the curlers without heat before you try this.
Disclaimer: I’ve heard some people say that heated curlers can damage eyelashes. I’ve been using this technique for years (and I use it every day, too), and have never noticed any damage to my lashes because of it, but if you’re worried, maybe just save this one for special occasions.
Tightline your lashes
Tighlining is a technique I learned a few years ago, which involves using eyeliner to line the inside of your top lid. It sounds a little bit icky, and, indeed, it can take a bit of getting used to, but the difference it makes to the eye is well worth it. This trick will line the lashes in a really subtle way: you won’t look like you’re wearing makeup, but your eyes will be instantly more defined, the lashline will look thicker, and your mascara will look better too. Even if you’re not wearing any other makeup, this is worth trying, to give the eyes a bit of emphasis, and create a more polished look. There’s a tightlining tutorial here.
Use waterproof mascara
I only ever wear waterproof mascara: not because I cry a lot (well, not ALL that much…) or do watersports, but because waterproof mascara helps ‘set’ the curl in my lashes in a way that regular mascara never does. I find that if I use regular mascara, it will basically weigh down the lash, and pull out the curl. Waterproof formulas, on the other hand, hold the curl in place, allowing you to create maximum drama. You all know how much I love maximum drama, right?
Again, I’ve heard some people say waterproof mascara can cause eyelash damage, but, again, that hasn’t ever been the case for me, and I’ve been using it daily for… let’s not even think about how long I’ve been doing that. Yes, it’s harder to remove: it’s called ‘waterproof’ mascara for a reason: you will NOT be able to get this stuff off with just water, and whatever you usually remove your makeup with, so you’ll have to buy a decent eye makeup remover ( I like this one by Botanics). As long as you do that, though, and don’t scrub at your eye when you’re removing your mascara, it shouldn’t cause a problem.
Layer your mascara
This tip won’t be for everyone, and is another one that’s possibly best left for special occasions, rather than used every day, but for maximum eyelash drama (without wearing falsies), I’ll quite often wear more than once mascara at the same time. The reason for this is simply that different mascaras have different purposes and different strengths. Some are great are curling, some give good length, others are best at making your lashes thicker. Rare is the mascara that will do all of these things at once, so if I really want to push the boat out, I’ll wear at once. In the image above, for instance, you can see Lancome’s Hypnose Drama (the waterproof version, naturally: I reviewed it here), which is great at holding curl, and also Too Faced’s ‘Better Than False Lashes‘, which, in my opinion, actually IS better than false lashes – I reviewed it here. I’ll sometimes use Hypnose Drama first, to lock in curl (it’s also pretty good at lengthening, too), and then add some of the Too Faced product over the top, to really amp up the length. You obviously have to be careful to apply fairly thin layers here, or you’ll end up with giant, clumpy, spider-legs attached to your eyes, but done right, it really is the next best thing to wearing false eyelashes.
And there you have it: some easy eye mascara tips that anyone can do – even me…