Meet Mascara Cocktailing: The Key to Longer, More Voluminous Lashes

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Finding a mascara that accomplishes your desired lash look, whether that's length, volume, or curl, is one of the all-time most most satisfying makeup discoveries, especially since there's no shortage of formula options on that market. Admit it — you likely have a drawer filled with mascara tubes just waiting for you to finish or toss once they hit the six month expiration mark (seriously, do not mess around with that date, for the sake of your eye health). However, is it simply too much to expect that one formula is enough to achieve that doe-eyed effect you crave? Or, would "cocktailing" a few different mascaras together offer the type of fluttery lash look that belongs on a beauty campaign billboard in Times Square?

"Mascara cocktailing allows you to tailor your lash look to your preferences on any given day," says celebrity makeup artist and BUXOM Cosmetics Ambassador Ash K Holm. "By combining mascaras with different properties, you can enhance both volume and length." She explains that because mascaras typically feature one or two main benefits, using multiple formulas together is simply another useful beauty technique to customize your look, whether that's a natural everyday vibe or a bold, dramatic effect.

Keep reading for the expert's tips for mascara cocktailing like a celebrity makeup artist.

How to Cocktail Your Mascara

Holm reveals that there is a general order of operations you should follow when combining multiple mascaras depending on the overall effect you want to create. If longer lashes are your main goal, utilize a formula that has lengthening properties — which typically means it contains fibers to extend the appearance of your lashes — like Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Lengthening Mascara ($28). The same idea works if you're after volume. Stick with a volumizing formula to start, like Revlon So Fierce! Eyes Wide Open Mascara ($12), and then follow up with a lengthening formula for the best of both worlds.

"The initial coat is often used to separate and define the lashes," says Holm of her go-to technique for clients. "To achieve this, start at the base of your lashes and wiggle the wand gently as you move it upward. This technique helps coat each lash evenly, giving them a longer appearance." She adds that for the second coat of volumizing mascara, you'll also want to use this wiggle method to thicken the lashes.

Mascara minimalists, take a breath here, because you can also add a third and fourth coat to enhance your lashes' curl, or add in a speciality benefit, like mascara fibers to further extend your lashes. To do this, Holm suggests applying a curl mascara, like Sisley Paris So Curl No. 1 ($78), after your first two coats have set slightly (about 20-30 seconds), wiggling the wand up from the base of your lashes. Finally, a waterproof formula like BUXOM Waterproof Lash Volumizing Mascara ($25) can help to seal in the look and ensure it lasts from day to night. "Apply it immediately after the previous coats while they are still tacky," says Holm. "This helps lock in the effect and make it smudge-proof."

How to Avoid Clumping when Cocktailing Your Mascara

Obviously, the more layers of mascara you apply, the higher the risk that your lashes will end up clumpy or smudged, so be sure to exercise a little patience when you're cocktailing your mascaras. "If you're layering mascaras for a combined lengthening and volumizing effect, it's a good idea to wait about 20-30 seconds between coats," says Holm. "This brief pause allows the first coat to partially dry, making it easier to build additional layers without clumping."

The makeup artist stresses that it's essential to work quickly but carefully when applying your mascaras so that you avoid excess product buildup, which can ultimately weigh down your lashes — the exact opposite goal of this layering strategy. "You can also use a lash comb or a clean mascara wand between coats to separate and remove any clumps," says Holm.

Curious to try out the mascara cocktailing technique for yourself? With a little patience and a few stellar formulas, you'll be well on your way to having the endlessly long, full, and fluttery lashes of your dreams.