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    Here's Everything You Need To Know About Mascara

    Your endless search for a clump-free life ends TODAY.

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    1. Pick your mascara based on your ~lash priorities~. There's a specific kind of wand for every goal. Going for volume? Oversized is your friend. More about length? Rubbery shorty's meant for you.

    Zoe Burnett / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more makeup charts you should save forever! Need recommendations? We've got you covered:

    L’Oréal Paris Makeup Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara ($7.57+ on Amazon; available in four colors) comes with a thick, oversized brush to amplify volume to the maximum amount. It even has a collagen-infused (and clump-free!) formula for that extra *oomph*.

    Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($5.99 on Amazon; available in two colors) features a cone-shaped tapered brush to lift and curl each lash individually. Thickness? Check. Volume? Double check. Bonus: this is hypoallergenic for contact wearers!

    Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara ($24 on Sephora) boasts a curved (or hook-like) brush for an innovative angle to grab every lash and deliver a separated, fuller look. It's specifically catered to smaller lashes, thanks to its ability to condition and and strengthen each individual lash. AND it's vegan. Win win.

    Givenchy Phenomen' Eyes Mascara ($32 on Sephora) combines a balled-tip brush with formula that delivers definition, length, and curl for look that's nothing less than dramatic. Its unique brush was created to access hard-reach-lashes to add definition to the roots and create a "wide-eyed look."

    NYX The Skinny Mascara ($6.99 on Target) is designed with — you guessed it — a super skinny brush that's ideal for small (or just bottom) lashes. It coats lashes from root to tip, making sure even super thin lashes gets its utmost attention. Its water-resistant formula plus the brush's design create long, defined lashes.

    Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Waterproof Mascara ($7.35 on Amazon) knows length is the name of the game when it comes to your lashes. It features a short-bristled rubber wand so the formula is evenly applied throughout. This makes sure you can apply as many layers as you'd like without the risk of clumping, as the brush essentially doubles as a comb.

    L'Oréal Paris Makeup Telescopic Original Lengthening Mascara ($6.74 on Amazon; available in five colors) prioritizes definition, thanks to its comb-like brush. It uses its flat side to lengthen and separate each and every lash precisely. Clumping? Never heard of it.

    2. Use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara. This is especially great for those with shorter eyelashes, as it helps the mascara's wand latch on easier for a fuller effect.

    It's recommended to hold down the eyelash curler for three to five seconds, then pulse halfway down the lashes three times — one second per pulse. Btw, this specific eyelash curler has 2,739 five-star reviews, thanks to its ability to effectively curl without any tugging or pulling!

    Promising review: "Alright alright, ladies and gentlemen. Here we go, your girl here has short and stick-straight lashes. I was on the verge of getting eyelash extensions because even with prestige mascaras, my eyelashes could not hold a curl to save their lives. I have no idea how I stumbled across this curler, but I am THRILLED to announce that this is not your typical eyelash curler. It looks like all the others, but it actually does the job — crazy, I know. I’m able to curl my lashes in the morning, study, work, workout, cry, and whatnot and somehow my eyelashes are still up. BUY IT!" —Elaine Morado

    Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in three colors) or from Walmart for $8.98.

    3. Choose your mascara based on your natural eye shape. Each formula is designed to accentuate specific features, so it's best to know which one has you in mind. For example, almond eyes benefit most from a mascara with a rubber comb for the best lengthening effect.

    Check out more from Birchbox for how to pick mascara based on your eye shape! Want their suggestions? See below!

    Benefit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara ($24 on Birchbox) is best for ~almond eyes~. It features a rubber comb and staggered bristles to help grab even super-small lashes and create major volume and length.

    Milk Makeup Ubame Mascara ($24 on Birchbox) is best for ~round eyes~. It combines a triple-ball brush with a thickening formula to seriously elongate your lashes. Bonus: focus on the outer corner of your top lash line to create a cat-like appearance.

    W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara ($21.99 on Birchbox) is best for ~downturned eyes~. It lends a subtle lift, thanks to a wand that's thicker at the center. It builds up a dramatic finish in the center of your lash line to really accentuate your features.

    Marcelle Xtension Plus Curl Mascara ($15 on Birchbox) is best for ~monolids~. It adds extra dimension to your peepers, courtesy of its curved wand and volumizing bristles. To get the best effects, apply gentle pressure to your lash root and glide upwards to the lips. This will make sure they curl!

