We've always had big love for mascara, but in these past few months our lash lengtheners have emerged as our makeup MVPs. That tends to happen when only the top half of your face is visible to the general public. Mascara is an easy way to make your eyes more expressive without having to layer on a ton of other products.
Fortunately for us, there's been no shortage of new launches these past few months to keep our lashes looking lush, with brands like Kosas and Roén debuting new mascaras that have become instant favorites of ours, plus classics like Westman Atelier's Eye Love You Mascara, which is and will always be one of our best of all time picks.
We thought now was a fantastic moment for a little refresher course on how to get the most out of your mascara, so we had our in-house makeup pro, that one and only Samson Smith, spill his favorite tips and tricks. Keep reading to learn how to find the best mascara for you, how to avoid the dreaded raccoon eye, and some weird-but-genius ways to make lashes look thicker.
You can tell a lot about a mascara just by looking at its brush. According to Samson, the shorter the bristle and denser the brush, the more lash lengthening of an effect it will give. "The closer to the wand the bristles are, the more mascara it will put on the lash — the Westman Atelier Eye Love You is a great example of this because it's really fluffy and the bristle placement doesn't allow the product to get caky." Conversely, longer bristles, like the ones on Roén's Cake Mascara, really coats each lash and thickens them up, so it's great for that fuller effect. If you like an all-of-the-above scenario, check out Kosas' The Big Clean Volumizing + Lash Care Mascara — it lengthens, defines, curls, volumizes, and nourishes lashes with a strengthening plant botanical formula.
When it's time for the actual application, Samson says it pays to put a little more effort into it than the usual swipe-and-run you might be used to. He suggests placing the mascara wand at the base of your lashline and then wiggle your brush upwards through your lashes in a 'Z' motion. This will add a good deal of lift and separation to cut down on clumps and ensure you are coating every last bit of lash. He also likes to take the brush and tap the very tip of the lashes to add a little extra oomph.
Powder Makes Perfect
One accessory every mascara lover should have, says Samson, is translucent powder. This makeup basic is actually the perfect co-star for your mascara to make application easier and to ensure it stays on your lashes and doesn't give you the dreaded raccoon eye. "Before they apply their mascara, I tell my clients to first set their undereyes with powder," he explains. "I set a really heavy layer of translucent powder under the eye but I don't wipe it away. Then I just go HAM with the mascara and after I'm done applying, I sweep away that excess powder." The mascara will have smudged onto the powder, not your skin, making it super easy to remove. No smudging, no problem.
Another trick is to use the powder on the lashes themselves. "I will brush powder on my lashes before I apply mascara to help remove any excess oil that is sitting on the lash — this helps stop it from running or smearing." Added bonus: It also makes lashes thicker so that when you layer your mascara over top, you only need one coat to get that full, voluptuous fringe effect.
Oil Not Wipes
When it comes time to remove your mascara, resist the urge to grab a makeup wipe and go to town. "I see people take a wipe and just dig into their eye socket trying to get the mascara off and that is so bad for the lashes," says Samson. Instead, he says to use an oil cleanser, like Haoma's Cleansing Balm, what he calls "the number one cleanser for taking mascara off." His favorite way to use it is to dip a clean spoolie brush into the jar, roll it over the back of your hand to clean off the excess, then brush it onto the lashes. (Remember: Don't get too close to the lashline as you don't want to get it in your eyes.) "The cleanser will break down the mascara so that when you do go to remove it, you don't need to wipe or pull." Your lashes are delicate, after all, and too much tugging will lead to breakage and fall out, not to mention it's not great for your delicate undereye skin.
Let your eyes do the talking this fall — shop the collection of good-for-you clean mascaras at Shen!