15 Tips to Stop Mascara & Liner from Smudging & Flaking

Hello Friends!

MANY of you have asked me for a list of mascaras and eyeliners that don't smudge or flake, so I've spent the past 6 weeks testing products, tips, and compiling the definitive list of advice to stop smudging and flaking for good. Lezz get to it.


Problem #1 Mascara Smudging:

1. Switch to waterproof. In some cases, simply switching to a waterproof formula may be all you need!

2. Lower the amount of oil on your face. If waterproof isn't enough, or if you prefer non-waterproof formulas, it's time to look into the oil level of your face. Often people that struggle with smudging have oilier skin types, and waterproof mascara is not the same as oil proof. Are you wearing a moisturizer that's too emollient? Try a lightweight lotion or gel instead. Set your foundation (or even just your face if you don't wear foundation) with an oil absorbing powder or use blotting papers, especially near the eyes.

3. Curl your eyelashes before applying mascara. And either apply minimal or no mascara to your bottom lashes, to minimize the amount of mascara making direct contact with your skin. If you have trouble getting your lashes to stay curled, blast the curler with the blow dryer for a few seconds before using it. It only takes a couple seconds to warm it up, so please don't burn your eyeball off.

4. Use a top coat. If you're still struggling, or if you have a non-waterproof mascara that you love try a waterproofing top coat! I don't know why there aren't more of these on the market, they are so clever!

Side note: Either everyone is smoking crack, or mascara batches are inconsistent. It could go either way at this point. Even the highest rated mascaras still had lots of complaints and reviews contradicting each other. I think the reason (crack aside) is that everyone has very different lashes, and is looking to do different things. Some want volume, some want length,  etc and not every formula works for everyone. So, in my recommendations today I'm just giving you my personal favorite mascaras for a natural bumped up lashes look. For reviews of the best mascaras from each class (volumizing, curling, etc) stay tuned for a future post. 

Top Picks:

Drugstore Waterproof Mascara: Maybelline Full n' Soft Waterproof

High End Waterproof Mascara: Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara

Setting Powder: E.L.F. High Definition Powder

Blotting Papers: Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

Eyelash Curler: Shiseido Eyelash Curler

Top Coat: Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat

Problem #2 Mascara Flaking

1. Replace your mascara. Mascara has a shorter shelf life than some people realize. If you're having issues with flaking a few months in but did not originally, it's probably time to replace it. 

2. Try a different mascara. I know this sounds like the worst tip ever, which it kind of is, but I'm surprised at how many people I talk to that haven't done this. The fact is, some mascaras are just crappier than others. 

3. Use less. Too much product is a big contributor to flakiness, and unfortunately most mascaras blob out way too much product on the brush, so scrape off the excess before using.

Top Picks (for waterproof recommendations see above):

Drugstore Non-Waterproof Mascara: Maybelline Full n' Soft Original

High End Non-Waterproof Mascara: DiorShow Mascara

Problem #3 Eyeliner Smudging

1. Use a long lasting waterproof pencil. If smudging is an issue, say goodbye to regular pencil liners. Switch to a waterproof pencil.

2. Use a gel, creme, or liquid liner. The very best long lasting pencil still won't be as smudge resistant as a gel, creme, or liquid.

3. Use an eyeshadow primer. If you have oily smudgy eye makeup, eyeshadow primers are the bee's knees. Apply a thin layer underneath your eyeliner.

4. Set your liner with a powder. Pat a little translucent powder over your liner to lock it in, or if you like a smokey look, use an eyeshadow in a color similar to your liner shade.

Side note: Remember when I had that whole schpeal about how mascara reviews are subjective? That does not apply to eyeliners. These are universally awesome and the absolute highest rated in their classes. If you've tried one of them and it didn't work out, you probably need to switch your formula type (from pencil to gel for example.) My only word of caution is that sometimes liquids are tricky to work with. 

Top Picks:

Drugstore Pencil: Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner

High End Pencil: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Drugstore Gel or Creme: L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner 

High End Gel or Creme: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner

Drugstore Liquid: Maybelline Studio Master Precise Liquid Liner

High End Liquid Eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

Eyeshadow Primer: NYX Proof It Eyeshadow Primer Base

Problem #4 Eyeliner Flaking

1. Use an eyeshadow primer. Using an eyeshadow primer helps keep all the liner stuck where it should be on the eyeball parts of your face.

2. Try a different liner. Again, kind of a non-tip, but a surprising number of people don't try this. Check out one of the liners I recommended above, maybe your current liner is just a friggin tool.

3. Use a clean brush. If you use a brush to apply your liner, make sure that it's clean. Sometimes flaking is caused by using a brush with particles of old liner in it. You can use rubbing alcohol, soap and water, or brush cleaner to clean your brushes as needed. 

4. Replace your liner. The same tip from mascara flaking, is your product too old? Sometimes liners just dry out. Make sure that as soon as you finish using it you seal the container shut, and if it gets dry and flaky, replace it. 

Top Picks:

See above.

What are you favorite and least favorite eyeliners and mascaras? Any tips that I've missed? I want to hear! Comment below, and If you have any questions ask away! I love to answer them for you.

For this week's giveaway, I'm sending one of you my 3 personal favorite products from this post:

  • Maybelline Full n' Soft Mascara

  • L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner

  • Wet n' Wild Eyeshadow Primer

To be entered to win just:

1. Subscribe to my blog and/or my youtube channel.

2. If you have Facebook and/or Twitter "like" my Facebook page Katelyn R. Galloway and follow me on Twitter @KGallowayMakeup and

3. Share this post with the hashtag #noidontwantnosmudge on Facebook and/or Twitter. 

Easy as 1, 2, 3! For the greatest chance to win subscribe to my youtube channel AND blog, and share and follow on Facebook, Twitter, AND Instagram (@katelynrachelgalloway) One lucky winner will be announced next Monday, good luck!

Congrats to last week's winner Rachelle!