How to Apply Mascara (The Right Way)

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Most beauty enthusiasts have gone through the rounds with lash extensions and dabbled with lash lifts, but there's always one tried and true: Mascara. No matter the look you're going for, mascara is always that perfect finishing touch that polishes your appearance. When applied correctly, mascara is a virtually damage-free way to darken, lengthen, and enhance lashes on the cheap. But if you're not using this makeup-artist approved method, you're probably not maximizing your mascara wand. Ahead, watch celebrity makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran share a step-by-step guide to applying mascara (the right way).

Meet the Expert

Jaleesa Jaikaran is a celebrity makeup artist and the host of The Life of a Makeup Artist podcast.

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Click Play to Watch MUA Jaleesa Jaikaran's Mascara Tutorial

Step One: Choose Your Formula

Everyone's mascara preference is different, and no one is right or wrong. But you can follow this general rule of thumb: If you lack length, look for a lengthening mascara with a spikier, rubberized wand (like Glossier Lash Slick, $16). And if your lashes are sparse, look for a volumizing formula with a fluffier applicator (like Maybelline Volum' Express Colossal Mascara, $8). To create a natural look, Jaikaran is using the below option from Lancôme.

Lancome
Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara $25
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Step Two: Wipe Off the Excess

There's nothing more satisfying than the "pop" of a new mascara wand coming out of the tube. No matter which formula you choose, just be sure to wipe the excess off by scraping the wand against the lip of the mascara wand. This will prevent the formula from clumping once you apply.

Step Three: Apply One Swipe on Top, and One Swipe on Bottom

Jaikaran likes to start by coating the lashes before moving into the more detailed work. To start the application process, get your mascara wand as close to the root of your lashes as you can, then pull upward. Repeat this step on top of your lashes, moving the wand from your upper lash line through the tip of your lashes.

Step Four: Use the "Out-Up-In" Method

To create more detailed, separated lashes that fan out, Jaikaran recommends the out-up-in method. Starting at the outer corner of your eye, apply mascara at an angle so that you are pulling the lashes in that area upward and outward. Then, moving to the center of your eye, pull the lashes that sit above your iris directly upward with the mascara wand. Finally, with the lashes closest to your inner eyes, apply mascara in an upward and inward direction. This helps widen the appearance of the eyes by fanning the lashes. When you're working on the shorter, more sparse lashes on your inner eyes, hold the mascara wand vertically and use the top tip for more precise application.

Apply mascara before your complexion makeup so you can easily remove and mascara that gets on your eyelids or under eyes. To prevent this altogether, Jaikaran recommends holding a business card on your lash line to block the wand from hitting your lids or brows.

Step Five: Finish the Look by Applying Mascara to Your Bottom Lashes

Just like you held the wand vertically and used the very tip of the applicator to apply mascara to those shorter lashes on your inner eyes, Jaikaran recommends the same technique when applying mascara to your bottom lashes. For stability, hold the wand with your dominant hand, supporting this hand by holding your wrist with your non-dominant hand.

Step Six: Finishing Touches

Now that you have a natural mascara look, you may choose to add some finishing touches to further enhance the look of your lashes. Jaikaran recommends applying a thin layer of liner to your upper lash line and curling your lashes for maximum lash payoff.

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