Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2023

How to Fix Your Mascara to Make It Less Clumpy

Written by: Piper Gray

Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Paterson

A woman applying The Mascara by Jones Road

One of the most indispensable tools in our makeup routine, mascara has the ability to transform and define our eyes. It makes lashes appear longer, fuller, and darker. It can liven up your complexion, dial up the drama, or simply polish up your look.

However, one of the most common frustrations with this beauty staple is its tendency to become clumpy, leading to spiky lashes instead of a smooth, natural-looking finish. It’s unsightly and, many times, uncomfortable.

Even if you have a longtime favorite mascara—its formula is smooth, its color stays put—you’ve no doubt run into some issues with lumpy texture and occasional blobs left on the lashes. It happens. (Clumping is not to be confused with smudging, but if your mascara is clumpy, then it’s more likely to smudge or at least rub off.)

What causes mascara to clump, and, more importantly, how can you fix it? Let’s look at how you can to ensure your lashes always look their best.

Understanding Why Mascara Clumps

Mascara's primary purpose is to enhance, but there are a few factors that can derail its efficacy and lead to obvious clumping.

  • -Drying Out: Opened mascara has a shelf life of about six months. Over time, the formula can dry out—think about how much you’re exposing it to air when you use it—and thicken, making it prone to clumping. Not only that, but using mascara past its expiration date creates a breeding ground for bacteria, posing a risk to your eye health.
  • -Formula Differences: Waterproof mascaras, for instance, tend to have a thicker consistency and are more likely to clump than their non-waterproof counterparts. This is because they are designed to resist moisture, which means they dry out faster.
  • -Application Techniques: The way you apply mascara can also compromise the texture of your mascara. If you tend to "pump" the wand in and out of the tube in an attempt to gather more product, you're introducing air, which will dry out the formula faster. Additionally, applying multiple coats of mascara without giving each layer time to dry can cause the lashes to stick together. 
  • -Your Mascara Wand: Over time, mascara residue builds up on the bristles, which can then transfer excessive product onto your lashes. If the wand isn’t periodically cleaned or is damaged, it won’t distribute the formula evenly.

Understanding these underlying reasons is the first step in combating clumpy mascara. The key is to be proactive in caring for the product and modifying your application (if you need to). As we'll explore, you can ensure your mascara glides on flawlessly every time with the right techniques and maintenance.

A swatch of The Mascara by Jones Road

Tips To Prevent Mascara From Clumping

Prevention is always more sustainable than a fix. By adopting a few essential mascara habits, you can significantly reduce the risk of clumps forming.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

Investing in a high-quality product like our Mascara is your first step in ensuring you’re minimizing the chance of clumping. This intensely pigmented black mascara not only differentiates, elevates, and amplifies lashes but also boasts a clean, cruelty-free, and nourishing formulation. It separates, lifts, and volumizes lashes in one fell swoop.

Its distinctive curved wand captures the inner corner lashes while extending the outer lashes. Flexible and gentle, the wand guarantees that every application stays free of clumps. 

Proper Application

Start at the base of your lashes and wiggle the wand slightly as you sweep it to the tips. This motion ensures an even distribution of the product. If you’re focusing too much on the tip, then chances are you’re depositing too much pigment at the end—leading to a spiky, clumpy appearance.

Remember, evenly layering is the key. Use a little—just one coat—for a more natural look, and layer on more if you're aiming for bold lashes.

Maintain Your Wand

Regularly cleaning the mascara wand helps remove dried product that might cause clumping. Get in the habit of wiping the bristles on the side of the tube, or even on a napkin, before using and prevent the chance of buildup.

Avoid Pumping the Wand

As we’ve said, take care to not pump the mascara wand in and out of the tube. Instead, swirl the wand inside the tube to collect the product, and slowly, gently remove from the tube. 

How Do I Fix Clumpy Mascara?

Even with the best intentions and best product, you might find yourself with clumps. 

Here's how to address them:

Use a Clean Spoolie

You can use a new or clean spoolie—like the one found in our Eyebrow Brush—to de-clump. Gently run it through your lashes to separate, removing excess product and spreading the mascara evenly. The trick is to do this while the mascara is still wet, so it's easier to manipulate.

Then, of course, clean the spoolie. We recommend using a gentle makeup remover or soap to fully remove any mascara residue.

The Importance of Complementary Makeup Products

While mascara is pivotal in defining the eyes, the other pieces of your makeup routine are just as important when it comes to a complete, put-together appearance. Choosing foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and even lipstick can profoundly impact your look and how your mascara performs. Even if it’s a no-makeup makeup look you’re after, all these elements are important to keep in mind.

The Best Eyeshadow being applied to a Jones Road model

Harmonize With Eye Shadows

Our Mascara comes in one hue, Pitch Black, and that’s by design—its inkiness acts as a neutral, no matter your eye color. 

So when it comes to choosing eyeshadows, it isn’t about matching your colors to your mascara; focus on your eye color or personal preference instead. 

Our Best Eyeshadow comes in both matte and shimmer options; for extra wattage, we like to top with Sparkle Wash to illuminate the lids.

The Right Eyeliner

Your eyeliner plays a significant role in framing your lashes. Opt for a pencil so you can control the precision and thickness, to enhance the lash line without overpowering it. Thin lines make lashes appear longer, while thicker lines give the illusion of volume. 

(Applying eyeliner may seem tricky at first, but if you’d like more guidance, we have some.)

Concealer and Foundation

Hide under-eye circles or redness to promote an even skin tone and minimize discoloration. 

The right foundation application ensures your mascara stands out against a flawless backdrop, and similarly, our Face Pencil offers undetectable coverage, keeping your eyes the focal point. 

(Pro tip: Apply your foundation first—you may find that you’ve sufficiently evened out your tone and don’t need the extra coverage concealer can provide.)

Balancing the Lips

If you decide to make a statement with dramatic, voluminous lashes by applying multiple coats of mascara, consider balancing the intensity with a neutral lip color or at least one that isn’t incredibly bright.

Apply a sheer layer of a creamy formula—our Lip Tint is made for that—or a lightweight pencil, like The Lip Pencil, in a neutral for all-over but subdued color. 

Blush and Highlight

If you want your eyes, and their lashes, to stand out, add highlighter, like our shimmery Just A Sec eyeshadow, to the brow bone and the inner corner of the eyes.  

Selecting a blush that complements your skin tone will give your skin a youthful radiance, making your eyes appear brighter and more alert. Even better (and easier), a pink blush suits everyone

Brush Maintenance
Beyond the mascara wand, maintaining all your makeup brushes is essential for flawless application. Regular cleaning prevents bacteria build-up and ensures that every product, be it foundation or eyeshadow, goes on smoothly.

The Bottom Line

At Jones Road, we believe that the magic of makeup lies not just in the products you choose but in the techniques you employ and the care you provide to your tools. Clumpy mascara can be a setback, but with the insights and tips above, you are well-equipped to achieve smooth, voluminous lashes. 

Investing in quality products, practicing regular maintenance, and perfecting your application methods ensures your mascara elevates your beauty routine every time. 

Shop the article:


The Mascara


What The Foundation


The Face Pencil

Just A Sec

The Best Eyeshadow

Diary / Beauty / Sep 26, 2023

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