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How to Use Mascara

How to Use Mascara

Shutterstock,, Summit, Lionsgate

By request, I am providing sundry information on mascara use gleaned from a lifetime as a person with buttons for eyes. I am going to start with elementary lessons and move on to tertiary coursework.

Eyelashes are hair that grow out of your eyelids. Although our reaction to most facial hair is "AAAAGHH TAKE IT OFF! KILL IT!" eyelashes are "in" for now and there are no products currently on the market for eyelash removal. Indeed, they serve a purpose, which is keeping dust, dirt and iced coffee from hitting your eyeballs. I put this evolutionary theory to the test when I accidentally removed the eyelashes from one eye in a freak eyelash curler incident in 2006. I may as well not have had eyelids at all.

Eyelashes are so functional, in fact, that we generally want more eyelash. Some of us are so greedy we glue other people's eyelashes to our own. This would be weird if it were pants—wearing someone else's pants over our own pants because we want thicker pants—but because it's eyelashes, everyone is cool with it. These people with eyelash extensions not only keep dust, dirt and iced coffee out of the eyeballs, but repel vulnerability and introspection. NOTHING gets into those eyeballs.

Another purpose that hairy eyes have is making your eyeballs look bigger. Due to having tiny, button eyes, I cottoned onto this quite early, and my mum purchased me a clear mascara when I was a wee 12 years old. Clear mascara doesn't thicken your eyelashes, but it can coax your ginger eyelashes curl outward and upward in a fan, as if under a spell. It's a bit like how animals stand their hair on end to look bigger and intimidate other animals. This is why we're so scared of models.

I have heard people say that we find long, thick, curled eyelashes attractive because they are doll-like or child-like. Another way to put this is that you look like you haven't grown into your eyelashes yet.

(Woman-child and upside-down lash-haver Twiggy hoped that one day she would grow into her own lashes. Source:


If you've decided you want to be more hairy and lengthy in the eyeball area, you are a good candidate for mascara. Go and buy one (I'll wait) ...

Oh, are you intimidated by the THOUSANDS of mascaras on the shelves? Are you unsure if you need conditioning, thickening, magnifying, curling, vixenating, sexifying, or spiderification mascara? Are you confused by toobs, tubes, fibers, blue-black, black, brown, primers, and separating wands? Good thing you've got old man Manley here to help you.

These are some good starter mascaras: Cover Girl Clump Crusher, $8.99 at CVS, for someone who CANNOOOTTTTT BE BOTHERED to spend a summer's pay on a single tube of mascara, and Buxom Lash, $19.00 at Sephora, for someone who wants the best and has a mum or dad with some Benjamins to spare (Buxom can be layered a lot, and doesn't have a lot of the nasty chemicals other mascaras do).

Before you go to "put mascara on," I recommend getting an eyelash curler and crimping your eyelashes gently:

  1. Position the curler above and below the terrified row of eyelashes halfway down the eyelash shaft (shaft?).
  2. Squeeze it gently so the ends of your eyelashes bend upward a bit.
  3. Eyelash curlers look a lot like guillotines. Your eyelashes are basically experiencing the Reign of Terror every time you decide to go out.
  4. Give another squeeze a bit closer to the end of your eyelashes.
  5. Despite the care taken through the above steps, you will always find one lash furtively pointing down at your eyeball. This is the flower that never blooms, the bad pancake, the impenetrable pistachio shell. It will see you through life's ups and downs.
  6. Never curl your eyelashes with mascara on, or you may remove your eyelashes by accident and spend 4-6 weeks being hit in the eyeball by shower water, tumbleweed, and spiders (probably).

You are now ready to put on the mascara:

  1. Pull the wand out of the tube, and wipe that giant clump off the end of the brush back into the neck of the tube. Be goneeee!
  2. Starting at the base of your eyelashes, wiggle the wand side to side as you slide it up your eyelashes, pushing them out into optimal awning shape.
  3. Do it again.
  4. Now sneak it into the outside corner of your eye to coax out those sneaky little hairs—if you do a good job of this, you can skip learning how to do that cat swoosh with eyeliner.
  5. Holding the wand vertically, give it a little razz in the lower lash region.
  6. Poke yourself in the eye once for good luck, or twice to score a date.
  7. Brush it through any clumped-together eyelashes to separate them, if needed (see inset).

(Here, Tris has only ten eyelashes on each eye: multiple eyelashes have been consolidated into a limited number of factions due to poor mascara usage and a totalitarian regime. Source: Summit Entertainment)

If you are ready to move to the next mascara level, I will offer "pro tips" for those that have given up their amateur status and are ready to play for a substantial player pot:

  1. Before you put on the mascara, apply a white primer using the same steps above. Layer your mascara over it until they're black and long and thick. You can also start with one stroke applied to the topside of your lashes, then resume the usual upward strokes to the underneath (that we see when your eyes are open).
  2. Mix two mascaras to get maximum effect. For example, you can start with a a drugstore mascara that lengthens your lashes, then apply Buxom over it to maximize volume without getting all clumpy.
  3. Move up to fiber or tube mascaras. Have a Sephora artist show you how to use them.
  4. Try a bright blue mascara to be all "LOOK AT MY IRISES, PEEPS."
  5. Learn how to use false lashes—this is the quantum physics of makeup, and you will need a scientist (makeup artist) to show you how properly (or the internet).

(Mascara pro and avante-garde human Effie Trinket sports eyelashes capable of imprisoning men and dissidents. Source: Lionsgate) 

Always remove your mascara at the end of the day, or risk waking up without eyelashes.

What mascara tips do you have?

Topics: Advice, Beauty
Tags: sparkitors, evolution, how tos, weapons, mascara, eyes, eyelashes, factions, face spiders

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About the Author
Janet Manley

Janet is the Sparkitor who most resembles a common field potato, and isn't opposed to pineapple appearing on a pizza. She is proof that dreams can come true, as long as your dream is to share a love seat with Benjamin Barnes for nine and a half minutes after standing him up for five because you can't work out hotel elevators. Janet once had a smexy dream where Haymitch Abernathy hugged her meaningfully, which I think means they are married now. She would like to third-person you on Twitter @janetmanley

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