15 Things You Need To Do To Prevent Clumpy Mascara

If I were to make a list of real, dangerous things that affect me personally, I would eventually have to concede that this list is pretty short. I don’t like our president, and I am scared that climate change is literally going to kill everyone on this planet sooner rather than later, but, on the whole, my life is one that is good and easy and filled with enough privilege so that, while complaining is one of my top five favorite activities, I don’t actually have all that much material on a serious level to actively complain about.

But my list of superficial complaints? That one is long. I would like to not get that one zit that shows up on the exact same spot on my chin every time I am on my period. I would like to look better in that one Lululemon top that I bought because it was on sale, but am now scared of because it is far too fancy to actually wear to the gym (which is why it was on sale. Obviously). And, finally, I just wish that my mascara would stop clumping so much.

I don’t think I am alone on that front. I have seen a lot of clumpy, mascara-caked lashes in my time on this good earth (no offense), and, based on what I have seen, none of it really appears to be entirely intentional. Mascara just clumps, sometimes, and it often seems as though there isn’t really anything you do about it. But! As with most things, there are some things you can do about it–fifteen things, to be exact. So, check out these easy ways to prevent prevent clumpy mascara:

1. Stop pumping your wand when you apply product:



This common mascara practice–you know, moving the applicator up and down a couple times before you take it out of the container–is actually a big mistake. This is because it can overload your brush with product, which, in turn, makes your chances of clumping go way up.


2. But do shake it:



Pumping is bad, but shaking is good–instead of drying the mascara out, it loosesns up the product so it sticks more evenly to the brush, and, subsequently, your lashes.


3. Or “roll” it:



If shaking mascara seems too violent to you, just roll the tube gently between your hands before you apply it. This warms up the product and makes it less likely for it to clump on you.


4. Wipe off the end of the brush before you apply:



You’re probably pulling out way more mascara than you need, especially if it’s a new bottle. This can lead to clumping and smudging throughout the day. It’s a simple fix, though–just use a tissue or paper towel to wipe off the little bit of mascara at the end of the wand that you see when you pull it out before you put it on.


5. Put eyedrops in the bottle:



Mascara that’s in the process of drying out is one of the top causes of clumpy lashes. If you’re noticing that your mascara bottle seems a little dry, but you’re not ready to throw it out quite yet, put 4-5 drops of your favorite eyedrops or contact solution in there. This lubricates the product without watering it down.


6. Or aloe vera:



If you’re more into a natural approach, put a pea-sized drop of aloe vera into your mascara bottle. Shake it around to let it mix, then apply as you would normally.


7. Try and stick to only one coat:



Unless you’re going for a specific, spidery-clumpy lash lewk (some people do, and that’s cool!) try to minimize the amount of coats you put on your lashes. Most mascaras were only meant to have two layers, so, you do more than this, it could dry out between coats and lead to that clumpy, spidery look we are all familiar with on some level. If you’re not into that look, don’t apply more than a couple layers.


8. Paint the top of your lashes, too:



If you want thick, luscious lashes that don’t have clumps, you’re going to need to apply your mascara to more than just the underside of the lash. This ensures that the product will build on your actual lashes–not just on top of dried-up mascara–and give you a more natural, not clumpy look. Make sure you stick to two coats on each side.


9. Soak the bottle in hot water:



Wanna feel extra certain that your mascara’s not going to clump? Close the lid (very tightly) and put it in a cup or mug of warm water, with the lid side up. Let it soak for about five minutes, then pull it out–once you do, the liquid will be thinner and easier to apply.


10. Don’t forget your roots:



Instead of just doing an upwards swipe wherever your mascara wand happens to hit–which will probably be around mid-shaft on the lash–make sure you put the wand at the base of the lashes. Then, to really get at the root, wiggle a little bit at the base. This will fully coat them and help you stay clump-free.


11. Try running the wand under hot water:



If your mascara brush has a lot of product built up on it, and seems beyond repair, take it out of the bottle and run it under hot water. Once the water runs clear, lay the brush on a towel and let it dry out. Once it’s dry, it should apply mascara much more easily


12. Get your own disposable wands:



Is your brush really not working? You could buy a new thing of mascara. Or, you can stock up on disposable mascara wands (either from here or from the makeup-sampling station at Sephora, shhh, I won’t tell), which will give your mascara a clean, easy application every time you put it on.


13. Condition your lashes:



Is this a little extra? Of course. You can skip it if you don’t feel like doing this. But a lot of people (on Pinterest, so, grain of salt) swear by using a lash  conditioner. This, supposedly, helps lashes naturally get more lush and works as a primer to help mascara go on more smoothly.


14. Or buy a lash serum/primer:



If you’re not the DIY type, you can look into buying a lash serum. I used this Dior one for a while and found that it really did work well to make my lashes look good without mascara, as well as separating my lashes to avoid clumping when I put on mascara. (Again–this is extra. Don’t feel like you need to condition your lashes. You don’t.)


15. Throw out your mascara after three months:


Sorry. But your mascara only has a shelf life of about three months–once that time passes, the mascara dries out, which means that clumping (and potential eye infections) are imminent. If you know you’re not going to get through an entire thing of mascara in three months, and you can’t bear to part with anything before it’s totally gone, try to only buy mini bottles–most major mascara brands make smaller-sized versions of their more popular mascaras (I like the It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara and Benefit Roller Lash minis),and you’ll be more likely to be through with it by the time three months has passed.


Do you have issues with clumpy mascara? Do you have any tips for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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