Even though mascara is a staple for many makeup wearers, it’s one of the more misunderstood products in your kit. Mascara opens the eye to help you look more awake. Most think there is nothing to applying mascara—they swipe it on the lashes the same way, every time. But there are methods to apply it based on your eye shape that will transform your makeup into something that looks more polished and professional.
Every mascara application should start with these two easy steps:
Always begin with an eyelash curler. I like one with a silicone strip, like Kevyn Aucoin or Billy B Beauty. Gently press the band against the root of the lash and turn the curler until the curve is parallel to the crease of your eye. Press gently, release, and presto! This will give even the most stubborn lash a beautiful curl.
The next step is to apply your mascara at the root of the lash. My favorite trick is to bend the wand slightly to get right in to the base of the lash. Next, comb through the top lash, wiggling the wand gently as you work your way through. You want to brush through the top of the lash from root to tip, brush through the bottom of the lash from root to tip, and then weave the wand across back and forth through the lash until every individual hair is liberally coated on all sides. I recommend using both a lengthening and a thickening or volumizing mascara. I also prefer to use one mascara with a smaller brush and one with larger bristles—the combination of the two makes any lash look longer and more full.
Now let’s talk about eye shape and placement.
Start with your curler and the basic application mentioned above, and be sure to coat all of your lashes. For wide-set eyes, I recommend working from the inner corner of the eye out towards the middle of the lid. You want the darkest area to be at the inner corner to create the illusion that the eyes are closer together.
For close-set eyes, we want to pull the eyes apart so the darkest part of the application needs to be at the outer corner. Curl and apply your first coat with a focus at the outer corner of the eye. Apply a second coat from the middle of the lash and work your way out. For more drama, add a liquid liner along the lash line or really pack the mascara in at the root to ensure that the darkest part of your mascara application is at the outer corner. This will give lift and the illusion that the eyes are further apart.
For for those with smaller eyes, the trick is to make them appear much larger and rounder with your mascara application. My suggestion is to use one coat of thickening mascara on the full lash. Next, use a lengthening mascara and brush it only in the center of the lid. This will draw focus toward the center of the eye and it will appear more open, wider and larger.
To enhance or create an almond-shaped eye, focus your mascara at the outer corner of the lashes on top and bottom. Try using a thickening mascara on the top lash with a second application from the center of the lid toward the outer corner. Then use the tip of your mascara brush or a smaller brush and liberally apply mascara to the bottom lash as well—but only at the outer corner. This will enhance or create an almond shape.
For round eyes the most prominent part of the application should be on the top lash line and the outer corner. Keep the bottom lash very minimal or leave untouched. Use a thickening mascara along the lash line, and if you want to play up the round shape, keep it focused towards the middle of your eye. If you want to make a round eye appear more cat-like apply more mascara to the outer corner.
For uneven eyes we want to pull focus away from the lid and the unbalanced shape. A smoky eyeshadow application and a heavy coating of mascara along the lash line will make this eye look its best. Stay away from light colors or color mascara which can accentuate unevenness.
For downturned eyes, use two colors of mascara to achieve the most impact. Brown mascara is just as beautiful as black and has the same presence. It also doesn’t pull all of the focus allowing you to feature a lip or cheek color. Add brown mascara along the bottom lash and black mascara onto the top lash focusing all of the color in the center of the lash and keeping the outer corner the most minimal mascara application to lift the eye.
Mascara can be worn alone or used to finish any application. The trick is to find the formulation and brush that work best for you. Something as simple as where you place the wand makes a huge difference in the finished look of your makeup.