Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by your mascara. Okay, every single makeup-wearing human in the world can put their hands down, because I know you’ve all been there. I know you’ve all looked in the mirror at noon and seen faint black streaks on your upper lids from blinking, or had to wipe away black smudges from beneath your eyes at the end of the day.
And I know you just blame your “weird eyelids” or your “bad mascara” and have resigned yourself to a life of melting makeup, but here’s a little secret: You can easily and totally prevent it from happening—like, even with the world’s weirdest eyelids and mascara—and all it takes is a few extra seconds each morning. Keep reading to find out how (and why), below.
Skip The Creams
Not on your whole face, because #moisture, yo, but if you have a tendency to slather your moisturizer all over your skin, eyelids and all, you’re basically creating the perfect smudging ground for your mascara, especially as your skin heats up and your eyelashes tap against your tacky lids ever few seconds. And that goes for your cream-based eyeshadows, too—skip ‘em and opt for powders, instead.
Blot It Out
Sorry, but your lids may just be a bit oilier than the rest of your face (yes, even if your complexion is drier than the Sahara). And because oil inherently melts and dissolves the bonds in makeup—including your mascara—you need to soak up any and all excess oil at the start of your makeup routine.
My favorite trick? After cleansing and moisturizing my face in the morning, I’ll take a powder-laced blotting sheet (specifically the Palladio Rice Papers) and gently press it over my eyelids and under-eyes to completely mattify my lids, then, for good measure, I’ll do one more pass with the paper after applying my liner and eyeshadow, just in case any residual oils from my brushes or beauty blender have made their way onto my lids.
I know, I know—eye primers seem so damn extra, but if you’re not already using a face primer that you can easily blend up and over your eyes at the same time, then I highly suggest just taking the 20 extra seconds to dab on a designated eye primer, instead, like the cult-favorite Urban Decay Primer Potion or the drugstore favorite E.l.f. Shadow Lock, to mattify your lids. Not only will it keep your shadows and liners from creasing and sliding, but it’ll also help prevent your mascara from leaving marks after a few hours.
Unless you’re Katie Ledecky or in the thick of wedding season, I’m not a huge fan of using water-resistant mascaras, solely because they can be both difficult to remove and super drying on your lashes (all of which can cause lash loss and damage over time). BUT, if you’ve already meticulously powdered, blotted, primed your lids, and also tested a different mascara formula, and you’re still dealing with smudging, try switching to a waterproof formula, instead.
“But the damage! What about the DAMAGE?!” I know, I know, and I stand by what I said. BUT, you can help mitigate the drying effects by swiping on a conditioning lash primer first, like Lancôme's Cils Booster XL, before using your waterproof mascara. And make sure to invest in the best of the best formulas, like Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara or MAC In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Mascara. Just promise me you’ll be extra gentle, okay? Okay. Thanks. Now go forth and enjoy your smudge-free life.