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Question: How can I avoid clumpy mascara?

Answer: This is one of those beauty speed bumps that’s going to take a little trial-and-error to get over. Everyone’s eyelashes are different: some are thin, some grow at a downward angle, and others are naturally long. The key to getting great lashes is to find a formulation that works with your eyelashes—and a brush that you’re comfortable handling.

Let’s start with formulation. Some mascaras have a very thin, wet consistency. My eyelashes don’t like this type of formulation; as my lashes dry, they tend to group together to form four or five big spider legs. Mascaras with creamy textures, like the Benefit BADgal Lash, seem to work best on my lashes. The formulation is buildable, but exercise caution: too many coats will make any mascara cake up or flake off your lashes!

Believe it or not, the ingredients used in waterproof mascara can change the way mascara behaves on your lashes. If you don’t like a particular waterproof mascara, try the non-waterproof version!

Mascara brushes also play a huge role—and they come in all forms; ultra-fat brushes, tapered brushes, and even vibrating brushes. Regardless of all these bells and whistles, the key to getting the best eyelashes is to find a mascara with a brush that separates your lashes and distributes the mascara evenly.

I tend to buy mascaras with as few bells and whistles as possible. The Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara is one of my favorite mascaras because it has a simple, straight brush that’s not too fat or too thin. I can reach every lash and I always have complete control over the brush.

Let’s say you’ve found a formulation that you love, but the brush just isn’t up to par. You can purchase your own disposable mascara wands. These wands allow you to comb through your lashes after you’ve applied your mascara, for extra separation. You can even use them to apply your mascara from the get-go!

Remember: hygiene first! If you’re going to use disposables—either toss them after using them, or clean them thoroughly before storing them.