Mascara Tricks to Make it Stay Put

In the last post, I chatted with celebrity makeup artist Sana Young about how to have thicker, fuller, more youthful lashes.  This time, we’re talking Mascara.

What was once a simple flick of a wand has become a challenging task, trying to see well enough to put it on ( Hah!) and then trying to keep it from ending up in our wrinkles. Here are some great tips on everything you’ve always wanted to know about applying Mascara and keeping it on for the 40, 50, and 60-something crowd.

how to apply mascara Deborah Boland


Q. Sana, Why does my mascara come off?

Mascara usually comes off because of too much oil.

  • Are you using an eye moisturizer that has too much moisture and is breaking down the mascara?
  • Do you wash your face well so it is clean of all-natural oils both morning and night?
  • Are you applying eyeshadow before the mascara? Or a primer on the lids?

All these things can cause oil to build up on your lashes, causing mascara to slide off.

If you are any of these things,  stop immediately. If you are not doing these things and still having problems, I suggest this Mascara:  L’oreal Voluminous Mascara in black. It is excellent and affordable.

If that still doesn’t work, try L’oreal Voluminous Mascara in the waterproof formulation.

If you still have problems, add an extra coat of high-end mascara to seal it in the L’oreal drugstore brand.

Q: What are your Favorite Brands?

My favorite mascaras to seal it in would be:

  • RVB The Makeup- waterproof mascara found in spas and salons only.
  • Estée Lauder Magna Scopic. Always black in all mascaras.

Some women like to use powder on their lashes before mascara, thinking it will help the mascara stick better, but I do not recommend it. Instead, I’d tackle the oil problem and prefer mascara to be directly on the lashes. It is designed to wear well on your lashes.

As for your mascara clumping when you reapply:

The basic rule is not to pump your mascara wand into the container before applying it, as this pushes in dust particles, making it clump and get thicker before its time. When mascara thickens, it risks looking clumpy even with a single application.

Q. What’s the best color of Mascara to buy?

When it comes to color, black is best for everyday use. It easily opens up the eyes and gives your lashes a fuller look. Give your lashes two to three coats until they’re thick enough. Start at the base of your eyes and wiggle the brush-up. It’s sporadic,  but I sometimes recommend brown Mascara if you are fair ( or under 15) and honest. Fair? Equal to ivory, that’s fair.

Q.   What is the correct way to apply Mascara?

Mascara is like the icing on the cake of makeup. It is the finishing touch that opens your eyes, making them look bigger and stand out. Instead of slapping some on, could you pay attention to your technique?

Step 1 ) After curling your first lash, remove the mascara wand from the tube and scrape off any excess mascara so your lashes don’t become clumpy.

Step 2) Apply Mascara from the inner corner (closest to your nose), and work your way out. Add a little extra on the outer edges, trying to brush up and out. (out means out, away from your face)

Step 3) Curl your other eyelash and repeat the mascara technique on that eyelash. If you are confident, you can apply without a curler. This application requires a steady hand to use as close to the lash line as possible. It can be done.

Lashes need to look separated, and they should look long, with no bend! You want a beautiful, gentle curl. The turn occurs when the Mascara is not pulled through. Don’t be lazy; take your time when you apply. Do it right once, and it will last all day.

Q. I’ve read some gals layer on 2-3 different types of Mascara. Is this necessary?

Not at all.  The only time I would ever layer different mascaras, and this happened to me once. I had bought a waterproof mascara someone had told me to get; they said it was the greatest thing ever, and when I used it, I realized it was not, so I stopped using it. Weeks later,r I was going somewhere and needed waterproof mascara; all I had was the not-great waterproof Mascara, so I applied my voluminous first, then used the “other” M as a topcoat — the only time I have ever layered a mascara.

Q. Mascara primers- You haven’t mentioned them. Do they work? Do you need one after 40?

I don’t like them; I don’t feel they have a use; it just makes the application more difficult for the consumer…..another layer? Why not reapply a coat of the same Mascara to avoid clumping and flaking?

