Level Up, Wizard, with Mascara Magic 101

Published in: Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To


Written by Sam

Freelance makeup artist and blogger Sam shows that anyone can wield a mascara wand like a true makeup magician if they find the right technique.

Mascara Magic 101

It’s 6:30 in the morning. You just barely saved your white blouse from a nice warm coffee demise, and all you’ve left to do is throw on some mascara. Do you…


A. Close your eyes, wiggle the wand randomly in the vicinity of your lashes, and hope for the best?

B. Look straight into the mirror, and take a few seconds slowly sweeping the bristled brush from base to tip, possibly allowing time for a second coat?

C. Stop, take a deep breath, and with your disposable sponge, gently lift your eyelid while you wiggle your brush at the roots, sweeping them quickly outward and upward, turning the brush vertically to add a bit of length at the corner, and wiggling it over the lower lashes?

Hopefully, you picked (C), as you may have guessed that in this case, the most complicated answer is the right one.

Mascara is one of those magic products that can completely transform your look, even if you’re not wearing another stitch of makeup. But, like trying a new hair color, not all transformations work out well. Some methods of application could leave you with spindly lashes, clumpy lashes, flakes of black on your cheeks, little freckles dotted over your meticulous eyeshadow or bare lids… You get the idea.

Find the right method, however, and even the shortest, lightest lashes can turn into wham bam eye-poppers! Devote an extra minute or two to perfecting your mascara routine every day, and all this could be yours.


So, grab a disposable, triangular makeup sponge and your favorite mascara. Look straight ahead into the mirror, and place the side of the makeup sponge at the root of your upper lashes, then pull upward toward your brow. Having the sponge here serves a dual purpose: to protect your lid from spots of accidental mascara, and to prevent your finger (which, hopefully, you would be using for the same, prior reason) from creating a dent in your lashes during application, which could lead to uneven distribution of the product.

Take the wand, and blot it lightly on a tissue to remove excess product that could produce clumping. Place the brush nearly horizontally at the base of your lashes, and wiggle it back and forth. Sweep it up and out, with a slight flick at the end. Repeat once or twice to add definition. This method both volumizes and lengthens. The wiggling at the root distributes the most product there, which gives the appearance of thick lashes (the same reason why we push eyeliner into the lashline), and sweeping up and out quickly, adding a flick at the end, barely coats the lashes — tinting them — with a bit of extra product at the tips to lengthen without bulk.

Turn the wand vertically now, and use the same method of wiggling side to side and sweeping up and out, but just at the outer corners. Adding length and a tiny bit of clumpiness (this is the only time that this word is not to be feared!) at the outer edges not only makes your eyes pop and look incredibly bigger, but it gives the illusion of perfectly defined lashes all across your eyes as well.

Keeping the wand vertical, just pat it over and slightly wiggle it across the lower lashes to add some definition without going all Twiggy with it.

Now, out you go! Work that wand! I’m sure your boss won’t mind you being a few minutes late if you show up looking this good, right?


Written by Sam

Sam is a 17-year-old, oddly tall guy whose love of all things skincare, makeup, and fashion started when he entered the modeling world at 14. Since then, he’s established himself as a freelance makeup artist in the theatre and fashion worlds, and started his own blog to preach the wonders of orange eyeshadow, Asian skincare, and designer fragrances to the masses.


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So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Natalie Wilkinson says:

    I have very long awesome lashes, but no amount of curling (even with a heated curler) or use of primer, designer or generic mascaras keep them curled even a midday curling! they look movie star worthy right after application but 2 hours later i look like ive never heard of a curler in my life!

    • Natasha says:

      I had the same problem, really long lashes but no curl,but I’ve found that the Panthera mascara gives me amazing curl. It’s the only mascara I’ve ever tried that has done that and it lasts all day on me. If you haven’t tried it already it might be worth a shot. 🙂

    • alyse brenstrum says:

      Have you ever had your eyelashes permed? im a beauty therapist and use to do it all the time, its really great for long eyelashes with no curl. google eyelash perm and it brings up some pics of before and after.

  2. inaya says:


  3. Christina says:

    I like using paper towels instead of tissue because I like soft tissue which results in soft fuzzies on my mascara wand. With paper towels, no fuzzies!

  4. Lisa says:

    A video tutorial would be nice! even so, great tip. I am loving your posts 🙂

  5. Dea says:

    Would love to see a video tutorial too! 🙂

  6. Advah says:

    Good call on the ‘don’t add too much product to the end of the lashes’ – I’m a bit guilty of that (what can I say, not a morning person)!

  7. Bridget Straszheim says:

    Mascara is the last step in eye makeup application, how does the sponge being pressed onto the eyelid not remove some of your eyeshadow?

  8. Kim says:

    The wiggle is definitely the key! I’m only fair at most make-up application but must say that I’ve always been a great mascara applier for that reason. I actually shimmy the wand upward the entire time from roots to tip and go over each lash section 2 or 3 times in quick succession. No clumping, no odd separation, just perfectly spaced, long and fluffy fringe. (Good) Mascara is a girl’s best friend. 🙂

  9. anina says:

    Thank you! This is such a great post!
    anina recently posted … Sisters are doing it for themselves

  10. Stephanie says:

    I never remove excess mascara from the wand.. I always spread it on all my upperlashes and after that I wiggle and sweep the mascara on my lashes up and down.
    Stephanie recently posted … Haul- My first OPI

  11. Tracy says:

    I always put a slight bend in my mascara wand. I find it easier to get to my lashes without having accidental spots of mascara end up on my makeup.
    Great post!
    Tracy recently posted … Subtle Christmas Sparkle

  12. Ru says:

    Great tips! Now tell us how to keep it curled all day!

  13. Elana says:

    i am over 50… I have never had ANYONE either tell me, nor; show me this in such a clear and consise fashion… WRITE your book… Make a zillion. U R FABULOUS!!!?

  14. Anna says:

    Awesome advice. I feel like I do most of what you are saying, however, I always end up having mascara smudges under my eyes after an hour or so. I even got this with Maybelline full n soft waterproof mascara. Is there something obvious that I’m doing wrong? ><

  15. April_yay! says:

    I love Sam! I love Sam!

  16. mermadelove says:

    Thanks for a multitued of great advice, SAM!!! The mascara tip is going to be a big part of my “no makeup ” look!

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