You never leave the house without a quick coat of mascara, and you’ve been applying it for almost half your life. You know what you’re doing by now, right? Possibly not. Keep scrolling for the top five most common mascara sins to see which ones you’re guilty of, plus shop our favourite mascaras at the end.
This motion causes the mascara to dry out quicker as you're letting excess air into the tube, which leads to that annoying clumping and flaking. Instead of pumping, either wipe any excess product away on the tube neck (without putting the brush back in). Or, if you're not tied to the brush, invest in some disposable wands and use a fresh one each time. This will create a cleaner finish, too, since there’s no old product coated on the teeth of the comb.
You should be replacing all your eye makeup (with the possible exception of shadow) every six months. If your mascara becomes a little dry before the sell-by date, freshen it up by adding a few eye drops into the tube and shaking slightly to thin and refresh the product.
To prevent the top lashes smudging and leaving annoying black splotches on your lids when you're doing your lower lashes, start with the bottom lashes first. Don’t look up when you coat the top lashes, look straight ahead and move the mascara wand outward from the roots of your lashes in a zig-zag motion. If you're applying mascara with a hand mirror, hold the mirror at chest height and look down into it as you apply to avoid any unwanted smudges.
This makes both your lashes and your curler unhappy. Mascara not only coats the lashes, it sets them in place, so add a curl to your lashes then apply your mascara to hold the curl (think of it link misting hairspray after tonging). If you curl lashes coated in mascara, you can end up with a more angular curl that looks unnatural, or worse: Your curlers can stick and tug at your lashes. Ouch.
Okay, you’ve mastered the perfect application (full marks), but what about removing it? Improper removal is the top mascara sin, and applying the next day’s coating over clogged lashes will seriously affect your finish (especially when repeated over several days). Use a product specifically designed for eye makeup removal, and gently massage lashes in a circular motion between your fingertips before wiping away mascara with a wipe, cotton pad or muslin cloth. We love Kiehl's Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (£18).
Shop our favourite mascaras
Want more? Check out the 16 best mascaras ever.