How To Apply Mascara Like a Pro

One of the easiest ways to draw attention to your eyes and create fun, flirty looks is by adding mascara. Mascara is a key component to making your eyes stand out. Mascara has the ability to not only make your lashes darker; it also adds length and thickness. It doesn’t matter how wonderful your eyeshadow looks, or what great techniques you have used, without great looking lashes no one will notice. Even if you don’t wear a lot of eyeshadow, adding mascara will bring depth to your eyes and open them up. On the other hand, if you don’t know the correct way to apply mascara it will draw attention to all the clumps in your lashes from too much product. Let’s face it, none of us want so much mascara on, it can produce spider lashes or can flake off resulting in raccoon eyes. Don’t despair however, knowing how to utilize mascara is just a matter of practice and some great tips.

Finding the Right One

Choosing the right mascara can definitely be a love-hate relationship. With so many mascaras on the market promising to either lengthen, or volumize our lashes, the options can be confusing. Here are some things to keep in mind when your purchase your mascara.

  • Formula – Should you get lengthening, curling, thickening or Volumizing? With so many to choose from deciding which one is best for you can be intimidating. If you want longer lashes go for a good lengthening mascara, fuller lashes need volume, and some mascaras promise to do both. We like L’Oreal Volumizing mascara; it has a great want to it and is great for thickening the lashes while adding length.
  • Waterproof – Waterproof mascaras are great for people who plan or need to wear it all day. It works wonders if you are going to be in the sun or sweating. Also, it helps to maintain any curl you put into your lashes by an eyelash curler. However, it is harder to remove than conventional mascara so make sure you have a good remover specially formulated for removing waterproof mascara. If you wear contacts or have sensitive eyes it may be best to find mascara that is hypoallergenic to avoid irritants near the eye.
  • Color – This one is pretty easy. Black mascara opens the eyes and gives the lashes a fuller effect. Although you can pick from many different shades, black will give the best outcome for a set of full, thick lashes that everyone will envy. However, if you have very light hair and skin you may find that very black mascara may be to overpowering. Try using a brown/black mascara to not overwhelm your look.

Tips for Applying Mascara

  • Don’t pump the wand in and out of the bottle. This pushes air into the tube which will make the mascara dry out faster causing clumping and flaking. Instead, gently twist the back and forth or in circular motions to pick up the desired amount of product.
  •  If you decide to curl your lashes, begin at the root of the lashes being careful not to get any skin into the eyelash curler. Press the curler together and hold for about 10 seconds and move the curler out to the end of your lashes and repeat. Again, this step is optional but it does make for longer looking lashes and opens the eye.
  •  When you remove the wand from the bottle make sure to scrap off any excess mascara from the wand. This will help you avoid making your lashes clumpy.
  • Whether you start with your top or bottom lashes is completely up to you, although beginning with the bottom lashes will prevent those tiny dots that appear on your eyelids when you look down to apply mascara to your bottom lashes. For the top lashes, look straight forward, take the wand and place it at the base of your lashes. Using a back-and-forth motion while moving the wand up your lashes and sweep upward, this will help give your lashes a curled effect. Keep repeating this until you get your lashes as thick as you want, usually 2-3 coats. When it comes to the bottom lashes, tilt your head forward slightly to keep from getting mascara onto your cheek. Use the same side to side motions until you get a good coat of mascara on your lower lashes. If you have problems with mascara transferring from your lashes onto your eyelids or cheeks, use a business card, credit card or small piece of paper and hold over the area while applying your mascara.

To make your eyelashes look even thicker a trick is to apply a coat of black eyeliner to the upper waterline of your eyes. To do this, pull up your lashes just a bit, and run the black eyeliner on the top of the inner waterline. To give it more staying power, dip your eyeliner pencil in black waterproof gel eyeliner and line the waterline. Even though this is a subtle difference, the black base it creates automatically gives the appearance of thicker, fuller lashes.

Fuller, thicker lashes are just a few brush strokes away! We hope these tricks and tips help you in getting the most from your lashes. For more information on thickening mascaras check out our article on “Top 5: Best Thickening Mascaras”

What I Use

Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black
Price:  $7
Where to Buy:
AmazonSephoraeBayThis one has been my go to mascara for years now!  Is inexpensive, available at most stores, and thickens the lashes really well!  The carbon black formula is my favorite as it’s super dark which makes my lashes really stand out.  The brush on this one is average size- not so large to where those with shorter lashes would have a hard time.
Profile photo of Marlena

CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator


Comments are now closed on this article.

