What to do when Mascara Smudges on you ALL THE DAMN TIME

So I had the idea for this post a few days ago when I went out on a date with the boyfriend: I had an awesome time (we had sushi! My chopstick skills were on par with that of a goat/ any other hoofed animal) and we were out, in public, for at least 4 or 5 hours. I mention this whole ‘in public’ thing to heighten the embarrassment you will no doubt (you’d better) feel for me when I tell you that when I got home my mascara was everywhere. Not just under my eyes in that endearing panda way. It also made some nice little spackles (kind of like this Chanel look but without the high fashion excuse) just below my eyebrow as well.


And no one ever tells you! I’ve been out with friends (ie. my mum) so many times and they just politely ignore the fact you look like an extra from a movie about eye plague (yes it exists! …don’t look it up though ok? it’s a secret). This is like the whole ‘broccoli in the teeth’ thing – yes it’s a little embarrassing but it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

Anyway. So your mascara smudges. You’ve tried waterproof, and that does too. That’s because waterproof mascara is just that: water proof. So while it works for weepy films, waterproof mascara isn’t going to stand a chance against oil and that’s what could be making your mascara smudge.

You don’t have to be an oily person (that sounds gross) to have smudgy mascara, in reality it’s often down to the skin care you use. If your mascara  didn’t smudge before, what’s changed in your skin care recently? Did you switch eye cream, moisturiser or sunscreen? My mascara smudges because of my sunscreen. To me, wearing sunscreen is more important than having pretty eyelashes so I continue to use it, but for you guys you might decide that your new face product isn’t worth all that trouble.

But if you want to have your face cream and eat it (…ew) you’re going to need to make some changes to your mascara.

Option 1: Use a sealing product. Apply your usual mascara and wait for it to dry. Then apply another product over the top which will ‘seal’ the mascara in. This works for me to an extent: if I touch my eyelashes for whatever reason I do get a mark on my finger, but the mascara doesn’t end up around my eyes. I only really use this method now and then because it is a total pain to remove. Even with an eye make-up remover it takes such a lot of effort that I think in the long-term it probably wouldn’t be good for your eyelashes at all.

Products: I use Clarins Double Fix Mascara as a sealant; it’s pricy but you can use it with any mascara and it doubles as an eyebrow groomer too. Alternatively Urban Decay has a product (I think it’s called Lingerie and Galoshes) which is a primer on one end and a sealant on the other. I used this one for a while but I still got a few smudges with it so I moved to the Clarins.

Option 2: Buy a tubing mascara. Normal mascaras are made of wax or oil and some pigment. Tubing mascaras are kind of space age: they use a ‘flexible polymer’. See? Now makes total sense…basically tubing mascaras form plastic tubes around your entire lash. The tubes are waterproof and, more importantly, because they’re plasticy I guess (?) they don’t react with the oils on your skin and so they stay put without smudging. In my opinion they’re also better for your lashes but that’s not based on any of that cool polymer science jazz; I just think that it’s much better to put on a wig than to dye your hair a different colour all the time. In the same way (yeah this is going somewhere), using a tubing mascara to form tubes around the lashes is better than using a normal mascara to paint on the lashes. In addition, it’s so easy to tell if a tubing mascara is all off your lashes whereas with normal mascara some could be left on and go unnoticed.

Tubing mascaras can be taken off without a make-up remover: all you need is warm water and some pressure. When washing my face I gently stroke my lashes in circular motions with warm water added. This gets all the tubes off your lashes (and it looks pretty exciting too). Don’t pull on your lashes or you could pull one out. In my experience of tubing mascaras, they don’t make your lashes fall out any more than usual, it can just look a little scary in the sink when you see all those eyelash-shaped tubes all over the place.

Products: Clinique Lash Power mascara is tubing, as is L’oreal Beauty tubes (though personally I HATED this one –flakey and ugly). If these ones smudge on you, you may want to get a sample of Blinc mascara online and see how that works (in my opinion it has more staying power). I’ll be reviewing many tubing mascaras when I get to Japan so keep checking back or do a search for ‘mascara’ in my blog!

…My mascara’s still smudging :(

Okay so you’ve done all that, got the tubing mascara etc. and your mascara is still smudging all over the place. You’re lucky because this happened to me too: I got the Blinc sample, had total faith in its efficacy, but out shopping I caught sight of myself in a mirror and sure enough there were smudges near my eyebrows and under my eyes. Sad face :(.panda eyes

POWDER. While I powdered my face daily, I usually avoided my eye area because it would just look cakey and lame when I applied it there. But I figured: if powder works to absorb oil on my face, why not around my eye area? So I sashayed (I just wanted to use that word) over to Laura Mercier and got the Secret Brightening Powder, which is made for the under-eye area. This powder is so fine that it just doesn’t seem to cake at all – and trust me, I apply a lot.

Even better, it sets my concealer so it doesn’t crease during the day.

EVEN better, my mascara stopped smudging.

I apply the powder with a concealer brush (No. 7 concealer brush from boots) above and below my eyes. I apply a LOT but it blends into skin really easily when you pat it with the brush. The one downside of this powder is that it has little shiny bits in it. They’re hardly visible at all in real life but in flash photography they make your under-eye area look really white compared to the rest of your face. I haven’t tried any other powders so I can’t vouch for them but if you’re in a department store check out the Laura Mercier Powder (to see how fine it is) and then check out other counters to see if you can find something similar (and tell me about it!).

5 comments on “What to do when Mascara Smudges on you ALL THE DAMN TIME

  1. Pingback: Friday Round-up « Glossed in Translation

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  3. Pingback: Why My Waterproof Mascara Isn’t Waterproof at All? | Aging Belle

  4. Thank you for this post, I have had the same problem with every single mascara I have ever used and it’s a bit annoying. I usually carry a little mirror with me so that I can check my make up every now and then to clean up the mess around my eyes, but that does feel a little bit shallow when your around other people. Im going to try to use more powder around my eyes now to see how that works for me! :)

  5. Pingback: Les « tube » mascaras, la petite révolution dans mon maquillage. | Modjo.fr

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