    Benefit Roller Lash Super-Curling & Lifting Mascara ($24 on Birchbox) is best for ~hooded eyes~. It avoids any *sticky messes* on your upper lids by combining a water resistant formula with a curling wand. It even lasts for 12 hours flake-free!

    Stila HUGE™ Extreme Lash Mascara ($23 on Birchbox) is best for ~small eyes~. It boasts a well-loved lengthening formula, plus fibers and waxes (like rice bran and carnuba wax) to really extend those lashes. Not to mention the brush adds major texture, as well!

    Smashbox Cosmetics Indecent Exposure Mascara ($23 on Birchbox) is best for ~big eyes~. Its straight brush has spiral bristles to help define your eyes by adding head-turning volume. Try putting on an extra layer to your upper-center lashes and using the wand's defining tip to the lower corners of your eyes for a dramatic effect.

    4. When in doubt, turn to black! A good black mascara works for literally everyone, thanks to its bold finish that heightens all features and eye coloring.

    It would be an understatement to say Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara ($23 on Sephora) is a cult favorite. It has 5,907 five-star reviews that speak to its "intensely black, volumizing" effect. Its hourglass-shaped brush separates, coats, and curls each individual lash to make the perfect ~doll eye~. Plus, it lasts all day and is smudge-proof! AND it's cruelty-free!

    5. Add subtle definition to your eyes by "tightlining" your lashes. No you are not walking on tightrope. Just fill in the inside of your lashes with eyeliner to make them seem naturally fuller before you even put mascara on.

    Check out even more from Beautylish for how to tightline your eyes!

    It's recommended you use a thin a thin kohl eyeliner pencil for this (need I explain why liquid eyeliners shouldn't be so close to your eyeball?). Inglot Cosmetics' kohl pencil has a thin tip but is transfer-proof and water-proof so your eyes won't smudge while applying. Plus, it's highly pigmented so your eyes and lashes will really pop!

    Get it from Beautylish for $13 (available in eight colors) or from Macy's for $12+ (available in five colors).

    6. Brush off flaked mascara pieces that pop up post-eyeshadow (insert frustrated screaming) by enlisting the help of a spoolie, which is just a funny word for a clean mascara wand.


    Get a 100-pack of spoolies from Amazon for $6.99 (available in five colors) or a 50-pack from Walmart for $8.49.

    7. Avoid clumping while also drawing out your lashes to their fullest by prepping them with an Urban Decay lash primer. It'll condition each lash so by the time you apply mascara, they're already thick and long.

    Tldr: primer makes your lashes even fuller than when you use mascara by itself. This one is even formulated with vitamin E to condition and strengthen your lashes!

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this! I have short eyelashes and this makes them look long and full of volume! I highly recommend!!" —Makayla0525

    Get it from Sephora for $22.

    8. Pause before *discounting* drugstore brands. Most of them are actually the ones with the highest reviews — and are even better than luxury options! You just need to do a little research beforehand to find 'em. Did we already do that? Duh.

    Alice Mongkongllite / Lauren Han / BuzzFeed

    Check out how a BuzzFeeder found her favorite (and cheap!) mascaras! All of her winners have *thousands* of positive reviews on Amazon that agree with her! See for yourself:

    L'oréal Paris Makeup Telescopic Original Lengthening Mascara ($6.74 on Amazon; available in five colors) wins "Best Length" thanks to its brush with a flat side to dramatically lengthen lashes and precisely separate and coat each lash. Plus, its formula is super smooth so you never need to worry about clumping.

    Maybelline Makeup Volum' Express Mascara ($4.93 on Amazon; available in seven colors) wins "Best Overall Mascara" for very good reasons. It boasts a "Spoon Curler Brush" to create the illusion of more lashes (much like false eyelashes) and builds up unbeatable volume. Not to mention its smooth formula avoids dreadful clumping.

    L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara ($5.55 on Amazon; available in eight colors) wins "Best Volume" with ease, courtesy of its ability to separate and build lashes up to five times their natural thickness. It's even formulated with hydrating D-Panthenol and Ceramide-R help to protect and condition lashes (all while staying clump-free).

    9. Consider a mascara that specializes in a smudge-proof formula if you're all too familiar with outer-corner smearing by the end of the day (hello, allergies). L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara has earned credibility to stay where it belongs — strictly on your lashes. Its major lengthening doesn't hurt, either.

    Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed

    Its wavy bristle brush has over 200 bristles to catch each and every lash and hold the maximum amount of formula for a feathery, volumizing effect. Not to mention there's no flaking, smudging, or clumping. Good. Riddance. Did I mention its lasts all day?

