Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for best Clinique mascaras

Whether you want to add length, volume, or definition, a good mascara can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of your lashes. If you wear contacts or have sensitive eyes, though, it’s important to use a high-quality formula that won’t irritate your eyes. Clinique mascaras are some of the best options on the market for your makeup bag.

Clinique is known for its gentle, non-irritating skincare and makeup products. In particular, Clinique mascaras are allergy-tested and ophthalmologist-tested, which means they’re less likely to irritate your eyes than other formulas. Clinique mascaras don’t skimp on performance, either. They’re available in various types depending on the effect you want to create, so you can get the exact look you’re after.

Clinique offers a lot of different mascaras, and in addition to getting the right formula, you also must find the right bristle type and wand shape for your eyes. In this guide, we provide the tips and information you need to find the best Clinique mascara.

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All of Clinique’s mascaras are free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrance.

Key considerations

Formula

Clinique offers mascara in several different formulas. Choose one based on the effect you want to create.

Lengthening mascara is formulated to make lashes appear longer. The formula smoothly coats the lashes from root to tip. It won’t make your lashes appear thicker, but you don’t have to worry about clumping as much. Lengthening mascara is the best option if you have short lashes and want them to appear as fluttery as possible.

Volumizing mascara is designed to make lashes appear thicker and fuller. The formula is usually buildable, so you can add as much volume as possible to ensure every lash is coated. The drawback to volumizing mascara is that it can sometimes look clumpy. It’s an excellent option for sparse lashes, though.

Curling mascara is meant for straight lashes that don’t curl easily and anyone who doesn’t like using a lash curler. The formula contains polymers that contract upon application to lift the lashes and give them a curled shape. The brush is usually curved to help encourage the shape, too. This mascara works especially well for straight lashes.

Defining mascara helps boost length and volume while separating the lashes for a fluttery look. It’s a good choice for short, straight lashes.

Mascara primer is actually a product you apply to your lashes before traditional mascara. It serves as a base coat and separates your lashes to prepare them for mascara application.

Bristle type

Clinique mascaras have either traditional nylon wire or molded plastic bristles. Each bristle type can work well, but the best one for you depends on the effect you desire.

Traditional nylon wire bristles usually pick up more mascara, which adds volume to the lashes. One or two coats is often all you need for truly dramatic lashes. On the other hand, molded plastic bristles are excellent for separating lashes and adding length. Because they don’t grab as much product, you may need a few coats to get the look you want.

Wand shape

The shape of a mascara wand also plays a role in how the mascara looks on the lashes. Clinique offers mascara wands in several shapes.

Pinecone wands: These are one of the most common Clinique wand types. They are exceptionally good at grabbing corner lashes to help them appear longer.

Thick bristle wands: Another common option from Clinique is the thick bristle wand. These work best for volumizing lashes.

Thin, straight wands: If you want to define your lashes by coating each individual lash, this type of wand is an excellent choice.

Curved wands: To help curl your lashes, a curved want may be the best choice.

Bottom lash wands: These wands are smaller and more precise to help neatly define the lower lashes.

Ophthalmologist tested

All of Clinique's mascara formulas are ophthalmologist tested. That means the makeup is safe for use around the eyes without irritation, which is especially important if you wear contact lenses.

Allergy tested

Many of Clinique’s mascara formulas are also allergy tested. That means the makeup is less likely to trigger allergic reactions.

If your mascara smudges on your skin, let it dry before removing it. Then, use a cotton swab to gently wipe it away.

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Features

Waterproof

Some Clinique mascaras offer a waterproof formula. These mascaras contain special ingredients that repel moisture so you are less likely to end up with black streaks down your face if you cry, sweat, or get caught in the rain. Waterproof mascaras don’t smudge either, which means you never have to worry about circles under your eyes during the day.

The drawback to waterproof mascara is that it can be difficult to remove. It can sometimes dry out your lashes, too.