Hey mugs(: i hope you are feeling better marlena! i’ve been doing the upper waterline trick for awhile now, it definitely takes some getting used to, but it’s such a natural, pretty affect. you look beautiful, as always, love ya!

Hi, I wondered if you ever tried any of the other Loreal mascaras, it seems as though they never disappoint! I was amazed by one that appears to be discontinued, but I think it was called Beauty Tubes. So you put on one coat of this white-ish stuff and then the mascara over it. simple enough, but when you go to remove it, all you do is hold a warm damp towel to your eyes and the entire application would slip off and onto the towel. It was weird but cool and usefull because removing mascara is my least favorite thing about makeup! I do love the new eye illuminating mascara that loreal makes, have you tried it?

I wondered if you think everyone should wear black mascara and the liner on the top waterline. I am a newbie to your site, and just love it!
Best wishes with your recovery!

I find that after a few hours my lashes are no longer curled, but have fallen and are now straight…I use an eyelash curler, but they still fall flat. Do you have any suggestion? Thanks so much again!!!!! You are so beautiful!!!!!

Hi Danielle, I have the same problem if i do NOT use waterproof mascara. I only use L’oreal Voluminous (waterproof) for the last 12yrs+… I love it and would not change it for anything. I curl my eyelashes with the shu uemura eyelash curler then apply my mascara (waterproof of couse) and my lashes stay curled all day and night. hope this helps =)

I have also found that waterproof is the only mascara that wont weigh my lashes down. It makes removal a little more time consuming but worth it when your getting the right look all day.

I know this may sound like a crazy idea, but have you ever tried heating your eyelash curler with a quick blast of the blowdryer and THEN curling your lashes? It’s kind of like having a heated eyelash curler, just a different version of it. ;) Be careful, though; it’s easy to overheat the curler and burn the top of your eyelid! I hope this helps! :)

You had recommended a loooooong time ago the Bourgeois clubbing mascara in black. I still looove this one. The L’oreal Voluminous is awesome too, but for some reason the other one just seems to provide a thicker effect.

Thanks Marlena!
I have a problem with lining my water line though: Every time I do it, my eyeliner smudges, so I’ve just stopped wearing make up completely to save time and the embarassment of smudged make up.

I use Lise Watier waterproof eyeliner as well as Cover Girl’s Lashblast waterproof mascara. Please help!

good luck on your operations. there are a whole bunch of people that will have you in there thoughts

nerf doch nicht rum, die marlena weiss das wir das nicht schauen können, das muss du nicht immer wieder schreiben. Wenn sie das kann dann wird sie das schon machen.

@ Manuella mit 2 LL :Hey, was spielst Du Dich hier so auf?

Woher soll Marlena wissen, dass ihre Clips in gool ol´Germany nicht laufen, wenn es keiner sagt? Sie hat ja kein deutsches youtube. Übrigens laufen manche Clips problemlos, andere eben nicht, was mit der augewählten Musik zusammen hängt.

Und ja, wir alle wissen, daß sie operiert wurde und möglicherweise zur Zeit flach liegt und nícht gleich alles auf Viddler packen kann. Aber die Seite wird ja nicht nur von Marlena verwaltet….und ja, nerv schreibt man mit V………Jetzt hörst Du es nochmal, Kind.. PS: mit der Rechtschreibung hast Du es definitiv nicht, Häschen

As usual, thanks for your tips :D

My go-to mascara is MAC’s X in black and brown
( just recently tried MAC’s new mascara ‘false lashes’, it’s a little to natural for me )

I have tried Loreal’s Voluminous Mascara, and I agree it does work very well

PS:: You actually taught me to wear (and how-to) liner on the upper waterline ‘tight roping’. It was an amazing tip. Tricky at first, but now I can do it without even thinking :D

It really is a great trick, and makes eyes really pop, and lashes thicker which I <3

Thanks aginan Marlena, Hope your feeling well and are happy with your results!

Thank you soooo much for this video I often had problems with my mascara clumping up on my lashes! Question: iam fairly new to wearing make up I mainly just wear eyeshadow eye liner mascara sometimes and colored lip gloss my question to you is, is this okay? or should I wear the blush,foundation etc? Thank you for your help!