    Check out how a BuzzFeed editor fights corner eye smudging with this mascara!

    Promising review: "I love this mascara! I think it's the best one I've tried in probably forever. It holds my curl all day from an early application until more than 12 hours later when I remove it. It's very waterproof (the waterproof version of corse). I experience no flaking, no smudging, and no irritation." —Jill S

    Get it from Amazon for $7.12 (available as waterproof or washable and in four colors) or from Walmart for $8.97 (available in four colors).

    10. Bend your mascara wand to fully fan out your lashes. The wand will be able to reach the base of your lash line and stamp the roots, instantly achieving a widening effect.

    Check out even more from The Beauty Department for why you should bend your wand!

    Feeling lazy? This Givenchy Noir Interdit Mascara ($29 on Sephora) already has a wand that bends 90° to create buildable volume and a praise-worthy lash extension effect.

    11. Combine the dramatizing effects of both packing on the mascara (we're talking lot o' layers) and emphasizing your brows with E.l.f Cosmetics Lash & Brow Clear Mascara for a put-together look that doesn't require any other makeup.

    Taylor Miller / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    This clear mascara has two sides: one for your brows and one for your lashes. Put this on your lashes for a natural yet glossy (and elongated) effect, and the other side on your brows for a thicker look. Plus, it's cruelty-free!

    Check out more for how a professional makeup artists taught us doable beauty tricks!

    Promising review: "This clear mascara/brow gel is amazing! I love it! The brow gel works beautifully at taming my eyebrows and keeping them in place so they look neat, and the mascara is nice. It makes my lashes look natural so that's a benefit." —Tymera.townsend

    Get it from Amazon for $4.96 or from Walmart for $2.

    12. Remove clumps post-application (no it's not too late) with an eyelash comb. This one both effectively separates your eyelashes and is shaped to contour around your eye so that it glides evenly and comfortably.

    Its long handle and curved comb shape are part of the ergonomic design, leting you brush upwards, instead of twisting your hand to get to your lashes.

    Promising review: "I have thin and short eyelashes, so almost all mascaras clump. I used to use a plastic one and it was pretty much useless. This was a suggested item from Amazon, so I ordered it. The shape of the comb makes it easy to smooth out almost all of my lashes at once. The metal bristles push through the clumping to separate and give more length to my lashes, but my favorite thing about this is it actually curls my lashes. This is a great time saver for me!" —CSells

    Get it from Amazon for $4.29 or a similar style from Walmart for $4.48.

    13. Don't be afraid to play with color! It's all about finding the right balance to highlight *just* the right amount of bold. The easiest way? Pair the colored mascara with an eyeliner that’s a shade darker.

    Check out even more tips from Nordstrom's The Thread for how to rock colored mascara!

    Yves Saint Laurent's Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara ($32 on Nordstrom) comes in six vibrant shades and has earned almost 1,285 positive reviews for its impressive lengthening and volumizing effects. It even conditions your lashes for a softer look! Basically it's like you're wearing falsies but they're YOURS.

    14. If you have brown eyes, pair them with blue and green mascaras for a gorgeous contrast that'll make your peepers pop.

    Heckmannoleg / Getty Images

    L'Oréal Paris Makeup Voluminous Original Mascara ($5.69 on Amazon; available in eight colors) has earned 2,571 five-star reviews for its beautiful dark blue shade. Plus, its volumizing brush thickens and lengthens lashes in just one application for a fuller look. Did I mention zero clumps?

    Marc Jacobs O! Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara ($26 on Sephora; available in six colors) features a bold teal that'll not only turn heads, but make your lashes luxuriously curled and thick. Its formula features a blend of rice bran, bayberry, carob, and African acacia tree extracts to really expand and condition your lashes. Plus vitamins B5 and C will strengthen and hold your lashes in place for all-day wear.

    15. Swipe on some purple mascara if you have green, blue, and hazel eyes to both bring out your already intense coloring. The bolder the better, am I right?

    Maybelline New York The Colossal Big Shot Mascara ($5.69 on Amazon; available in four colors) will get everyone's attention with its vibrant purple hue. It volumizes root to tip, thanks to its thick brush that features wavy bristles to cradle lashes!

    16. Learn these symbols so you understand more than whether your mascara will lengthen or thicken. You need to know things like when it'll expire, too! And if you care about if something is cruelty-free, then these are the signs to remember!

    Zoe Burnett / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more for makeup charts you need to remember!

