Mascara Cocktailing 101: Makeup Artists Explain How to Get It Right

by | Jun 15, 2023 | Beauty, Makeup

Woman applying mascara in a mirror

It’s basically a dupe for lash extensions.

InStyle: If there’s one piece of advice we hear from makeup artists time and time again, it’s “less is more.” Contouring? Strategic placement and uniform blending usually provide better results than packing on too much pigment. Shading those brows? Precise pencil strokes can be key for a balanced arch. But TikTok’s latest trend makes a case for being as extra as possible when it comes to application: Enter mascara cocktailing.

The rationale behind the technique seems simple enough: Layer on volumizing, lengthening, and curling mascaras to help your lashes reach their maximum potential. We hit up some of our favorite makeup artists for their take on the trend, and they’re all for bringing on the excess when it comes to creating fluttery lashes — with some caveats, of course. Here, we asked for their pro tips for how to mascara cocktail correctly.

What Is Mascara Cocktailing? 

Don’t worry, there’s no master mixology or science fair-style formula blending required. Mascara cocktailing simply entails layering different mascaras that offer different benefits to curate your own perfect lash look.

“Some formulas are created for volumizing, while others are great for definition or to comb and define after you’ve established your desired volume,” explains makeup artist Vincent Oquendo, who gives makeovers to the likes of Florence Pugh, Jenny Ortega, and Lily Collins. Mascara cocktailing can also help achieve a more dramatic look without the hassle of applying false lashes.

“It gives you a more of a 3-D effect,“ says makeup artist Niki M’nray, adding that mascara cocktailing an especially handy tool for those who aren’t open to wearing falsies or lash extensions. It’s also a technique many makeup artists keep in their repertoire to satisfy any look.

“I love it, and would recommend it 100 percent” says Quendo, noting that cocktailing allows for a custom effect depending on your desired effect. “I have been using this trick for many years to create different textures on my clients’ lashes.”

How to Cocktail Mascara

Sure, the technique can be pretty straightforward: Just apply two or three mascaras in layers until you reach the volume, curl, and length your heart desires. But our pros offered up some extra tips to help you pile on the pigment without veering into clumpy territory.

“My top recommendation is to layer and take your time,” says Oquendo. His personal process involves three tools: a Tweezerman lash curler, a lash comb, and Lashify’s Blow Speed Dryer. “Curl your lashes from root to tip, then apply your first layer of mascara and comb through. Then, use your Lashify drying tool. It puffs air on your lashes and sets your mascara faster so your curl won’t drop,” he says, adding that the tools will help cut down time when mascara cocktailing. He pairs Lancôme Monsieur Big Volumizing Mascara with Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara to amp up the volume and length.

Curling and combing are two cocktailing steps M’nray also co-signs. “Curl the lashes first. Then apply a few coats, comb them through, and reapply and repeat until you get the desired effect,” she says.

Since mascara cocktailing means multiple layers of formula will end up on your lashes, the risks of flakes and fallout is higher. M’nray also offers a tip on how to avoid sacrificing a flawless complexion in the name of big, bad lashes: “I like to wear a little concealer around my eyes, and I make sure to use a loose powder around my eyes to prevent the area from getting greasy throughout the day. [That] prevents my mascara from bleeding,” she explains. She typically reaches for a combination of Maybelline Great LashL’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara, and Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara to create her lash looks.

Bottom line? Mascara cocktailing offers more for your lashes than a single mascara alone — and with application this simple, there’s no reason not to try it.


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