5 Mascara Hacks: Do They Work?

Y'all--this post is SIX months in the making.

I told y'all yesterday, I am extremely thorough when it comes to reviewing and testing beauty products.

So today I'm testing out 5 of the top hacks and myths for mascara, longer lashes, fuller lashes and more.

#1--"Using a lash curler doesn't make a difference."

I hear this all.the.time, but it's pretty much from anyone who doesn't use them! As you can see in the pic above, eye lash curlers really do make a difference. It's just a matter of finding the one that fits your eye. I like lash curlers that are a bit larger for my lashes, like Sheseido, Shu Uemura, Kevyn Aucoin, or Surrat. Japanesque makes a great small lash curler if you want to work on a small area of lashes,  like just curling the outer half. They are pricey but work best on my eyes. For drugstore, I like Tweezerman and Revlon. If you aren't seeing a difference, you need to change eye lash curlers.

#2--"Invert your lash curler for bigger lashes!"

via thebeautydepartment.com
How many of you have seen this hack? But does it work?

It certainly curls lashes, but it looks the exact same as using a lash curler the normal method. I have gotten these results every time, regardless of the lash curler brand.

#3--"Use baby powder to make lashes look longer and fuller."

I have tried this with baby powder, eye shadow (matte, satin, shimmer), setting powder (translucent, brightening, skin tone), and bronzer (matte and shimmer). Sometimes the lashes looked a little clumpy, but there was usually no noticeable difference. And sometimes my eyes were irritated from the products. Plus, the powder is tricky to apply. I say use a lash primer if needed.

#4--"Add eye drops to an old mascara to revive it."

Does this work? Yes, as you can see above. BUT! BUT BUT! There are a few warnings coming up. 1-You must add eye drops, contact solution or a few drops of distilled water. Regular water will exacerbate bacteria growth.
2-Because I'm a nerd, I did bacteria tests on petri dishes for old, new, and revived mascara (testing was repeated more than once, obviously). I told y'all I was thorough! I found that even with distilled water, there was bacteria growth the longer the modified mascara sat. So if you want to use this method, I wouldn't use the modified mascara more than a week or two. Mascara should generally be thrown out after 3 months.
3-Adding water will alter the formula of the mascara. Sometimes this is a good thing, since you are reviving dried out mascara. And sometimes it will cause the mascara formula to break down, to clump, to not be as effective (this depended on the amount of drops added), smear easily, etc. Definitely don't try this with waterproof mascaras. It really depends on the brand as to how the results will be. I tested this method on 18 different brands of high and low end mascaras over the past year, and while all of them gave me wetter mascara than before, it just wasn't worth it for me.

#5--"Rub coconut oil on your lashes to make them longer and softer." "Coat your lashes with castor oil to make them longer."

Remember in the first sentence when I said this post was 6 months in the making? Well, after 6 months, here are my results. I don't see a dang bit of difference! And I am glad I no longer have to do this challenge!

Note: I did this on upper lashes only. For half of my lashes on one eye, I used a clean spooley (mascara wand) and would paint half of my lashes with castor oil. The other half I would warm a bit of coconut oil between my fingers and rub on my lashes. First of all, your lashes fall out every two weeks, so I don't see how this does a bit of good. I do see how it softens them if brittle lashes are a concern. If you want longer lashes, Latisse works. Ask your physician about it to see if you are a candidate. For what it's worth, I have tried 3 lash-growing serums, and they all made my lashes fall out quickly or they had zero difference. One I swear somehow made my lashes smaller and brittle.

If any of these hacks somehow worked for you, that's great. But they didn't work for me.

What makeup, hair (or more mascara) hacks would you like to see tested next?
What's your favorite mascara?
Do these hacks work for you? 

Extra Elle:
  • Did you celebrate Earth Day? The 5 yr old I take care of (who has changed her name, she's decided) took my Earth Day leaf mosaic I made during our art time to her class! She then insisted the teacher hang it up. "It was appreciated by all," she said. This kid is too much.
  • This week has flown by for me! I can't believe it's Thursday but I am NOT complaining!
  • $100 to SEPHORA! Enter today.
  • PS: If you comment "great tips" in the comment section I'm totally giving you the Stank Eye! #readthepost


  1. I haven't tried any of these but I've heard about the baby powder and the oil thing! Too bad there wasn't much of a difference, especially after 6 months! right now I'm loving the Loreal telescipic shocking extensions

  2. I use olive oil and castor oil mix...i would say it made a little differenc eby making lashes healthier so they look fuller(Not actual growth ) :) thanks for sharing this..

  3. Love your approach, Elle! The whole experiment with bacteria was so impressive (I love doing things like that such food :) ) I've actually tried using castor oil on my lashes a very long time ago (VERY long time) This is one of the natural remedies that has been popular in my country for decades, so my mum always had some oil capsules around. Mind you, first thing she told me, after explaining the benefits, is to always use them at night. x

  4. You are thorough. I've wondered about the upside down last curler thing, but it looks so tricky. You're right, I don't see a difference.

  5. lol this is funny it's good to know some do work like the eyedrop.


  6. Well, you've officially sold me! Sounds like I need to go out and buy an eye lash curler! And good to know about the eye drop thing!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  7. omg this was so helpful.. i liked how u cleared the misunderstanding we have fr some hacks like these!!

  8. So good about the eye drop!!! I need all the eyelash help I can get. 6 months?? You're so dedicated. Thank you sweetie!!!


  9. The only "hack" out of these i've known is the curler - the eye drops is a great one I'm going to try!!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  10. Great post, thanks for sharing! I really liked seeing the side by side comparisons.

  11. I have always wondered about that lash curler thing -- I wasn't really able to see a difference but thought maybe I was doing it wrong.

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

  12. Great tips! :D LOL...
    Anyhoo, good to know about the bacterial growth on the modified mascara! EEk! I've been meaning to do the eye drop thing.

  13. I didn't even know half of these were 'hacks'! I do use the water in mascara on occasion when I can't get to the store immediately, but now I know if I have to do that, eye drops are much better!

  14. I loved the post, and I didn't know anything on Invert the lash curler or coconut and castor oil or adding eye drops to revive the mascara. And it was Ok not knowing about it, as I can see! Because of bacteria! I am not going to do it, it's really dangerous! Good that you told that. I am a contact lenses wearer and I need to be very careful about bacteria!

  15. Great tips Elle! I didn't know of any of these except I do use a curler some times.I have such deep-set eyeballs i kind of feel at a loss sometimes. Definitely going to try to make my mascara last longer!

  16. This is a valuable post. We all wonder about these tricks and now we know the answers. You're a reliable source of advice in an ocean of bad information. Thank you for that. I'm actually focusing more on my eyelashes now than before since age thins them out terribly.

  17. Great tips!
    Ahem, just jocking...
    I can't believe you tested the wettened mascaras on petri disces. What happens if you use sterile saline solution? Would the salt alter the mascara formula?
    I am afraid of trying a lash curler. I am afraid I'll tear off all my lashes- I am that clumsy...

  18. Your mascara looks perfect!!!! Thank you for sharing those tips!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  19. Absolutely love this post, actually I love any post that got to do with mascaras and eyelashes. LOL! I have heard all these so called tips/hacks and so glad that you broke it all down and showed us they don't make much differences. I am absolutely loving Maybelline Falsies and Lash Sensational, both are the best on my short, sparse and stick straight lashes.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  20. Omg this post is amazing! I have naturally curly eyelashes so I've never really used an eyelash curler but I definitely want to try it now! Love that you even tested the bacterial growth! ;)

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  21. Woah, this was amazing Elle!! We heard about coconut oil and good to hear that it doesn't make a difference. Once less thing for us to worry about lol. Loved this so, so much. Keep up the amazing work love!!

    xx 365Hangers

  22. I have to say I am guilty of #1! I've only used a lash curler once in my life, decided it didn't make a difference, and stopped using it! Now after reading this I want to go give it another try! I also heard about that coconut oil trick to condition your lashes and I'm glad that's just a myth because it seems like a huge pain to do that everyday! Thanks for doing all the legwork for me! xx

  23. I've never heard some of these hacks... now I'll have to try.
    I curled my lashes today because I have a hanging lash that is poking me in the eye... I forgot how well it works to pump those lashes up.

  24. I have never thought about trying to invert curl my lashes!!! That is pretty genius! Nor have I considered trying coconut oil on them. It makes perfect sense since it is awesome for like everything else. Why not lashes too?!?! Do you have any hacks for getting rid of dark circles under the eyes? Nothing works for me!

