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Mascara Cocktailing Is Super Trendy Right Now — How To Find Your Menu

Young Woman Applying Mascara
Image by Lucas Ottone / Stocksy
November 11, 2022
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Fancy a fluttery, fluffy set of lashes? Plenty of good-for-you mascaras fit the bill, yet each formula typically serves one lash goal: length, volume, definition, curl, etc. But what if we told you that you could combine forces and wind up with your most spidery, luscious lashes yet? 

Thanks to TikTok (what else?), beauty fans have been cocktailing their mascara formulas and sharing their favorite pairings online—but you shouldn't just choose two lash-enhancing products at random. Below, we tapped a makeup artist on how to curate the best mascara menu.

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What is mascara cocktailing? 

Like many other beauty TikTok tips, mascara cocktailing has actually been a makeup artist trick for years. "Mixing and matching mascara is something that's been done forever, but I do love the cute 'cocktail' analogy," notes makeup artist Jenny Patinkin. "Some mascaras are formulated for length, some for volume, some for curl, and some for extended wear. Applying your own mascara cocktail can help you tick all the boxes you could possibly want."

Want to thicken up your lashes but also crave some doll-like length? Apply a lengthening formula underneath a volumizing product to achieve all of your doe-eyed dreams. Looking for lashes so lifted they kiss your brow bone yet fluffy enough to resemble falsies? Pair a thickening tube with a curl-enhancing product. You get the idea.

Of course, clean mascaras themselves have become much more elevated lately, with innovative formulas that rival the drama you'd once only get from a traditional tube. "You can much more easily find one product that will do everything you want it to," notes Patinkin, but you can always cocktail for some extra oomph.

How to layer your formulas. 

Now, don't just layer any ol' mascara and expect sky-high lashes. Mascara cocktailing requires a bit of a learning curve, as not all products pair well together. For example, "I like to apply waterproof mascara over regular mascara when I'm doing red carpet or bridal makeup because it helps with wear time, but applying waterproof mascara under regular mascara can make the lashes brittle and stiff," explains Patinkin. (FYI: Layering regular mascara underneath a waterproof formula also makes removal a breeze at the end of the day.)

"I also don't recommend trying to cocktail with tubing mascara since it'll likely make your lashes look clumpy, and it'll be more challenging to wash off at the end of the day," she continues. Tubing mascaras, if you're unfamiliar, create teeny polymer "tubes" around each individual lash to encourage separation and prevent smudging.

In terms of the best mascara "cocktails" to try, Patinkin recommends seeking out two formulas with the same base ingredient; that way, you know they'll play nice together. For example, Tower28's MakeWaves Lengthening + Volumizing Mascara and MOB Beauty's Volumizing Mascara both contain a base of carnauba wax, yet each comes with its own unique perks: Tower28's formula has Aquaflex Technology that memorizes the natural bend of your strands and holds their shape, while MOB Beauty's brush is designed to increase volume by 30%. Layer one on top of the other, and voilà: fluffy, curly, conditioned lashes with just a few coats. It's Patinkin's personal favorite pairing: "When you put them together, it's a home run," she affirms.

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The takeaway. 

If you want to give your lashes a little something extra, try doubling up on your two favorite mascaras. As long as they have the same base ingredient (beeswax, carnauba wax, botanical butters, etc.), you can mix and match as you please.

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