Hair & Makeup

The Best Mascaras And Application Hacks, Recommended By The NET-A-PORTER Beauty Team

Mascara is arguably the most important item in your makeup bag, which is why we’ve rounded up the best buys and top tips for luscious lashes


Newby Hands, contributing global beauty director

“I love natural-looking, thick, velvety lashes and want more density and richness (rather than long length or curl) from my mascara, so some of my favorite formulas are the Westman Atelier Eye Love You Mascara and Sisley’s So Volume Mascara, both of which are real classics.

“Hack-wise, my best is from makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, who told me how you can change the shape of your eye while your mascara dries. If you’re trying to achieve more of an elongated cat’s eye, lightly press the side of your index or middle finger against the ends of the outer section of lashes while they’re still slightly wet. This will ‘set’ them at a near-45-degree angle before they dry, which creates a beautiful sweep of lashes. Or, for a wider-eye look, press the side of the finger against the top middle section of slightly wet lashes so that they set upwards when they dry – this technique really opens the eyes up and I find it more effective than using a lash curler.”

Malena Harbers, acting beauty editor

“I like dramatic, voluminous black lashes, as I don’t wear much eye makeup on a daily basis. I have long lashes, but they’re super-straight, so the only way to make them hold their curl is to use the Hourglass Eyelash Curler first and then apply many coats of waterproof mascara to set the shape. If, like me, you have straight lashes, a waterproof or water-resistant mascara is key, because the formula tends to be quick-drying, which means you can set added curl in place for longer.”

Keeks Reid, freelance beauty editor

“I naturally have pretty straight, thick, long lashes, so I’m always on the hunt for products that add curl. Whichever mascara I pick, I use an eyelash curler every day to get the shape I want. A makeup artist once suggested I blast my curler with a hairdryer on a warm setting for two seconds before using it, to help set and hold the curl – and that did seem to work, although I’m often too rushed to do this every day. Instead, I cheat by layering two types of mascara – first, I use a volumizing formula to add depth and lift at the root, then I sweep a few coats of a lengthening formula to build length and definition.”

Suzanne Scott, freelance beauty editor

“I have a slightly odd requirement when it comes to lashes, because I want them to be long enough to catch in the wind (and, yes, that is possible). I use a lash serum for growth and then layer up to three coats of lengthening mascara to boost them as far as possible. I also like my lashes to look super-glossy and be an inky-blue-toned black to complement my blue eyes. No one formula ever delivered the exact shade I like – until makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon shared a tip with me a few years back. She told me to apply an electric-blue mascara to lashes first, allowing it to dry for a few minutes, then to apply two coats of jet-black mascara over the top. If you have fair eyelashes, this trick is nothing short of transformative.”

Ava Welsing-Kitcher, freelance beauty editor

“My lashes are quite long, curly and dark, but they’re also on the fine side, so they only really come to life with a coat of mascara. I often opt for a brown shade for softer definition – although sometimes I go brown on the lower lashes and black on the upper for a more full-on look. But, whichever color I choose, I always stamp the very end of the brush along the upper roots to mimic the definition of eyeliner without having to actually use any. Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! Mascara lets me do that all-in-one motion thanks to a flat side that deposits mascara at the roots in one line, and a combed side to pull the formula up through to the ends. This is definitely a formula that gets better as it dries out slightly, so don’t be discouraged if the first few applications seem clumpy.”


The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown