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How to Apply Mascara to Bottom Lashes Without Smudging

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Photo by Amy Sussman / Staff / Getty Images

If you're looking to take your eye makeup game to the next level, we've got a secret weapon for you: applying mascara to your bottom lashes. It's a game changer that can instantly transform your eyes, adding depth, definition, and a touch of glam.

But let's be real—applying mascara to those delicate lower lashes can be a bit tricky. That's where our expert advice and product recommendations come in. From finding the right mascara formula to choosing the perfect brush shape, we've got you covered. We'll also tackle common challenges like a messy under-eye area, clumping, and flaking, helping you achieve flawless, smudge-proof results. Say goodbye to raccoon eyes for good.


About the Expert:

Norah Salazar is an NYC-based makeup artist.

How to Apply Bottom-Lash Mascara

1. Prep the Skin

To keep raccoon eyes at bay, you’ll want to ensure the under-eye area is smooth and dry. When it comes to skincare, use a lightweight moisturizer and allow it to dry on your skin fully before starting your mascara application.

2. Apply Lash Primer

Makeup artist Norah Salazar recommends applying a lash primer for a bold look, especially if you’re using volumizing mascara. It helps condition your lashes, minimize clumping, and give the mascara something to stick to, decreasing any smudging. This is especially helpful if you’re not using a waterproof formula.

Salazar’s drugstore favorite lash primer is L'ORÉAL PARIS Voluminous Mascara Primer & Eyelash Conditioner, while her favorite splurge is LANCÔME Cils Booster XL Lash & Mascara Primer Base.

3. Get Ready to Clean Up Any Mistakes

Messes happen with any eye makeup, even waterproof mascara. You’ll save time by being prepared to clean up. “​​The easiest way to clean up mascara mistakes, top or bottom, is to use a cotton swab with a tiny amount of makeup primer on the tip,” Salazar says. This is an especially helpful hack if you have any makeup on your face. “By using a primer, you can easily fix your foundation or eyeshadow,” she adds.

Of course, if your skin is bare, a makeup remover works just fine, too. Just avoid any greasy ones. We like CLINIQUE Take The Day Off™ Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips.

4. Choose the Right Mascara Brush

“For bottom-lash mascara, I like and use the smallest fan brush,” Salazar says. “It cleans up easily and catches product without adding on too much at once.” She also recommends keeping clean mascara wands around to clean up excess product on the lashes. If you prefer to use the mascara wand straight from the tube, look for one with short bristles that’s on the thinner side.

5. Pay Attention to How You Apply Mascara to Your Bottom Lashes

If you’re looking to add volume and fullness to your lower lash line, Salazar recommends holding the mascara wand horizontally. Be sure to apply light strokes, wiggling from the lash line. On the flip side, apply mascara vertically—using just the tip—for length over volume.

6. Apply Bottom Mascara Before Any Eyeshadow or Eyeliner

You might be tempted to apply your eyeliner and eyeshadow look before mascara, but if you want to slay your bottom eyelashes without mess, do them first. “Let them dry and add coats gradually,” Salazar says.

7. Set Under Your Eyes

Even if you use the best mascara and follow all these makeup tips, it still helps to set your under-eye area to reduce smudging. Some may opt for a setting powder, but Salazar likes to use setting spray instead. She applies it to a cotton swab and dabs it gently under the eyes. Try SHADES BY SHAN The Setting Spray. This will even work fine on top of concealer.

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About the author
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Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated May 15, 2023 12:00 AM