5 Common Mascara Mistakes & Tips


The other day I was giving my friend a fast makeover. It was her birthday and her boyfriend was going to pick her up for a night of surprise and romance. She already had foundation and some light eyeliner on (her every day look) but for this special occasion I wanted to pump up the oomph a little more.

While I was curling her lashes, she asked with wide-eyed wonder

“Shouldn’t we use mascara first then the curler?”

After recovering from shock I screamed at her “NO!! Never curl your lashes AFTER mascara has been applied!”

“But it’s easier to curl coz the lashes are wet”


I then told her the acts she should not subject a mascara to and the reason for each. It dawned on me that there still are people who do exactly the many NO-NOs of mascara application. So I thought I might as well share it on my blog. Give your mascara some TLC and it will love you and your eyelashes back! <3

Here are 5 common mascara mistakes and tips on how to care for your mascara:

1. Don’t pump the wand in and out of the tube

Pumping the wand in and out of the tube will overload the bristles with product and have you ending up with clumpy eyelashes – imagine globs of product sticking on to your lashes. Like burnt meat kebabs. =S Instead, pull out the wand while twisting it slightly on the way out. If you see excess mascara on your wand, gently swipe the bristles at the opening of the tube or use a kitchen towel if available. I personally don’t advocate swiping the excess on a tissue as the fibres tend to stick to the wand. Be really gentle if you must use a tissue. Pumping the wand in and out of the tube also introduces air and bacteria into the tube, causing your mascara to dry out faster. I almost went berserk when a friend once took my mascara and asked “New mascara?” *pump pump pump pump pump*


2. Don’t use it for more than 6 months (even if the label says 12M)

Mascaras have a shelf-life of up to 6 months (MAX!) and anything beyond that will only do harm to the eye. Because mascaras are moist products, the tubes they live in are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Modern mascara formulas have anti-bacterial agents that help to minimize bacteria, but they are formulated to last for only a few months. The longer you keep it, the longer you risk an eye infection. There was a mascara I used for more than a year. I had forgotten the date of purchase and because it looked pretty okie, with its bristles still wet, I used it. Its lengthening effect even worked fine. But every time I applied it, there was a stinging sensation around the eye, especially the lashline. I went to check my records (yes, I keep records of the things I buy to feed my cosmetics obsession) and realized that this tube of Bourjois Lengthening & Curving Mascara had been in my vanity cupboard for a year! I quickly threw it out before I absent-mindedly use it again. Fortunately I only had some stinging sensation when I used it. A person with a more sensitive eye area would probably have suffered more severe consequences.

Bourjois Lengthening & Curving Mascara – 41 Nour Fusele (Black)

3. Don’t wash the wand with water

Most mascaras can last you well up to 6 months and after that your mascara will probably have issues like clumping, drying, and just not working the way it used to. Really, there is no point in washing the wand thinking that the mascara will be restored to its former glory by doing so. It was good while it lasted, now let it retire.

If you REEEEAAALLY need to clean the wand (like if you dropped it in mud or something), use a cotton cloth to remove what you possibly can, then use an oil-based makeup remover to remove all traces of mascara. Rinse it well and let it dry thoroughly. Putting a wet brush back into the mascara tube will add even more bacteria to it. But seriously, just throw it away. If the particular mascara wand really holds some sentimental value for you, use it as a spoolie for removing clumps out of lashes and separating individual lashes, or to shape the eyebrows.

GloMinerals – Spoolie Brush

4. Don’t apply on oily or day-old eyelashes

The best time to apply mascara is after you’ve washed your face, when all traces of oil and dirt have been removed. If you’ve already lived through half of the day and need to apply mascara only then, blot the eye area with blotting paper and then dust loose powder with a full, soft brush over the lids to help prevent smearing.

Palladio Rice Paper Blotting Tissues Natural

5. Don’t crimp lashes after mascara

Never. Crimp. After. Mascara. Simple as that. When your eyelashes are coated with mascara, they will stick to the curler, and being wet from mascara, they are more brittle and vulnerable to even slight tugging. So when you put 2 and 2 together, WET + WEAK + SLIGHT TUG = ALL EYELASHES PULLED OUT! Even if they don’t get all pulled out, crimping after mascara application results in eyelashes that have an awkward and unnatural kink. Always crimp your lashes first (I highly recommend the Shu Uemua Eyelash Curler for Asian lashes), then apply mascara.

Shu uemura Eyelash Curler

And remember to always end the day by making sure no makeup residue is left on the face. I reviewed the Biore Makeup Remover For Eye & Lip and Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil. Both very good face and eye makeup removers that cater to different budgets.

All the best to you and your lashes! =)

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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.