Although I maintain everyone should witness the face-transforming power of bare lashes for herself, there's nothing like having those bat-worthy, feathery fans of lashes created by your favorite mascara. But picking the right lengthening/separating/thickening formula is only half the battle, so here are the outside-the-tube application methods that are sure to make you a lash pro.
1. You don't have to use the brush it comes with.
To coat every single hair—even those stubby ones in the corners—follow Wayne Goss' lead and brush a minimal amount of mascara onto an eyelash comb, then sweep through (carefully, because those are needle-like metal teeth going near your eyeball).
2. Tightline without using another product.
By tapping/pressing the brush against the eyelid right at the roots, you create the illusion of a thicker lash line without having to pull out your eyeliner. Plus, concentrating the product in that area helps maintain the curl. (You could even use the tip of the wand to deposit even more pigment, but make sure to even it out after, holding the brush horizontally.)
3. Mix your mascara.
It's really up to you/your ambition, but a standard mascara cocktail might involve a defining formula to separate, a lengthening one on the tips, then a volumizing one for really fat, juicy lashes. Or it could be as simple as painting on a coat with a curved brush for extra curl, then sealing it in with a thicker-textured mascara.
4. Make sure to get the underside.
You might not already do this because you heard it weighs the lashes down, but that's the stuff of makeup urban legend. For extra length and stiffness, after wiping off the excess mascara on a paper towel (tissue fibers can transfer), sweep the wand on the back of the lashes, then go around to the other side to re-lift them.
5. Create spider lashes, but in a fashion-y way.
Two tips here rolled into one theatrical, runway-y look. (They're not technically clumpy or spidery—they're ultra-thick lashes pinched together into points, like stars—so not that scary.) To try this out, apply a generous coat of mascara, then dust on some translucent powder. (Tap the handle of the brush on your wrist first to remove the excess.) Apply a second coat, then use tweezers to squeeze a few lashes together.
6. Go diagonal with your application.
Most people do the "up and out," but the diagonal method is where it's at: (1) It's a bit less cartoonish, and (2) the wide-eyed (versus bug-eyed) look is universally flattering. To achieve, pull the brush through at an angle instead of straight out, and spend some extra time defining the outer corners.
7. Change directions, change your eye shape.
But...there's a strategy for that saucer-like, Dior anime effect too. Holding the wand upside-down vertically, run the bristles upward through the middle lashes. Next, flip the brush right-side up and, focusing on the center again, move the tip upward. Paint the middle bottom lashes too.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.