How to Prevent Your Mascara From Smudging

How to Prevent Your Mascara From Smudging
How to Prevent Your Mascara From Smudging

Nothing makes me feel like my makeup is put together quite like mascara. Having longer, fuller lashes makes me feel more feminine and, quite frankly, more powerful. However, after a few hours of wear, my mascara almost always smudges onto the skin under my eyes. Panda eyes, shockingly, do not make me feel pretty. 
To understand what keeps causing my mascara to run, I tapped three celebrity makeup artists to share their expert tips for maintaining mascara on your lashes all day.



Oil is your enemy

For starters, oil is your enemy. "The oil in our skin, or creamy products applied around the eyes, can make the pigment of the mascara transfer onto skin, even after the mascara is dry," says Nikki Wolff, the global creative director of artistry for KVD Beauty. Even if your skin isn't naturally oily, sweat and heat can cause mascara to run.

Before you begin applying makeup, Keita Moore, a celebrity makeup artist, and Maybelline brand ambassador recommends cleansing your face from natural oils. Follow with a moisturizing face formula that's not too thick, and avoid applying it close enough that it could reach the lash line. For eye creams, Luis Casco, a celebrity makeup artist, and author, recommends using one with a lightweight, oil-free, fast-absorbing formula, like Mary Kay TimeWise Age Minimize 3D Eye Cream ($36, Finally, Wolff suggests waiting for your skincare to absorb before applying makeup to prevent formulas from mixing and smudging.

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Primer is your friend

No matter your skin type, Moore says that priming your eyes and under eyes is critical to preventing smudging, as this will prevent oils from seeping into your mascara and affecting the formula. We like KVD Beauty Shake Primer High-Impact Invisible Eyeshadow Primer ($22, for the eyelids, as it's lightweight and transparent, and e.l.f.'s Power Grip Primer ($10, for the under eye area, as it's formulated with hyaluronic acid to hydrate the delicate skin in that area. Then, all three makeup artists agree that setting your under-eye area with a bit of setting powder will prevent oils from running onto the area. We like Maybelline's Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder ($7.99,, which comes in eight shades, and Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($39,, which comes in both matte and radiant finishes.


 How to apply mascara that won't smudge

Once your bases are covered, it's time to apply mascara. For starters, Casco recommends you begin with clean lashes. "If your lashes have leftover mascara, they'll be more likely to smudge and create fallout once you apply more," he explains. Once they're clean, take your favorite mascara and apply it as normal. If you use mascara on your lower lashes and still struggle with smudges, Wolff says to apply mascara from the root of the bottom lashes but to avoid it on the tips—doing so will prevent mascara from touching the skin under the eye area.

You can keep your favorite mascara, too, because while waterproof formulas that are sweat- and humidity-proof are reliable, there are other ways to make your formula stay put. Moore says you can use a clear brow gel after applying mascara to lock in the formula. Then, Casco says you can layer a waterproof mascara over your favorite formula to make it bulletproof. If you're looking for one that won't clump or flake throughout the day and is super lightweight, we suggest the La Roche-Posay Respectissime Extension Mascara

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