Finesse your flutter. 

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Mascara is one of those things, for better or worse, that we do the exact same way every single day. Odds are we apply it the same way we did when we first started wearing mascara five, ten, fifty years ago. Odds are that is the same way we would watch our mother apply it in the mirror when we were still too young to wear mascara.

Swipe, wiggle, repeat—all the while looking down (or up!) with our mouth slacking open more than the town gossip at the grocery store. It’s a familiar scene. Southern women are nothing if not creatures of habit, especially when it comes to beauty. If it’s not broken…

But what if there is a better way?

After years and years of testing, we’ve settled on a set of game-changing mascara tips that will help your lashes hit the trifecta of length, volume, and curl. From application tips to formula hacks, these are just the thing to set any Southern woman aflutter with the most crazy-long, volume-packed lashes ever.

Here are the 9 ultimate mascara tricks every woman should know—and no, none of them are “twist, don’t pump.” We Southern gals are no amateurs.

Tip #1: Make sure your formula is fresh

Old, stale mascara is your first-class ticket to Clump City. The second you crack open a new tube, the clock starts ticking. A good rule of thumb is to replace your mascara every two (maybe three) months.

In a pinch? Place your tube in a glass of hot water to warm up and thin out the formula, or dilute it with a couple drops of Visine. These should be last-resort solutions only. Get a fresh tube, stat!  

Tip #2: Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle—but like this, not that  

Grind your way to traffic-stopping lashes. To get the best result, you ideally want most of the product to pump up the base of your lashes. Once you’ve achieved that, length comes easy-peasy.

Wiggle the brush back and forth quickly only on the base (or roots!) of your lashes. Next, swipe up in one big slow motion. This ensures the product is distributed evenly and ends up clump-free. Wiggling the entire swipe can be risky business.

Tip #3: Back that wand up, girl

Want your thickest, darkest lashes yet? Surprise your lashes with a one-two punch. Start by swiping regularly (outlined above) and then come at it from another direction: the backside. Use your wand to coat the backside of your lashes (as in, the part that pushes up against your eyelid). You’re making the most of previously unused territory, and you’ll instantly notice the difference.

Pro tip: Watch out for smudging! This might be the perfect time to cover your lid with a business card or plastic spoon to keep product from transferring to your eyelid while swiping.

Tip #4: Now focus on the tips, sis

You’ve pumped up the volume, now comes the final blow. Hold the bristles of your mascara brush right over the tips of your now-coated lashes. With quick and miniature swipes, apply more product to the very tip-tops of your lashes. This makes for the ultimate length booster.

Another pro tip: Remove excess product from the pointed end of your mascara brush (no clumps!) and go at the tips vertically.

Tip #5: Up your curling game

We’ve got more than one way to help you master the lash curler. First, we’re all guilty of rushing this seemingly superfluous step. Here’s the kicker: If you aren’t holding it for at least 8 to 10 seconds, that curl is going to go limp—and fast. Give it an extra few seconds, and take a breather. You need it.

Second, to really maximize your curling potential when you have a long night ahead, pull out your hair dryer and warm up your lash curler for 10 to 20 seconds (depending on your heat setting). What don’t we want: singed lashes. What do we want: insane curl that holds all night.

Tip #6: Crack open the baby powder

This is one of your mama’s old tricks—talc-free, of course! After applying one coat of mascara, dust baby powder (or translucent face powder) onto both sides of your lashes using a Q-Tip. Now you’ll be freaking out…because it looks terribly white and chalky. Don't worry. Apply another coat of mascara, and behold the thickest, most volumized lashes ever. They’re raven-black and ready to take some names.

Tip #7: Too much smudge? Try bending your wand

This hack is for those who need more control when applying mascara (no shame!). If nothing gets you down like messing up your makeup too often with mascara smudging, follow these steps to bend your mascara wand 90°.

Hint: Keep from permanently damaging your wand by purchasing disposable mascara wands.

Tip #8: Know how to layer, and we’re not talking about two coats

The day we learned the power of using two different mascara formulas at once was nothing short of life-changing. We’re not saying it needs to be an everyday thing (who has the time?), but nothing will customize your flutter like picking the perfect two formulas to layer on your lashes.

Start with a mascara that’s equipped with a thin brush for lash separation and base length. We recommend Glossier Lash Slick or L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara.

Then it’s time to go big. Pick a volumizing formula that will pump up your already-separated, clump-free lashes. We’re loving L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara and Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara.

Find your power couple, and your lashes will forever be grateful.

Tip #9: Special occasion? Grab the primer

If you’re too nervous to break out the baby powder, go the easier route. You can find mascara primers that are designed to prep your lashes—with both length and volume—before even applying your mascara. We’re partial to cult-fave Diorshow Maximizer 3D Triple Volume Plumping Lash Primer, but Covergirl Lash Blast Amplify Primer makes a killer drugstore substitute.

WATCH: 9 Eye Makeup Mistakes That Are Secretly Making You Look Older

Follow these mascara tips and tricks to seriously upgrade your lash game. More is more, right? 

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