Should You Be Wetting Your Lashes Before You Apply Mascara? An Investigation


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"I always wet my lashes before I put mascara on," explained hairstylist Leanne Citrone in a recent Into the Gloss #TopShelfie. "It's like wetting your body before lotion, everything just goes on smoother and lasts longer."

Huh. I had never thought about it that way.

Then further down the ITG rabbit hole, I found myself in the comment section reading about a girl who...wait for it...uses water to curl her lashes. She just wets her finger, uses it like a wand, and BAM.

This got me thinking about the relationship between lashes, mascara, and the H20 that's free and readily available anywhere. Why not take advantage? If it helps mascara smooth on easier or just gives you sexy, just-got-out-of-the-pool fringe–like that seen backstage at Jason Wu's Fall 2016 show—I'm all for it. Still, I also wondered if it you could just as easily use products, like a lash gloss or shiny gel-based mascara for the same, and perhaps, better results.

So I stood in front of the mirror, armed with a couple of mascaras and the bathroom sink, and started experimenting and here's what I found:

  • Wetting (not drenching) my lashes helped the drier and older mascara formulas slick on easier.
  • It was easier to swipe on layers of my thicker, more clump-prone mascaras on wet lashes.
  • It was super subtle (and full disclosure, I just got a lash lift), but I did find that wetting my finger and using it as a wand did lift, lengthen, and polish my strands pre-mascara. An eyelash curler will definitely work better, but if you're tool-shy like me, this is a welcomed alternative.
  • You can get similar, if not heightened results, by teaming your mascara with another product or just choosing a specific kind of mascara to begin with. 

The Wet-Look Essentials

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1. e.l.f. Essential Wet Gloss Lash, $6.95;

At Jason Wu Fall 2016, Maybelline global makeup artist Yadim applied gloss to the tips of lashes for a vinyl-like effect. You can achieve the same look by brushing on this non-stick lash gloss.

2. Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara, $16.50;

This gel-based formula enhances the length and volume of lashes in the most sneaky of ways while glossing them for light-catching shine.

3. Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Shocking Voluminous Mascara, $32;

If you want the glossy look without sacrificing the fanned-out drama, this is the moisture-rich mascara for you. Just beware of clumps by combing through the lashes meticulously.

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.