  25. Love the idea to add oil to revive mascara! Have you tried the Clinique last primer? It's kind of amazing ;)

  26. I love this type of post!! I have definitely tried some of these too and just like you they either didn't work or it was just too much of a hassle to do. However, my lashes on my left eye pretty much broke off after I got falsies put on for a makeover, and I have been using a sweet little concoction of different potions and I can say it's working. I'm going to do a blog post on it soon, so I didn't wanna give it away just yet! :)

  27. I so did the contact solution trick last week. On my bare minerals mascara that got dried out from traveling. going to have to try these other tips out.

  28. I love how dedicated you are to proving/disproving these hacks! I've seen a few of them floating around and wondered if they were true- now I know!

    Confession: I don't use an eyelash curler. My lashes are pretty naturally curly- I think that makes me a jerk or something, because when I tell people this they make this face like, "UGH. YOU." Haha. :)

    Le Stylo Rouge

  29. I agree with you, an eyelash curler helps curl your lashes 100%. I've been using an eyelash curler since I first started wearing makeup because my mom always used one. I think it helps to pump the eyelash curler. Jaclyn Hill mentioned in in a video so I clamp and unclamp about 9 times on each side so that the crease isnt so bent. I think it really helps. Thank god you tried some of these tests and not me lol I don't have the patience!

  30. love this so much! thanks for the eyelash curler drugstore recommendations, you have absolutely convinced me. i will buy one in may (not shopping this month!) and i actually think the regular looks better than the inverted way.
    that is so creepy and good to know about the adding water and whatnot to mascara. i think i'll steer clear of that hack!!
    i stabbed myself in the eye this morning with my mascara wand and i literally cried and couldn't open my eye for 5 minutes. i think i need to take a break from mascara, haha.

  31. So basically none of these hacks make a difference. My only take away is to curl your lashes. I'm going to try essential oils in my mascara. I've read good things about lavender!!!

  32. Thanks for trying these and letting us know how they work! The only one I've ever tried is the powder and it didn't make much of a difference for me either!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  33. Wow, thanks Elle! Very in depth post. I'm also a believer in eyelash curlers. I had never heard about the inverted method before...sounds like a way to hurt myself, so I'm glad it doesn't work! My friend told me recently (she learned from a beauty guru such as yourself) that if you wait 45 minutes for the mascara to dry and curl your lashes with a clean curler, you get a more dramatic curl. Have you tried this?

  34. Seriously, I need to get myself an eyelash curler. I'm a 26 year old woman - how do I not own one?! Lol. Any suggestions for a good first one that won't break the budget?

    1. Revlon has a great one! She mentioned it above in the post. (;

  35. I agree using my eyelash curler does really help. Distilled water is pretty much all we use, so it's great to know about the #4 tip. Great post!
    Luxe Accessories

  36. I love seeing the before and after pictures, and I'm glad to know that curling lashes really does make a difference :)

  37. Ah! What great tips!!!! I'm going to have to start doing some of these when I put on my mascara!

  38. hmmm... dont think I could do the upside down curler. That looks like I might injure myself! haha... Great tips! www.GlamKaren.com

  39. I never thought eyelash curlers worked, but I must not have a good one. I will have to try one of the ones you recommended. I have a mascara, lash addiction so I loved this!

  40. This is amazing! I love this post. My boyfriend's daughter always tells me how you must cut hair for it to grow! Where do people get these things???

    I'm definitely a curler AND a primer user. Both make a huge difference. Thank you for testing all these hacks!!



  41. Girl, you ARE thorough! I can't believe you were rubbing your eyelashes with oil every day for 6 months! Glad to know that most of these are false, and you're also well on your way to convincing me I need to get an eye-torture-device, um, I mean eyelash curler :)

  42. I admire you for testing this for 6 months! Very interesting stuff you shared!!

  43. How cool! Ive been really into coconut oil and all it's uses lately so Im glad to know I don't have to try the one for lashes! Makes me wonder what it really is good for haha! This is a great post, thanks for doing this!


  44. My favorite mascara (right now) is the L'Oreal Miss Manga in blackest black. I have very fair eyelashes. Without mascara they all but disappear. Have you seen a person without eyelashes before? It's frightening.

