Clumpy Mascara – How To Avoid It

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Spidery lashes are now on-trend. It’s one of those flash in the pan things where everyone thinks it’s really cool for about 5 minutes. I kind of liken the spidery lash trend to thong underwear – you spend half the time picking your underwear out from between your butt cheeks, so why on earth would you choose to wear a permanent wedgie?

And why would you make your mascara clumpy on purpose? What’s next? Post-swimming raccoon eyes? For all of those of you not jumping on this trend bandwagon and prefer your mascara clump-free, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we are going to talk about how to avoid clumpy mascara. We’ll discuss why it’s clumping and share a few techniques to ensure you are not inadvertently sporting what is no doubt soon to be designated one of the worst trends of the decade.


Why Is My Mascara Clumping?

Sabo Mascara

There are a few different reasons your mascara may be clumping:

1. Your Lashes Are Not Clean

Mascara is one of the most stubborn makeup products to remove, especially if you are using a waterproof mascara. Leftover residue from mascara can definitely lead to clumping.

The best way to achieve a clump-free finish is to start with clean lashes.

2. You Didn’t Use A Primer

Eyelash Primer

People have been using mascara for ages before mascara primer was a thing. You don’t need a primer, but it can help.

Start with a lash primer, like Covergirl Lash Blast Amplify Eyelash Primer .

Conditioning your lashes with argan, jojoba, and coconut oil, this primer can help reduce clumping.

3. Too Much Mascara On The Wand

Mascara tubes come with a little rubber insert that helps to prevent bacteria and air from getting into the product. Bacteria can cause eye infections and air which will cause it to dry out.

The rubber insert is also there to scrape excess mascara off the brush so you’re not applying too much.

Depending on the size of the bristles, what they are made from, and the shape of the brush, you can sometimes still end up with too much mascara on the wand. You can dab off the excess with a clean tissue.

If you find your mascara wand picks up too much mascara for your liking, then we have some suggestions below for mascaras with wands less likely to clump.

4. Wrong Application Method

If you are not applying your mascara using a proper technique, you can get clumps, especially on the lower lashes.

We’ll get into mascara application below for avoiding clumps.

5. You Applied Too Many Coats

You may have heard the term “buildable” mascara. This usually applies to mascaras that are promoted as volumizing mascaras. A buildable mascara allows you to apply multiple coats that “build” on one another to make your lashes thicker.

These buildable mascaras can just turn clumpy if you’ve applied too many coats, too quickly. The key with these mascaras is to do one coat at a time.

Give the coat time to dry before adding the next coat, rather than doing multiple sweeps, one after the other.

6. Your Mascara Is Expired

Products have an expiry date for a reason. After a certain period of time, active ingredients no longer work, the consistency starts to deteriorate, the product starts to dry out, and you are not going to get the desired effect.

Mascaras last from 3-6 months. If you’ve had your mascara longer than that, it’s time to get a new one.

How To Avoid Clumpy Mascara

If you wanted to know how to avoid clumpy mascara, we’ve put together a few tips to ensure you get perfectly separated, clump-free lashes.

1. Properly Clean Your Lashes.

MAkeup remover

Before starting your mascara application, soak a cotton pad in your favorite makeup remover and make sure you have removed all traces of any previous makeup and mascara. 

Any residual dirt or makeup will prevent a smooth application and cause clumping.

But if you’re going to use micellar water, be careful that you do not get it in your eyes.

2. Never Pump Your Wand.

Don’t pump your wand in and out of the mascara tube.

Pumping your mascara will force air and bacteria into the tube, which will then become trapped. This can lead to eye infections and will also make the mascara dry out and break down faster than it normally would.

3. Use Proper Technique To Apply.

For the top lashes, make sure the brush is pushed into the lashes, separating them when you lock it in at the base. Roll it forward (much like a hairstylist would with a hairbrush when blow-drying hair) to capture each lash.

Ever so slightly, zig-zag back and forth while rolling and sweeping to the tip.

For the bottom lashes, sweep the brush back and forth across your bottom lashes. The bottom lashes are usually shorter than the top lashes. You want to avoid getting mascara all over your face and clumping, your mascara.

4. Don’t Use Too Many Coats.

Stick with two coats for more natural-looking lashes. The more coats you apply, the more they will weigh down your lashes.

You can only apply so much before the lashes start touching each other and clumping together, giving you that spidery look, which was presumably not what you were going for if you are reading this article.

Always let the first coat dry for at least 30 seconds before applying another coat.

5. Know When to Cut Your Losses.

We all want to make our product last as long as possible and can’t bear the thought of throwing something away if it’s not finished. What a waste!

But the shelf life of mascara begins when you open it. So whether or not there is still mascara in the tube and you’ve had it for 6 months, it’s time to get a new one.

The shelf life of mascara is about 3-6 months. It will depend on the brand, and how often you are using it, and whether or not you’ve been pumping your wand.

6. Revive Your Drying Mascara

If your mascara is drying out and hasn’t reached its expiration date, or you’ve had your mascara for three months already and you are convinced it’s still okay, you can try to revive it by placing your mascara tube in a cup of warm water with the cap tightly on.

This will help soften the formula and make it less clumpy, without diluting it.

If this doesn’t work then it’s time to ditch and get a new one. 

7. Don’t Add Water

Trying to remoisten a drying-out mascara by diluting it with water will simply mess up the formula. And water can also introduce bacteria into your mascara.

Do not add water inside the tube.

8. Choose The Right Wand

Mascara Wand

This might be the most important factor in avoiding clumpy lashes. Mascara wands come in all shapes and sizes and are made from different materials. Wands with plastic/rubber bristles are less likely to cause clumping.

We’ve put together our list of top mascaras with formulas and wands that are the least likely to cause clumping.

Almay Mega Volume Mascara, Blackest Black, Ophthalmologist Tested, -Fragrance Free, Hypoallergenic, 0.34 oz
Almay Mega Volume Mascara, Blackest Black, Ophthalmologist Tested, -Fragrance Free, Hypoallergenic, 0.34 oz
Packaging may vary; Volumizes lashes; Clump free formula; Available in 3 shades; Available in waterproof and non-waterproof formulas

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).