November 29, 2022

woman applying mascara to right eye

You’ve likely had smudged mascara on more than one occasion, but it never gets less annoying. Whether you’re caught in the rain or find yourself randomly tearing up (trust, we’ve all been there), the last thing on your mind should be how your makeup is holding up. While several mascaras tout promises of smudge-free application or wear, how it performs during the day has more to do with how you apply it.

Ahead, we tapped NYC-based makeup artist Shaina Ehrlich for the best ways to keep your mascara from smudging. Read on to learn more.

 

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Curl Your Lashes

What most people don’t realize the prep work that you do prior to applying your mascara makes a huge difference. “To start, you’re going to want to really curl your lashes with a quality eyelash curler,” says Elrich, who explains that curling ensures that you give your lashes a lift, helping prevent smudges.

Our lash curler of choice: The Tweezerman ProMaster Eyelash Curler ($23) has a wide opening and is specifically designed for almond-shaped and deep-set eyes.

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Utilize Eyelash Primer

After your eyelashes have been curled, apply a primer. “Be sure and let the primer dry first before moving on to your mascara application,” says Ehrlich. Primer adds curl and definition to the eyelashes, and helps mascara formulas adhere to lashes more cleanly. In short, you’ll see less smudging.

When it comes to application, apply one coat to your top and bottom lashes if you plan on wearing mascara on both. If you’re just going to apply mascara to your top lashes, one coat of primer will get the job done.

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Apply and Lock In Your Mascara

It’s time for the actual mascara application. If you find that your go-to formula is prone to smudging, Ehrlich suggests applying “one coat of waterproof or water-resistant mascara on top of your [favorite mascara] to lock it in.”

Ehrlich adds that if you have watery eyes or notice that your mascara smudges every time you apply mascara on the lower lashes, try applying mascara to the top lashes only. Less product means less smudging.

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Keep Your Hands Off Your Face

Touching your face is easy, and can lead to major eye makeup messes. The next time you’re tempted to rub your eyes, use a tissue to lightly blot instead, you’ll create a new habit of keeping your fingers off your face in no time.

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Pay Attention to Skincare

If mascara continues to smudge, pay attention to the skincare you’re using. Make sure that if you apply an eye cream, it’s fully absorbed and dry before moving onto your makeup.

Skincare that contains oil or feels extra slippery can aid in causing your mascara and eye makeup to smudge and run, so give yourself plenty of prep time before moving on to your makeup application. Carve a half hour to an hour in between skincare and makeup to let your products absorb and not interfere any further. If your skin tends to become oily throughout the day, you can also use oil-blotting papers to minimize shine and smudging.

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Use Transluscent Powder

Dusting translucent powder under your eyes will help keep the skin matte and free from oil, which can be a major contributor to smudging. Before applying mascara, take a small brush and lightly apply translucent powder or a blurring type powder to the eyes. It still gives a very natural appearance and doesn’t look too heavy.