How to Keep Mascara From Smudging

Published on: Apr 23, 2023 • 5 min read


We’ve all been there. You think your eye makeup looks flawless, only to realize you’re struggling with mascara transfer, otherwise known as the infamous smudging.

What happened?

Even with the best and more thorough application, you can still end up with mascara smudges.

Well, sweetie, it’s time for you to learn some new tricks - and that’s what I will be teaching you today.

Keep reading to find out how to prevent mascara smudging and enjoy deliciously beautiful eyelashes from here on out.

Why Does My Mascara Smudge?

Did you know that your _accidental raccoon eyes _from smudgy mascara aren’t due to excess mascara or lousy application?

It actually has nothing to do with your favorite mascara and more to do with the excess oil on your eyelid, upper lashes, and lower lashes.

Just like your skin, your eyelid, bottom lashes, and top lashes have natural oils that will cause smudging.

And I already know what you’re thinking - great, I will swap my favorite mascara for waterproof mascara and solve the problem.

Think again! Waterproof mascaras do not prevent smudging. Although waterproof mascara is great for fending off dripping from a rain pour or bad breakup, they’re not immune to oil on eyelashes.

How to Keep Mascara From Smudging

So if waterproof mascara can’t do the trick, what can? Are there other ways to tackle the smearing issue? You bet.

Here are some of the best tricks to keep mascara from smudging.

1. Try Tubing Mascara

Tubing mascara is the only smudge-proof mascara (even though plenty of other mascaras on the market claim to prevent mascara from smudges!).

Tubing mascara uses polymers that wrap around the eyelashes, ensuring they won’t slip and smudge halfway through the workday.

The issue? There are not a whole lot of options. So, if you need lengthening mascara or like excess product for a bold look, tubing mascaras might not work for you.

Love a natural look around the eye area? Then sure, go ahead and try tubing formulas the next time you’re shopping for makeup.

2. Clean Your Lashes and Eyelids

Dirty eyelids and lashes with too much oil will pose a big problem for your mascara formula when it comes to gripping and preventing smudges.

What should you do? Well, you should clean your eyelids and lashes with a gentle cleanser (not oil-based), of course!

While they won’t be completely oil-free, you will have much better luck with a pair of clean lashes than dirty, grimey, excessively oily ones.

Make sure you do not apply any eye cream or moisturizer before applying your mascara, either.

While eye creams should certainly be applied at night for radiant, youthful eyes, they should be washed off prior to applying makeup.

Needless to say, eye creams are designed to moisturize - which can wreak havoc on the staying power of your makeup, hon.

3. Always Use Eyeshadow and Eyelid Primer

If you’re wearing eye makeup, there’s a good chance you’re going to wear eyeshadow and apply it before your mascara.

Well, don’t forget the eyeshadow primer on your upper lid.

Eye primer (or any translucent powder) will dry out the delicate skin on your upper lids just enough to keep them from oiling up and ruining your makeup.

Utilize eyelash primer, too. While you can purchase a specialty product, plenty of women find that clear brow gel works like a charm.

4. Powder Under the Eyes

Trust me; I get it. Adding lots of concealer to the under-eye area seems critical, especially if you suffer from dark circles, as I do.

But you should stop caking on that concealer, honey.

If you absolutely need to, you can apply a thin layer to get rid of those unsightly dark circles. However, the best choice is a light dusting of loose powder (not excess powder) on the undereye area.

This will halt oil in its tracks, ensuring you don’t end up with the infamous “raccoon eyes.”

5. Don’t Overdo It

Whether you’re using a normal mascara, waterproof mascara, or another favorite from the beauty world, make sure you’re applying mascara correctly.

It’s relatively simple. Swipe your lashes with your regular mascara, once on the top and once on the bottom.

Yes, I said once.

While you may want to build up the makeup product to create a bold and desirable look, you are setting yourself up for a smudge disaster within a few hours.

Avoid applying multiple coats, especially on the bottom lashes, as these are far more prone to smudges.

If you want a more dramatic look, you may consider going with fake lashes.


How do you keep mascara from transferring to eyelids throughout the day?

Following all of the same tips as above will ensure that you don’t end up with a smudge disaster.

However, sometimes a smear is unavoidable. For example, if you go to the gym wearing makeup and sweat a lot or it’s a scorching day.

That said, it’s best to carry around a napkin, cotton swab, or another product in your purse or backpack. When you see a smear, you can get rid of it ASAP and enjoy your beauty once more.

(Tip: Bring along a small thing of makeup remover for stubborn mascaras!)

Does eyelash primer keep mascara from smudging?

Eyelash primer alone won’t stop a smudgy beauty disaster from forming, but it will certainly help.

Using a priming formula on your lashes is highly recommended before applying mascara.

An eyeshadow primer can also work like magic as it will reduce the oils in your eyelids, which are one of the main culprits of unwanted smudges.

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