The Perfect Time To Wait Between Mascara Swipes To Avoid Clumps And Flakes

We all covet lush, thick lashes that frame the eyes beautifully and flutter oh-so-delicately in the breeze. Sadly, not many of us are born with thick eyelashes, and we have to rely on mascara to plump them up. Fortunately for us, there is a wide variety of formulas to choose from, including those that promise to thicken lashes and others that lengthen them to look like falsies.

While mascara is designed to make our lashes fuller, one of the most common complaints about the product is that it can look unnatural and clumpy. Many brands recommend using at least two coats for best results, but if you're not careful, you can end up with spider lashes. Improper application can also lead to mascara flaking and smudging, leaving unsightly dark streaks. There is a way to avoid messy lashes, however, and all it takes is waiting just the perfect amount of time between applying coats.

15 to 30 seconds is just the right amount of time between coats

Mascara is one of the most purchased makeup items — and for good reason. Having dark, full lashes instantly makes your eyes appear wider and more youthful. However, if you're new to makeup or are frustrated by clumpy lashes, use these tricks to get a perfect, mess-free application. 

After you've curled your lashes, swipe on the first coat of mascara by wiggling the wand in tiny zig-zag motions. Remove any clumps you see with a lash comb. Give your lashes about 15 to 30 seconds for the first layer to dry before applying the second coat. However, don't wait any longer than that, or your mascara will fully dry and cause the second layer to go on clumpy.

After applying the second coat, go over your lashes again with a comb. You'll want to remove any excess product that may fall off during the day and irritate your eyes or leave smudges. If your lashes need another go-around, a third layer is okay, but use a light hand. Too much product will leave your lashes looking cakey. Fresh mascara is also best for clean applications, and you'll want to make sure your tube hasn't been sitting around too long.

Expired mascara can also lead to clumpy, flaky lashes

All makeup products have a shelf life and some last longer than others. Powders, for example, can be kept for years without going bad. However, mascara has a much shorter expiration date, and the general rule of thumb is to toss a tube after three months. Because mascara is a cream formula, it can easily get contaminated with bacteria, and you may end up with an eye infection. Also, old mascara will get clumpy, especially when you're inevitably forcing air into the tube. Even if you don't use your mascara often, it's best to throw it out and get a fresh tube after 90 days. If you're a daily applier, check to see if the formula is starting to look lumpy after two months. If so, it's time for a new one.

When you're working with fresh mascara, the product may be a bit too creamy, which can also lead to clumps. After pulling the wand out, wipe off excess product, and let the mascara dry for about 10 to 15 seconds before applying. You'll want the mascara to be a bit tacky to adhere to your lashes better. The same advice applies as before. Wait 15 to 30 seconds for the second coat, and you'll have amazing, clump-free lashes.