There may be affiliate links in this post. If you purchase through these links we may make a small commission at no cost to you. Please see our disclaimer, terms and privacy for more information.

Sharing is caring!

There may be affiliate links in this post. Please see terms and privacy for more information.

Mascara is an essential step in my makeup routine, even if I am going for that no-makeup makeup look. There is a lot of basic information about mascara that many people don’t know, and I’m here to teach you.

Here’s an ultimate guide to mascara with everything you need to know!

What Does Mascara Do?

Mascara is a dark liquid used to coat your eyelashes and make them more noticeable. Using mascara is an easy way to draw attention to your eyes. It can make your eyes appear bigger, while lengthening and giving volume to your eyelashes.

The product itself typically comes in a tube, with a mascara wand attached to the cap. User then applies the dark cream product to their eyelashes with the wand.

Mascara is usually sold in black or brown shades to darken the eyelashes, but can also be found in fun shades such as blue and other vibrant colors.

Mascara Wand Types

The wand applicators of mascara vary greatly, and the differences give many effects to your eyelashes. Here are four popular shapes:

Thick wand: Adds volume to lashes, making them appear fuller. Often accompanies a thicker formula.

Thin wand: Adds length to lashes, making them appear longer.

Curved wand: Often adds volume and length. Shape helps to coat lashes evenly, but it can be tricky to use a curved wand.

Micro wand: Typically made for your lower lashes, which are smaller.

As you can see, there is a large variation in the shape of mascara wands:

Waterproof vs Normal Mascara

Choosing to use waterproof or not waterproof (normal) mascara is a decision that should be based on your particular needs.

Waterproof mascara is great for people with watery eyes who do not want the product to run, or for hot summer days when you might sweat and makeup could transfer.

Additionally, waterproof mascara (and other waterproof makeup!) is great on days you know will be emotional, like your wedding day.

However, waterproof mascara is harder to remove than normal mascara and could damage your eyelashes if not consistently removed properly.

I personally use normal mascara on most days, and throw on waterproof mascara when I’m doing a full glam look or have an event to go to!

Mascara - the ultimate guide to everything you need to know

How to Apply Mascara

Take the cap off of your mascara, and wipe off any excess product left on the wand. You don’t want large globs of mascara on the end of the wand, so I typically wipe it on the inside of the tube as I pull it out.

Do not pump the mascara wand in and out of the tube, especially when the tube is half or more full – this will push air into the tube, which can cause bacteria to get inside and cause your mascara to dry out quickly.

There are two main methods of applying mascara using the wand:

First Method: Take the mascara wand underneath your top eyelashes, at the base of your lashes where they meet your eyelid. Pull the wand away from your face and through your lashes while you wiggle it back and forth, coating both the bottom and sides of your eyelashes with the product. This is the classic method.

Second Method: Put the mascara wand just underneath your top eyelashes, and carefully blink onto the mascara wand. This method might be helpful for people who have a hard time not blinking while they are applying mascara.

You can also apply mascara on their lower eyelashes. The first method of dragging the mascara wand along the lashes is best for applying mascara to the lower lashes.

Pro Tip: If you accidentally get some mascara on your eyelid or under your eye, don’t worry! Also, don’t try to fix it and wipe it away – it will smear everywhere and might ruin your makeup. Instead, let it dry, and then take a clean spoolie brush and scrape the mascara flakes off your skin!

If you are planning on wearing fake lashes, apply mascara before the falsies. The mascara could ruin your lashes if it clumps them together.

Mascara Sanitation Information

While there are some exceptions to this rule, mascara is typically only good for three months after you open the tube. Some mascaras are good for six months after opening; check the packaging for your mascara and look for the expiration guide to be sure! If you continue to use your mascara past expiration, you put yourself at risk for bacterial infections in your eye.

Another sanitary habit you need to follow is making sure you do not share mascara with other people. It may seem like no big deal to hand your mascara to your best friend or mom to use, but it actually can be quite dangerous.

In fact, a lot of eye makeup can cause serious eye infections if you do not follow good sanitation procedures.

Essentially, make sure you replace your mascara as needed and don’t share it with other people, and you should be fine.

If you want to be super sanitary with your mascara, invest in a washable mascara brush and apply mascara with that (and wash it after every use). This is kind of a pain for the everyday makeup user (who may use a whole tube of mascara in three months anyway!) but is a great option if you are a makeup artist and want to use one tube on many clients.

Mascara - the ultimate guide to everything you need to know

Best Mascaras (in Kailey’s opinion)

I’m gonna be real with you here, 100% honest… I can’t usually tell that much of a difference between different mascara formulas (edit: at least, between formulas that cost $5-15. There is a difference between $1-2 mascara and $5 mascara!).

Whether it says it will give me mega volume or the longest lashes in the universe, I feel like they all make my lashes look just about the same.

The point is, don’t stress about what mascara you buy! Even if it isn’t one on this list, it will probably be “okay” at the very worst. 

Even though I feel like there isn’t that much of a difference, I definitely prefer some over others. Here are tried and true mascaras I have loved and repurchased:

Maybelline Great Lash

This is an infamous mascara, and had to be on my list. It’s one of the most affordable mascaras on the market, and there are SO many variations.

I’ve tried brown, black, blue, waterproof, normal, the big wand, a weird curvy wand… they’re all awesome. Is it the BEST type mascara in the world? Absolutely not. But for under $5 (only $3 at some stores!) it’s a cheap option that is available at nearly all drugstores and grocery stores. 

This mascara even comes in a blue and a clear variety (many people use the clear one as brow gel!)

Here are a few of the Great Lash variations for you to check out:

L’Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise

This one is popular among many makeup lovers, and is my favorite waterproof mascara.

Why? Because it IS WATERPROOF for sure. I wore this mascara on my wedding day, and I’ve recommended it to friends and brides for their special events. That’s how confident I am.

Benefit Cosmetics BADgal BANG!

This high end mascara is a bit more pricey, but it is oh so pretty on the lashes.

Some people don’t like plastic-y mascara wants, which this mascara has – but I personally think that it separates my lashes beautifully. It isn’t my most favorite mascara wand shape, but it works very well with this formula!

Super dark color and very lengthening. This is my current mascara, and I love it.

Bonus Notes

  • Curl your eyelashes before applying mascara, if desired
  • Waterproof mascara can help hold the curl of your lashes for longer
  • Wait for your mascara to dry before you look up or down to avoid getting mascara marks on your face or eyelids (or sneeze! haha)
  • There are special mascara “shields” if you have a hard time not getting mascara on your eyelid when applying (or you can look up the spoon trick)
  • Clear mascara exists! It is great for natural days, or for your tween that is dying to get her hands on some makeup.

Mascara - the ultimate guide. Everything you need to know at Beauty, Brains, and Blush

I hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide to mascara!

What is YOUR favorite mascara? Tell me in the comments below!

Sharing is caring!