The other day, I went out on a whim and applied an extra layer of brow gel over my eyebrows while touching up. The result, I was proud to see, was that they looked extremely fluffy… aka the ideal adjectives I’d like to describe my brows.
Since that was as easy as adding on an extra coat, I began wondering what type of fluffy, lengthening magic the same method would do when applied to my lashes. But before I went swiping mascara onto my lashes like a mad woman, I asked a makeup artist if there’s a magic number of coats that can make your lashes look their absolute most dramatic.
“It depends on the formula and the desired effect,” says Merrady Wickes, makeup artist and head of content and education at clean beauty boutique The Detox Market. “Classic formulas that sit in the middle and aren’t too thick or too thin can get two to three coats for a nicely separated, fluffy finish.”
I had always thought that two layers of mascara were standard, so when I tried venturing to three, I was shook by how much a difference it made. My eyelashes looked even thicker, fuller, and darker, which was a nice touch for when I went out that night.
Really though, Wickes says that the key lies in the very first layer. “I think of the base coat like scaffolding—get the mascara nice and close to the roots, and get all of the lashes separated how you want,” she says. “If you apply too much on the tips or allow the first coat to clump, you’ll just have droopy, sad lashes.”
A big secret lies in waiting for the mascara to try in between coats. “Some people like to let [mascara] get totally dry but I like it just mostly dry so it builds, but it’s still a little malleable,” says Wickes. “I also like to concentrate my second and third coats to the outer lashes to create a nice shape and cheat an eyeliner effect.”
Pro tip: Don’t just use any mascara for your three fluffy coats. “Beware layering fiber-based formulas,” warns Wickes. “Mascaras with a more dry texture or fibers are at the greatest risk for flaking if you layer multiple coats.” The same goes for your very old mascaras since they’re more prone to flaking. Instead, Wickes says volumizing formulas are good since they’re thick and creamy and “meant to be dramatic.” And another way to make those lashes look luxe? Mix your mascaras. “Start with a creamy volumizing formula, let it mostly dry, then add a coat or two of more lengthening or separating mascara to really fan out the lashes,” she says. Now get to swiping.
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