    I'm very fortunately to have very curly eye lashes naturally. I haven't curled mine in years.

    I think I'd love to see a post about brightening up your under eye area. Totally made a comment about it yesterday. (; My under eyes are so dull and my oily skin makes it dang near impossible to keep product on. Maybe like high end and drugstore products? On different skin types? I mean I know how you love to do research. (;

  45. sounds awesome...definitely trying them now!

  46. omg great tips, follow for follow?!

    HAHA JK! I read the post. I hate comments like that ^^ I'm like. k. um. why. are. you. here?! but anyways, I use coconut oil on my eyes to hopefully prevent future wrinkles and I always did wonder If maybe they made my lashes just a bit longer. Here's a fun fact- I can ONLY wear water proof mascara. If I use normal mascara, my eyelashes won't stay curled and they'll go straight. but when I use waterproof, they stay curled all day long. and then I use coconut oil to remove it. yay!

    ps I am going to email you about collabing- stay tuned!

  47. Wow girl, you are extremely thorough and these results are impressive. I loved reading through this because I love mascara and I try a heck of a lot of it (beauty reviews, etc) so I'm really loving reading about these hacks. Thanks for sharing! xx, Ada


  48. you are superwoman. this post is amazing!!! I've never been a believer in eye lash curlers ... but that's because i didn't think i needed them! I'm running to the store now!

    xoxo, Elena Michelle

  49. Thanks for writing this post…it is good to know what works and what doesn't! I can't live without my lash curler!

    Brooke | www.kbstyled.com

  50. i use a lash curler and love it. even before applying mascara, the curled lashes open up my eyes. definitely works.

  51. Congratulations! I'd love to know what you think of Eye Envy. I feel as though it's making a difference for me but I don't have pictures to truly compare

  52. Love this! I was hoping you didn't know the eyelash trick so that I could post it on here and feel all knowledgeable haha! I love Revlons tube mascara... I feel like it makes it much longer. What do you think?
    The Miller Affect

  53. Thank you for sharing! I definitely can't live without an eyelash curler, it really does make a huge difference. Haven't tried the coco oil, I used it for everything else, why not put it on my lashes :)


  54. I LOVE my eyelash curler! it makes a huge difference every time! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  55. What a great post! 6 months in the making, wow! I'm in the group that thinks eyelash curlers don't work for me but I guess that means I need a new/different one. :)


    To Hell In A Handbag

  56. Great post! Loved it all, thanks for doing the work.

  57. It blows my mind all the research you put into your blog! I wouldn't even know how to begin with petri dish. And 6 months of testing the castor/ coconut oil?? You rock for doing that for all of us! I didn't use an eye lash curler for a long time but discovered the difference it made AND I tried your suggestion of curling, mascara, curling, mascara instead of curling both and then adding mascara and it made a huge difference!

  58. Great post! Most of these just seem like way too much work for me. lol I have never tried to revive a dried out mascara, but I definitely won't now.

  59. Girl, you are thorough. Thank you for subjecting your lashes and yourself to such dedicated experimentation. I've always wondered about the castor oil thing. Good to know it might not be all that effective after all. :-)

  60. Do you by chance know what eye shadow you are wearing in the "powder / no powder" photo? It's so pretty!

    Also, you might have shared this before, but what is your favorite mascara for thickness? I have super long eyelashes, but they are pretty thin. I haven't found a mascara that thickens well without clumping majorly. Advice?

  61. Wow, the eye lash curler really does make a difference! That contraption has always freaked me out a bit. We'll see if I can get passed that!

    The Closet by Christie


  62. I cant believe this took your 6 months of research, you are such a dedicated blogger Elle! I've heard of almost all of these tricks and I'm glad you showed if they worked and didn't work.


  63. THANK YOU! I too tried TBD's advice with the inverted curler and saw no difference! I've always been curious about the coconut oil on lashes hack - thank you for dispelling it because it really didn't sound like a lot of fun! "It was appreciated by all." - that is hysterical coming from a 5 year old!! :D Thank you for testing so thoroughly (A PETRI DISH?!?! I am AMAZED!!). I did the eye drops trick once on a Kevyn Aucoin mascara that dried up after about a month. It did work, but the formula was different and I didn't like it as much. I say stick to affordable mascaras so it's no biggie to buy a new one every 3 months! :)


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