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What exactly is mascara?
For a product, we wear routinely and so close to our eyes, it makes a lot of sense to know what's inside the tube! Basically when you break it down mascaras have five main ingredients:
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By changing the percentage of each ingredient, the final product will create a different effect. Waterproof, volumizing, lengthening, etc. - regardless of what is listed as the effect, the overall ingredient label will likely be pretty similar with just different concentrations of each ingredient.
The other thing that contributes to these properties would be how dense the bristles on the applicator brush are. The more densely packed the bristles the more likely it is a volumizing product.
In terms of whether or not this contributes to the clumping still boils down to product exposure to air resulting in drying out prematurely resulting in clumping.
If the bristles are dense, then more product can technically accumulate. However, if the product is well maintained this shouldn’t be an issue!
Why does mascara clump?
Mascara clumping - so many reasons why!
Overloading the applicator with product. New bottles, pumping the wand up and down(bringing air into the bottle to dry out the mascara faster), having excess product on the tip of the applicator, and not swiping the mascara on the edges of the bottle builds too much product on the wand. This will clump on your lashes! Wipe off excess on the side of the container before applying.
Applying too many coats. I have watched so many YouTube makeup tutorials (purely for research:)) - I notice that they routinely apply numerous repetitive coats of mascara to give the appearance of thicker lashes. This can be done but to avoid clumping it helps to allow a coat to dry before applying a new coat or changing the formula of mascara for each coat (for example lengthening types for the first coats and thickening for the next)
Only applying in one direction can lead to clumping- changing up the direction (upwards, downwards, zig-zag) will help avoid clumping from build-up of product in one direction
Expired mascara will dry out and clump. Once a new container is opened it is best to write the date on the side with a black sharpie. Toss it in 3 months. Two big reasons why- first it dries out and will clump. The second reason is that once you open a new mascara, bacteria can start to enter the bottle gradually over time. One of the most common ‘cosmetic injuries’ is accidentally jabbing the eye with the mascara wand (think of women putting it on while at red lights and in traffic) or accidentally scratching the cornea. If the mascara is particularly old the bacteria that gets into the eye can cause some damage!
Most mascara will last for 3 months but if it does start to dry out sooner you can add saline eye drops to the bottle to restore some moisture to reduce clumping.