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Layering Mascaras: Which Ones Work?

the best mascaras to layer together for longer and fuller lashes

Last week I shared with you how I layer two mascaras for amazing results. In truth, it isn’t terribly different from using a lash primer and a mascara, except that you’re using a mascara (black or brown) instead of a primer (usually white. Why?? Why??) Layering mascaras is one of my favorite lash tips.

When I first started layering mascaras, I mentioned it in my Faking Falsies: The Ultimate Guide to Amazing (and Real) Lashes! Post. I think I mentioned that it didn’t really matter very much which mascaras you picked to layer. Since that post, a few years have gone by and after a lot of mascara experimentation and testing (which hasn’t always been mentioned on the site), I have a few guidelines for layering mascaras.

1. Use two different formulas
If you’re layering two mascaras, you should get the best of both worlds! Go for a lengthening and a volumizing formula. Using two lengthening formulations doesn’t really make your lashes extra long, unfortunately.

2. The first mascara should be volumizing
You want to grab every little lash, and in general a volumizing formulation will be better at that. To really make sure I’m getting every last lash, I grab a mascara with a super full brush and really work it into my lash line.

3. The second mascara needs to be clump resistant
I’m not a fan at all of the super clumpy mascara look. It will take a bit of trial and error to find the right formulation, but there are some mascaras out there that just don’t work as well when they are the second mascara. They push your lashes together and leave little clumps all over. It just isn’t attractive.

Formulations that are a bit thinner work especially well as a second mascara since they glide better over your lashes, creating a thin coat. As well, look for brushes that are molded plastic or have fewer bristles. Those bristles will be able to pull apart existing clumps and prevent new ones from forming.

4. Only the second mascara needs to be waterproof
Waterproof mascara is really hard to remove. And if you’re layering, only the second mascara needs to be waterproof to get that benefit (unless you’re swimming, then all bets are off).

5. Avoid specialized formulations
Layering mascara just doesn’t work well with tube or fiber mascaras. Just… don’t. These are both formulated to do their thing when used alone, don’t mess with them.

the best mascaras to layer together for longer and fuller lashes
So, after all of that, which mascaras are my favorite to layer? I always start with a volumizing mascara that grabs all of the lashes. Always, always, always. You can check out a list of my favorites in my eBay post, the best volumizing mascaras.

Remember, for the top layer you want to avoid anything that clumps. Brushes that are molded plastic with a few longer, wider spaced bristles are best. You can really use those bristles to pull apart any clumps or stuck together lashes from the first layer of mascara.

Here are the mascaras that I love to use as the top layer:

1. NARS Audacious (buy it at Nordstrom, NARS or Sephora)
(this is the one I’m using most often lately)

2. L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly (at Amazon, Target or ULTA)

3. CoverGirl Clump Crusher (buy it at Amazon, Target or ULTA)

4. L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess (get it from ULTA, Amazon or Target)

5. Ciaté London Triple Shot Mascara (from Sephora or Ciaté London)

Mascara Tip Guide
Read more about mascara, mascara primers and lashes in my Mascara and Lashes Guide

Product Sent for Review, I Bought It, Affiliate Links
The NARS mascara was originally sent as a PR sample, but I repurchased it already (that’s true obsession right there), and I bought the other mascaras. Because I’m the mascara lady. That’s like being a cat lady, but without the litter changing duties.

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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