Wear time

Like all mascaras, Clinique formulas can start to smudge or flake after a certain amount of time. The key is finding a mascara that offers a significant wear time before you begin to notice smudging under your eyes.

Most Clinique mascaras wear for at least 8 to 10 hours without smudging. Some formulas provide up to 24 hours of smudge-resistant wear time.

Color

Some Clinique mascaras are available in a single shade: black. However, you can also find Clinique mascaras in a very black shade or a black/brown shade.

For a classic look, black is your best bet. Extremely black mascara works well for evenings out, special occasions, and any time you want a dramatic look. Black/brown mascara has a softer effect for a natural look.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Don’t pump the wand into your mascara tube. This action ushers air into the tube that can introduce bacteria and also dry out the mascara.
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Accessories

Clinique eyeliner: Clinique Quickliner for Eyes
You can make your lashes look even thicker by lining your eyes with the right eyeliner. This one from Clinique is a favorite because it’s incredibly creamy, easy to apply, and transfer-resistant.

Clinique concealer: Clinique Even Better All-Over Concealer + Eraser
Keep the focus on your eyes by brightening any darkness under them with a creamy concealer. We love this one from Clinique because it contains vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and caffeine to make the skin appear more radiant. It also reduces under-eye puffiness.

Eyelash curler: Tweezerman Curl 60 Eyelash Curler
An eyelash curler can give your lashes even more oomph by curling them and making them appear longer and thicker. This one from Tweezerman is a real standout because it works for various eye shapes and features finger loops for a better grip.

Eyelash primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Lash Primer
To get the most from your mascara, it helps to start with a quality lash primer. This one from Smashbox conditions your lashes while also separating them to enhance definition.

Clinique mascara prices

Inexpensive: The most affordable Clinique mascaras are formulas meant for the bottom lashes. They generally come with smaller, thinner wands and don’t create a dramatic effect. You’ll pay between $13 and $18 for these mascaras.

Mid-range: Mid-range Clinique mascaras are basic lengthening, volumizing, curling, or defining formulas. They may have wire or plastic bristles and create a fairly dramatic effect. You’ll pay between $18 and $20 for these mascaras.

Expensive: The most expensive Clinique mascaras are usually high-end volumizing formulas. They typically have plastic bristles and create an extremely dramatic effect. You’ll pay between $20 and $23 for these mascaras.

If your mascara tends to smudge on your eyelid, hold a business card or a tissue behind your lashes while applying it.

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Tips

  • Excess product on the wand can lead to clumps. Wipe away the excess with a tissue to avoid this.
  • When applying mascara, start with the brush at your lash roots. Wiggle it back and forth slightly before pulling it through to the ends.
  • Apply multiple coats of mascara to get the length and volume you want, but don’t let the mascara dry between coats. Your lashes can become a bit brittle when the mascara dries, creating a risk of breakage.
  • If you want to curl your lashes, do so before applying mascara. Curling them when they are wet can damage them or even pull them out.
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Choose a mascara wand that matches the size of your eyes. If you have small eyes, a small, thin wand offers the precision you need. If you have large eyes, a larger wand allows you to apply the mascara more quickly.

FAQ

Q. Can I wear Clinique mascara with contact lenses?

A. Yes. Because the formulas are fragrance-free and ophthalmologist-tested, they are not likely to irritate your eyes.

Q. What’s the most effective way to remove waterproof mascara?

A. It’s best to use a dedicated eye makeup remover. Soak a cotton square or pad in the solution, and then press it to your eyelid for a minute or so. Wipe the cotton back and forth afterward to remove the mascara. If any lingers, wet another cotton pad with the makeup remover and repeat the process.

Q. How long does mascara last?

A. Mascara has the shortest shelf life of any makeup product because it can harbor bacteria that causes eye infections. Most mascaras expire after three to six months, but check the packaging for a specific expiration date.

 

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