15 Ways To Keep Lashes Separated When Applying Mascara

Finally discover how to stop your mascara from clumping

We’ve all experienced it—those stubborn clumps of mascara that make our lashes stick together. The more we try to fix it, the messier it seems to make the lashes look.

Luckily, a few habits can keep your mascara from clumping in the first place. Plus, there are a few tricks for getting out clumps that still decided to show up.

Here's how to stop eyelashes clumping together...and help you achieve beautiful, separated results with minimal effort and maximum impact.

1. Throw out dried-up and expired mascara

Here’s how to fix clumpy mascara in most cases: prevent it in the first place if you can. There’s no unclumping mascara that’s past its prime. Tossing overdue mascara also helps prevent eye infections and styes.

After too much time—or too much air exposure—mascara loses its smooth spreadability. Toss and replace your mascara after 1-3 months, or after it shows signs of drying out.

2. Curl your lashes

A traditional lash curler may be all it takes to solve your mascara-clumping woes. If your lashes are especially stubborn or prone to losing their curl later in the day, try a heated lash curler.

Curling your lashes helps fan them out and away from each other. When you curl your lashes before putting on mascara, lashes are less prone to sticking together.

3. Use a primer

The conditioning and lash separating treatment help prep your lashes for the best mascara application. Primer coats and conditions each individual lash, which helps keep them separated during mascara application.

Plus, adding primer to your makeup routine has lots more benefits. A primer can help make eyelashes appear thicker, longer, and more luscious without adding weight.

4. Make sure your lashes are clean

If you have any residue from yesterday’s mascara, clean it off. Old mascara flecks are an extra surface for mascara.

Avoid clumpy lashes by giving your lashes an extra cleaning. Wipe them down with a makeup remover wipe or wash your face with warm water and a gentle cleanser to remove all traces of old makeup.

5. Wipe excess mascara off the wand before applying

If your lashes tend to clump in the corners of your eyes or consistently in the same places, this trick will be especially helpful.

Mascara formula likes to collect as a glob on the tip and end of the wand. You can use the back of your hand, Kleenex, a wet wipe, or just the lip of the mascara tube to wipe it off.

6. Improve the quality of your application–don’t just add more layers

Adding more layers of mascara makes your lashes chunkier after a certain point, not voluminous.

The first thing you can do to keep mascara from clumping is to stop applying it in a haphazard way. Slow down. Apply your makeup while sitting, if possible. Get maximum separation without adding too much product, focus on using only a few coats on each eye.

7. Wiggle your wand

It’s easy to get in the habit of quickly brushing your lashes over and over, like the hair on top of your head. This pulls the lashes closer together. Instead, prevent mascara from clumping by gently meeting the wand brush to the base of your lashes, then dragging it upward.

Don’t get carried away and make an aggressive zigzag motion. Just a gentle wiggle will do. Make sure you aren’t touching your eyelid as you move upward—that can lead to mascara flecks on your lids.

8. Apply your mascara without applying pressure

Another easy habit to slide into is forcing your lashes onto the brush. This causes you to brush them upward with too much force.

Being assertive with the brush can feel like you’re promoting lash separation. Unfortunately, it just overcoats your lashes with product. Instead, hold your wand still. Let your lashes come to the brush more than you bring the brush through the lashes.

9. Change your angle

You may be getting stuck-together lashes because your mirror position isn’t giving you the fullest view of your lashes.

If your mirror has you looking down too much, you may not get the right angle for a clump-free application. To stop eyelashes from clumping together, try holding your brush at a different angle.

Many people hold their brushes perfectly horizontal when applying mascara. Tilt it just slightly toward your nose or forehead before pulling it through all of your lashes. This can create more space between each lash and prevent them from sticking together.

10. Coat the tips before adding volume

If you add volume, but then add length afterward by focusing on the tips, you risk clumping your freshly coated lashes together. Apply a coat of mascara to your top and lower lashes, then wait for it to dry before adding more coats.

You’ll also want to use a quality lengthening formula. Volumizing mascaras are great for thickening sparse lashes or enhancing full ones—but they aren’t as good at making them longer. They can be too heavy-duty. They tend to thicken existing lashes rather than extending them.

11. Don’t apply too much mascara

It’s hard to resist an extra few sweeps of mascara when you want to separate those stubborn lashes. But overloading your lashes makes them appear chunkier and messier, not more voluminous.

If you want to avoid clumpy eyelashes and keep your mascara looking smooth, use a few coats of mascara with good application. Fewer layers helps ensure that each layer is applied as evenly as possible.

12. Separate your lashes with a lash comb or clean mascara wand

Need to figure out how to fix clumpy eyelashes after you've put on your mascara? Then this trick is for you. Use a clean spoolie brush, a lash brush, or even a clean mascara wand.

New mascara often isn't yet distributed evenly over the brush, causing clumps. Make sure to brush the clumps out of your lashes if you are applying a new mascara for the first time.

13. Don’t pump your mascara wand

It can feel like you’re evenly coating the wand with mascara formula, but it actually does more harm than good. Pumping your mascara tube before applying introduces more air into the tube, drying up the formula faster. It also puts too much product on the brush.

If you need more mascara formula on your brush, gently spin the wand while it's inside the tube.

14. Periodically clean your mascara wand

Even with the best practices, your mascara wand is going to get over-filled with the formula. Use a wet washcloth, a cotton pad with water or makeup remover, or a makeup wipe to clean your brush.

15. Use a tubing mascara

Do your lashes start out separated, then end up clumping later in the day? Tubing mascara will change the game for you!

It's the best non-clumping mascara—once it sets, it can't stick to the other lashes later in the day. Traditional mascara can clump later in the day from the weight of the formula. Sweat and your skin's oil can also weaken the formula’s hold, causing it to droop.

It’s a great option for people who wear contact lenses because it won’t smudge or flake off when you blink or touch around your eyes.

Shop tubing mascara from the technology’s original developers. Since we introduced it in the ‘90s, we haven’t stopped pioneering tubing technology. Shop our different kinds of tubing mascaras and find the one that matches the lash look you love.