Q. Should I apply Mascara to my bottom lashes?

Only apply Mascara on your bottom lashes if you have almond-shaped eyes.  The reason? Mascara on the bottom lashes casts a shadow. The slightest bit of darkness under the eye mixed with Mascara on the bottom lashes will create the look of bags/dark circles. An almond eye can afford to have the look of being pulled down ever so slightly because it’s so lifted in the corners. Also, if you have any darkness underneath your eyes, avoid applying Mascara on your bottom lashes as it will draw more attention.

Q. When applying Mascara, how can I prevent it from slipping into the tiny wrinkles around my eyes?

Whether it’s your cheeks, eyelids, or wrinkles, sometimes our Mascara gets into places it shouldn’t be. To avoid this, it’s best to use something like a business card or tissue paper underneath your bottom lashes as you apply Mascara. Tilting your head slightly forward will also help prevent Mascara from getting into those tiny places.

Q. Any tips for us who can barely see when applying Mascara?

Answer- if your vision doesn’t allow you to get a good view of your lashes, consider using a magnifying mirror; light is optional, depending on the lighting in your application area. I hate to admit it, but I do love the right car mirror on the visor, mixed with daylight, and it has become a great place to apply Mascara!!! When parked, of course, or being driven.

*Do you have a question?  Sana Young is a celebrity makeup artist from Meccage Make-up who will answer your questions. Email her at

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9 thoughts on “Mascara Tricks to Make it Stay Put

  1. I have trouble applying mascara for some reason. I start at the base closest to my lash line, but for some reason, the mascara doesn’t want to “stick” to parts of the lashes. It goes onto the lash line, and then it seems almost to skip part of the lash and then sticks again onto the rest of the lash. No matter what mascara I try, this happens. Any reasons why and what I can do? Thanks!

  2. I am having a terrible time keeping mascara on my bottom lashes. It doesn’t matter what brand it is; even waterproof mascara is a problem. An hour after applying mascara, it is under my eyes, and I look like I ran into a bus. I have also tried using different concealers, as I thought that might be a problem. To begin with, I barely have any bottom lashes; should I have tinting done to extensions? Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Patti, Sana here…My first question would be, what type of eye cream are you using? There could be something breaking down the products and causing them to run.

      Lash extensions also would not stick. Try changing your eye moisturizer. If this continues, lash tinting would be a possibility or permanent liner; this would help offer that dimension and depth under your eyes.

      Do your research and find someone that offers permanent makeup. Check their pictures and make sure it looks natural. Use someone who is a makeup artist; typically, they would be more skilled than someone who whacked up the skill.

      I hope this offers a solution.


      Sana Young

  3. I have long eyelashes and do not use a curler. However, my mascara comes off throughout the day, and when I apply it again, it goes clumpy. I am not able to afford expensive mascara. Any other ways to keep it on?

  4. Probably a silly question, but I don´t know the answer, so here goes. When applying mascara, should it be applied to the underside of the lashes (which is how I do it) or the top side of the lashes?

    1. Sana says: I would always apply to the underside of your lashes, several coats, as close to the lash line as possible. You can use a coat or two to the top of your lashes if you would like. This works better if your lashes are thick and you can’t get enough mascara from the first application to the underside.

  5. I shop at Sephora and recently had to switch mascaras because mine was discontinued. I can’t say I have ever experienced flakey mascara. I used to use waterproof, but it dried out my lashes too much. I am currently using mascara by Dior, but I will say it is a bit of an ordeal to remove. Even with eye makeup remover, I don’t feel it is entirely off :( I did start using conditioner as a primer. This is a first for me. I was advised to do it to protect my lashes and keep them from drying out.
    Further, it does lengthen the lashes!!! I use it on its own, to condition, on days when I am at home and not wearing makeup. I use one application of conditioner, followed by one application of mascara. My lashes look great – I wish I could remove them with ease!

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