    17. Remember your lower lashes! They can make or break how much your eyes pop. Try a specialty Pixi lower lash mascara that'll coat your bottom half without smudging.,

    Its water-resistant formula is perfect for bottom lashes (hello, tear ducts) and even has added vitamin E & panthenol to make sure this stays on all day, even on sensitive and runny eyes. And it's cruelty-free!

    Promising review: "I didn't know lower lash mascara even existed until a blogger recommended it. I decided to try it and I really like it. It works much better than normal mascara on your bottom lashes; I never even used my normal mascara on my lower lashes because it always smudged and looked terrible. I will buy this again!" —Amanda

    Get it from Target for $11.

    18. Warm up your mascara in a room-temperature glass of water. Strange, I know. But it'll heat the bottle just enough so that its formula glides on super smoothly.

    In a rush? Just rub the bottle back-and-forth in your hands!

    Check out more useful tips that are great for beginners!

    19. End the everlasting war of smudging with a super simple trick. Once finished applying mascara, gently pat your top and bottom lashes with your index finger. Whatever comes off is what would have ended up in your eye corners! Mission accomplished.

    20. Correct little mistakes when applying mascara with Almay eraser sticks. Each stick has a little bit of oil-free makeup remover to gently rub away stray smudging (all without ruining the rest of your hard work).

    Promising review: "These are perfect for 'raccoon eyes' at the end of the day. They are not oily and dispense just the right amount of liquid to clean up under the eye and the eyelid too. I have these in my purse all the time!" —D. Farino

    Get a 24-pack from Amazon for $4.72 or from Walmart for $4.97.

    21. Wiggle the brush back and forth from the root of your lashes (like you're brushing your teeth!) if you're going for bigger than big volume.

    Taylor Miller / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more for tips from a makeup professional!

    22. Make sure you wash off your eye makeup every night! Yes you're tired, but do you really want red eyes in the morning (from BACTERIA)? Nivea cleansing wipes are gentle, fast, and super easy!

    Anamaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

    They're even great for waterproof makeup! And obviously for the rest of your face.

    Check out how a BuzzFeeder can remove all her makeup with these (even on lazy days)!

    Promising review: "These are so wonderful to wash with and they leave a fine moisturizer on your skin. They have a very light, fresh clean feeling. I keep reordering it and haven't had one blemish since using these." —G. M. P.

    Get a 25-pack from Amazon for $6.29 or a similar kind from Walmart for $4.27.

    23. Don't feel like searching the World Wide Web for a mascara that matches your price point, lash needs, eye sensitivity, and more? Makes sense. Good thing we have a quiz that does all the hard work for you!

    Sharlotta / Getty Images

    Check out this mascara recommendation quiz to find a brand that really works for you!

    24. When shopping on Amazon for mascara, check out the customer review pictures. A really good mascara, like this CoverGirl LashBlast Volume mascara will have *tons* of before and after photos from happy shoppers. IRL proof that the mascara works!

    This one has 1,515 five-star reviews that all speak to its volume-boosting formula that have been a cult favorite for years and years! Plus its super touchable and never smears!

    Check out more Amazon brands that have great before-and-after review pictures!

    Promising review: "This is an ideal mascara for layering. I can get dark and thick lashes without clumps and flakes even after applying three coats. I have fine light eyelashes and this mascara gives me a great look for a great price and minimum effort. The design of the brush helps you to get good coverage." —MDM

    Get it from Amazon for $6.40 (available in two colors) or from Walmart for $6.24 (available in four colors).

    25. Check the expiration date on your mascara — they go bad sooner than you think! Most mascara kicks the bucket after being opened for three months.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    If you use it after it expires, you're risking eye infections from growing bacteria! Not fun.

    Check out even more for seriously helpful makeup charts!

    26. Be critical of mascara brands that claim to do it all. One tube can only include so many effective ingredients. If a formula is made for volume, it probably has to sacrifice length. So if you have a goal in mind, look for a specialty design!

    This Maybelline The Falsies Push-Up Mascara ($5.29 on Amazon; available in two colors) is all about v o l u m e. It cup-shaped bristles scoop and lift your lashes from root to tip for some Insta-worthy thick eyelashes.

    Get it from Amazon for $5.29 (available in two colors) or from Walmart for $7.47 (available in two colors).

    27. Thicken your lashes to the fullest extent by sweeping a little loose powder on before you apply mascara. People will wonder if you're wearing falsies, and you know what? LET THEM.

    Check out more from The Beauty Department for how to get thicker lashes!