Thank you soooo much for this video I often had problems with my mascara clumping up on my lashes! Question: iam fairly new to wearing make up I mainly just wear eyeshadow eye liner mascara sometimes and colored lip gloss my question to you is, is this okay? or should I wear the blush,founda
tion etc? Thank you for your help!

I am having a hard time finding a match for foundation .. It’s either to dark or to light where u can see st my jaw line… We cAnt open and test at store to try the different shades like revlon or maybelline what do u recommend

Hello everyone!
My name is Missy and I’m just starting out with makeup. I love Marlena and all of her videos, but can someone give me advice on a great mascara from a company that doesn’t test on animals?

Short, sweet, and to the point! I love it! Great tutorial on a seemingly simple concept that many women are struggling to master! :)

I am too on my left eye. lol It takes me seconds to do my right eye and a minute or more to do my right. Silly how our bodys work.

Thanks for the tips…but how about removing the eye make-up especially the eyeliner in waterline. No matter how many times I wash nor swipe my eye with a q-tip, the mess is still there. Any advice? Please help…

Hey Marlena just a quick question. I’m a first time false eyelash user what tips do you in applying and what are your favorite brands. Also can you reuse them?

Hi Marlena:)
I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking AND praying for you everyday….I hope you are feeling at least a little better. I thought that the video you did the evening before your surgery was very moving as well as the video you did after surgery and I want you to know that you have my support wholeheartedly (even though you have no idea who I am…LOL) Your a very brave woman to go through this and admit it openly but even more so, you are a very compassionate and giving woman, you have given us so many tips, tutorials, etc and we LOVE YOU so much for it !! Words cannot express enough the graditude I have for you. I just wanted you to know that you are both beautiful INSIDE and OUT!!!! Please never forget this:)

I’ve been applying mascara for years. Lately, I always seem to get it on my lids. It was great to have this little refresher course. Thanks!!

Post-its to help with getting it on my eye lid and under my eye when applying mascara! Yeesh…seems so simple yet of course I haven’t been doing it. I will certainly be doing it now. Gosh are post-its good for everything?!

Definitely a video every girl should watch before putting on mascara for the first time!!
I do have a comment on the Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara. I really did not like it. By the end of the day, I looked like i had two black eyes. I’ve never had any other mascara do that to me. My experience is that it flakes A LOT and is very smudgey. I followed all Marlena’s steps that I’ve seen her do before and still had the black eyes. I just wanted to share that!

I have the most difficult time with mascara ending up on my lower lid after a couple of hours. I’ve tried all kind of brands and I don’t apply it to my lower lashes. Yet after a few hours it’s all over my bottom lid. Help!

Hey. I’ve just been watching the video. Can I ask if this is ok, I put mascara on and then curl it but my lashes stick to the curler and it really hurts or shall I do it how you did it. Because I’ve got 13 mascaras and ive got 4 best ones and the rest comes from magazines. And I dont really know what I should do.

I have loreal carbon mascara. love it! One dilemma. Towards the end of the day it runs/smears. Is there a way to prevent it from happening?

Oh my gosh… Thank you so much for this post! I could never find a mascara that I really liked until I bought the Loreal Voluminous mascara. I love it! Also, thanks for showing the techniques to best apply it. My mascara looks so much better. One quick question though… I’ve seen in some of your other video tutorials that you recommend false eyelashes. I really like the “cat eye” look when the outer lashes are longer than the inner ones. Do you know of some good one that can be worn everyday and look more natural? Thanks again!

i know this has nothin to do with mascara, but i want to know which foundation you would recommand. maybelline fit me, or the maybelline dream liquid mousse, or maybelline dream matte mousse. thank you soo much!

Hi marlene (:

it’s either me, or my waterline is super watery/oily, cuz whenever i do draw a line on it, it ALWAYS, like, ALWAYS get smudged on the eyebag part, is that normal? &i use a pencil eyeliner…

This happens with me also…..I thought it was just me and was too embarrassed to say anything. Thank u for letting me know it wasnt just me.

marlena…..I absolutely love to watch your videos and read your articles…just one question… do you get the mascara and the eyeliner to not run and get under the eyes throughout the day….I use the L’Oréal carbon black and the urban decay 24/7 and it still runs. Pls help.

Hi Marlene,
Mascara would hav to b my #1 fav makeup product… my fav mascara from the drugstore is lash accelerator from rimmel … out of the expensive brands i would say boxum from bare minerals would b my fav… If uv tried these wats ur opinion?