Everyone’s done it: the mascara pile-on. In pursuit of skyscraper fringe, we swipe on coat after coat, burying our poor lashes under layers of gunk. Even though, it helps you look bright-eyed in photos, by the end of the day, your lashes feel crispy and clumpy. Considering that women are taking a health-first approach when it comes to their skin and hair, it only makes sense that the same should ring true for lashes.
So, how does one treat their fringe with the TLC it deserves? “To get gorgeous, healthy lashes, it’s really about technique,” says Courtney Akai, a New York City- and Dallas-based lash pro. And that means that a little mindfulness when you’re coating your fringe with mascara in the morning (and removing said mascara at night) can go a long way to keep them looking good. Here, the tips that she shares with her clients to maintain bright eyes.
Read on for Akai’s pro tips to keep your lashes naturally healthy.
Choose a wand and formula that feels good
Akai believes the real difference in mascaras isn’t found in formulas, as much as the wand. “The brush is what really matters as far as how your lashes look,” says Akai. “I’m a huge fan of Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, $28 and Benefit They’re Real Mascara, $15.” Look for a brush that’s flexible, and contains a dense amount of bristles (another good one: Burt’s Bees Mascara, $13) which will allow you to coat lashes in just a few swipes.
Use a cream-based cleanser to remove eye makeup
Yes, your typical oil-based cleanser should be able to remove all traces of your mascara (you know, the whole oil breaks down oil rule). But, Akai says using a heavy cream makeup remover, such as the Triology Cream Cleanser is actually the safest choice because it requires less tugging on lashes and fewer moments spent harshly rubbing the eyes. “Just splash some water on your face, rub the cream gently on your lashes, then take a damp cotton ball and swipe it until it’s all off. I’ve never lost lashes that way.”
Skip waterproof formulas (most of the time)
“Overusing waterproof mascara every day killed my lashes,” says Akai, who instead suggests using long-wear formulas only on occasion, or if you absolutely have to. “When you do, be sure to use a cream cleanser to gently massage it off.”
Keep coats to a minimum
Akai subscribes to the less-is-more philosophy when it comes to coating your lashes. “No matter what mascara you use, I recommend fewer coats if you’re trying to keep your lashes really healthy,” says Akai, who suggests layering only one coat, and repeating with a second only if you need it. “Obviously you’re going to want to do a few layers for a special occasion, but it’s just going to be more wear and tear to take off—literally.” Think about it: every coat is smothering your lashes and drying on top of the other, causing them to stay stiff, and crispy.
Never curl your lashes after applying mascara
Although it may be tempting to curl your lashes after applying mascara, so that they can set with the formula. “You can actually rip out your lashes when you curl them after mascara, especially when they’re clumpy,” says Akai. Instead, curl them while your lashes are mascara free then apply one to two coats of mascara.
Now that your lashes are healthy, learn how to make them look crazy long like with these genius tricks from Lo Bosworth. And see what a doc has to say about how long you should really keep the same mascara for and more.