    The Beauty Department recommends you use CoverGirl mineral loose powder ($7.59 on Amazon; available in two shades) and get spoolies from Amazon for $6.99 (available in five colors).

    28. Know your cruelty-free brands if that's a priority for you! Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara has been a cult favorite for over a decade for its super-effective wand that creates a naturally-defined, voluminous look.

    Plus it has a blend of super-beneficial ingredients like rice bran, olive esters, and provitamin B5 to soften and nourish lashes! Effective AND good for you? Take my money. Oh, and there are 2,565 five-star reviewers who agree with me!

    Promising review: "After the hype this mascara got I decided to try it out and it turns out to be my favorite mascara! It's so smooth and doesn't get clumpy or droopy, which is the most important thing to me! Hands down my favorite mascara!" —Yasmeen A

    Get it from Tarte for $23.

    29. Think outside the box if traditional mascaras just don't work for you. Milk Makeup's Kush High-Volume Mascara features nourishing cannabis oil to hydrate your lashes for a healthier outcome (and elongating effect).

    Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

    Plus its tapered, tree-shaped brush hits every angle of your lashes! The narrow top reaches the inner and outer corners of your bottom lashes, all for clump-free definition.

    Promising review: "First of all, the packaging feels LUXURIOUS! It’s heavy and feels very well-made. Secondly, the formula is great! It lengthened my lashes and added amazing volume right away with two coats!" —dandabee

    Check out how a BuzzFeeder finally conquered her short eyelashes with this mascara!

    Get it from Sephora for $24.

    30. Understand the hype behind ~fiber mascara~. What is it? It's a specialized formula with lengthening fibers to dramatically elongate the look of your lashes.

    L'Oréal Paris Makeup Voluminous X Fiber Mascara ($9.99 on Amazon) features two sides on its bottle. The first is a primer to prep and condition your lashes to really elongate and avoid clumps, while the other (the mascara side) maximizes your lashes' length for a fringe effect.

    Check out more from L'Oréal for what fiber mascara is!

    31. Curl you lashes without needing an eyelash curler by using a curved wand. First apply the mascara with the curved side up to coat the lashes, and then flip it to hug the lashes and curl them. Same goes for the bottom lashes!

    Get a 100-pack of curved spoolies from Amazon for $5.29 or a similar 200-pack from Walmart for $12.27.

    32. Refrain from using waterproof mascaras everyday. They're tough to remove, which forces you to rub harder — eventually breaking your lashes. Opt for "water-resistant", like Glossier's Lash Stick. It's much gentler, and every bit as effective!

    This is especially great for people who want to ~lengthen~ their lashes! Its long curved fibers hook onto lashes to extend each and every lash. Plus it uses vegan biotin to condition and strengthen your lashes! AND its cruelty-free.

    Promising review: "Love this stuff! I use it almost everyday and it doesn't smudge or flake off! I've slept, cried, worn this stuff to therapy and it still stays on! There's no smudging, flaking, or any of that stuff we always complain about! Plus, it makes my lashes look long but with no clumps!" —goose caboose

    Get it from Glossier for $16.

    33. Combine two mascaras together if you want the best of both worlds. Want to thicken AND separate your lashes? Apply a volumizing mascara first, and next a defining mascara.

    Maybelline Makeup Full 'N Soft Washable Mascara ($6.15 on Amazon; available in two colors) is made with an advanced thickening formula with vitamin E to create softer and fuller-looking lashes. Plus, it'll last all day!

    Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara ($27.50 on Sephora; available in three colors) features a flexible polymer coat that reaches every lash to both separate and define. Its brush's bristles are arranged in a “hedgehog” pattern for maximum coverage with no clumps!

    34. Try a mascara that specifically mentions "natural looking lashes" if you're going for the au natural look. Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara adds *just* enough volume to your eyelashes, while still letting you take the credit.

    Emma McAnaw / BuzzFeed

    Not to mention it resists flaking, smudging, and clumping (oh my!). Its wand features flexible bristles that grab each lash to applying just enough mascara for a natural yet defined look.

    Personally, I prefer the "no makeup" look so this is a great buy for me, and definitely worth the splurge! Read my review on how it makes my lashes look naturally full!

    Promising review: "This is the best mascara I’ve come across! I was immediately impressed! It gives my lashes amazing length and volume, leaving them soft and gorgeous! It's easy to remove as well. I will definitely get it again and again." —SevyBaby

    Get it from Nordstrom for $30.

    Looking at yourself in the mirror after conquering mascara like:

    World of Wonder Productions

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

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