With lips largely out of the makeup equation thanks to face masks, eyes have taken center stage — and how you frame them matters. That’s why we’re already declaring 2021 the Year of the Eyelash. While you likely have a basic mascara routine down by now (check out our favorite formulas), it’s time to take a look at your technique with help from a few of the top makeup artists in the business. Read on for the best practices, prep moves, wand positions, and mind-blowing tricks that will get the very most of your lashes.
1. Use a Fresh Tube
“When it comes to mascara, you don’t have to splurge to get amazing quality,” says celebrity makeup artist Juliette Perreux. “But you do want to toss your mascara every few months!” The first reason is pretty serious: “It may be harboring bacteria,” she insists. The second is about performance: Once a tube is opened, the formula begins to dry out, making for thicker, clumpier mascara. The rule, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), is to reach for a new package every three months.
2. Do the Wiggle
The usual swipe-on-and-go move will work in a pinch. But for truly amazing lashes, Gucci Westman, the makeup artist behind the clean beauty brand Westman Atelier, has a little move that gets mascara all the way around each strand. “I like to start at the root of the lash and swivel my way up, moving the brush back and forth horizontally,” she says. “I generally start in the middle and then work my way outwards.”
3. Layer Up
To get “a bold, dramatic look,” Sir John, Beyonce’s go-to guy and U.S. creative director for L’Oréal Paris, layers multiple formulas. “Apply a lengthening mascara, followed by a volumizing mascara,” he says. His how-to: “Wiggle the lengthening mascara into the roots of the top of your lashes like a toothbrush and then pull through. Then focus the volumizing mascara on just the outer lashes for a mesmeric effect.” His go-to in the second category: L’Oréal Air Volume Mega Mascara.
4. Condition First
Pro Jamie Greenberg (who just launched her own Jamie Makeup collection) reminds her clients that eyelashes are hair. To stay healthy, they need to be conditioned just like the strands on your head. “Even if you have good lashes, conditioning them will make them even better,” she insists. And that will intensify any mascara look. Her pick: Sarah Maxwell Beauty Daily Lash Ritual (a three-step set).
5. Go Vertical
After applying a coat to lashes as usual, Urban Decay global makeup artist Steve Kassajikian changes his grip. “Flip the wand and use the tip of it to help separate lashes, grab corner lashes, and to coat to the roots,” he says. This will let you get into the tight little spaces and make sure the tips of every hair is covered in the formula.
6. Curl the Right Way
To get a dramatic-yet-natural bend to your lashes, use this trick from Maybelline global makeup artist Erin Parsons: “Curl from the tip to the base. Start at the tip of the lashes and do a light squeeze, then the middle of the lash, and then squeeze the base intensely.” She explains this move “gives it more of a curl than a crimp.” Her final step? Top it with Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara.
7. Wipe Away Clumps
Clean spoolies are Emmy-winning makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor’s secret to pristinely applied mascara. “I sandwich the lashes between the two brushes and wiggle them against each other, then brush away the excess product.” Try: Trim Disposable Eyelash Spoolie Wands.
8. Go Waterproof for Hold
“If you have straight lashes that don’t hold a curl well, waterproof mascara will help with that,” says Perreux. The waxes in waterproof formulas keep them from smudging and hold shape. “I know waterproof can be scary, but as long as you have a great, easy makeup remover that doesn’t irritate your eyes, it’s very simple to remove at the end of the day.” Her pick: Glossier Milky Oil.
9. Show Lower Lashes Some Love
When it comes to the bottom lashes, Westman says it’s all about using just the right amount of product. This means hitting the top row first and then “using what's still on the wand from doing the top lashes.” That’s right — there's no need to re-dip the wand. “You just slightly move the brush vertically across your bottom lashes, starting in the middle and working your way to the outer corners,” she adds.
10. Attack Flakes
One thing that could be leading to flakes and smudges under your eyes? Residue. “Be sure that you remove your mascara entirely every night, so that dry mascara isn't sitting on your lashes the next morning,” Sotomayor insists. A really good makeup remover will do the trick. “For a clean rinsing effect, I recommend the After Show Treatment Cleanser from Jordan Samuel Skin,” he says. For ultra-longwear mascaras, he swears by Magic Beauty Bianca Remover.
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.
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