The 10 Commandments of Mascara

CN Digital StudioCN Digital StudioallureallureReported By Jolene Edgar, Brooke Le Poer Trench, Heather Muir, and Elizabeth Siegel, Allure magazine

Lashes are having a moment. A big, thick, lush, sometimes even spidery moment. Here's how to maximize your fringe.

1. GET SPECIFIC
There are do-all mascaras that promise thick, defined, mile-long lashes with the swipe of a wand-but experts say that these aren't the way to go. A single tube can pack only so many effective ingredients, and formulas usually have to sacrifice one benefit for another. "If you want a specific effect, look for a specialized type," says makeup artist Troy Surratt. The resins and waxes in a curling mascara lift and bend stick-straight lashes, while a lengthening formula's nylon fibers act as extensions on short ones. And the brush matters, too: If it's big and bushy, that's how your lashes will look. A brush with spiky plastic bristles separates.

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2. BLACK WORKS FOR EVERYONE
Everyone can pull off black-even blondes. "The whole point of mascara is to enhance the shape of the eye and define the lashes, and it should be visible, or you won't get that effect," says makeup artist Susan Giordano. But that's not to say you can't experiment with colors. A swipe of purple is gorgeous on green, blue, and hazel eyes, while blue and green mascaras offer a gorgeous contrast against brown.

3. SAVE WATERPROOF FOR WHEN YOU REALLY NEED IT
Waterproof formulas are too tough to remove for everyday use; you'll have to rub hard to loosen the color, so there's a chance your lashes will break. Save it for your best friend's wedding-and even then, try something that's water-resistant, like Kevyn Aucoin The Mascara Volume, Surratt suggests.

4. GET THE PERFECT CURL
Don't be intimidated by its resemblance to a medieval torture device-an eyelash curler can make eyes appear wider and sexier in seconds. "The key is to use it before applying mascara, because the mascara can stick to the curler, causing some lashes to be pulled out," Giordano says. Look into a mirror and lift your chin. Squeeze the curler (we love Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler and Tweezerman ProCurl Curler) at the roots and hold for three to five seconds, then pulse halfway down the lashes three times-one second per pulse.

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5. ADD FULLNESS AND DRAMA...
After curling, apply lengthening mascara (try CoverGirl LashBlast Length Mascara) to the upper and lower lashes. Then, wiggle the brush of a volumizing mascara (such as CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Blasting Mascara) against the roots and pull it through. Finally, swish your wand windshield-wiper style across your corner lashes to beef them up. "These lashes give the eyes an elongated shape," says makeup artist Romy Soleimani.

6. ...OR LENGTH AND DEFINITION
Two coats of lengthening mascara-we like Maybelline New York Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara-are a quick fix for stubby fringe. Start by squeezing the wand in a paper towel. Apply to one eye, then the other, letting the mascara dry completely before your second swipe. Shimmy the brush into your lash line and swiftly pull it through the lashes. "This rapid, wiggle-slick move separates lashes and makes eyes look bigger," says Soleimani.

7. DON'T NEGLECT LOWER LASHES
"It's the finishing touch to smoky eyes," says makeup artist Pati Dubroff. "Just don't be too heavy-handed, or the mascara will clump." For a bit of everyday definition, run the tip of the wand lightly along the lower lashes. Or try Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara-its tiny wand coats the hard-to-reach corners of your lower lash lines.

8. TRY SPIDERY LASHES-THE RIGHT WAY
Spider lashes are no longer a sign of bad taste, thanks to this full and fluttery technique. After curling, coat top and bottom lashes with a volumizing formula, like L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, before adding more mascara. Soleimani applied three coats of volumizing mascara and then revisited the ends with a ball-shaped brush (such as L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Explosion Mascara). "Hold the wand vertically and use a metronome motion to really get that spiky effect," she says.

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9. REMOVE CLUMPS
When you're going for a spidery look, a little clumpage is one thing, but for everyday, sloppy, clumpy lashes won't fly. Tidy yours up by sweeping a clean spooley brush through clumps while the mascara is still wet. The Tweezerman for Benefit Brow Shaping Brush and Tweezerman Folding iLashcomb both get the job done.

10. TAKE IT ALL OFF
After piling on coat after coat of mascara, you're going to need more than a facial cleanser to get it off. Removers that contain oil, like Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover, are strong enough to dissolve the most stubborn formulas, says makeup artist Diane Kendal. Soak a pad with remover and gently press it down on lashes for a few seconds. This allows the formula to soak in, says makeup artist Laura Mercier. Then, slowly wipe the pad across the eyes.

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