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There’s not much more annoying than those crumbly, little black bits that find their way underneath your eyes, onto your cheekbones and then ruin the rest of your flawlessly made up face.

Yep, we’re talking about pesky mascara fallout. Not many days go by when we don’t apply the black, magical stuff and, for the most part, their lash-lengthening, thickening properties leave our lashes looking flutter-worthy in a mere swipe.

But, when, after just a few hours we look like we’ve spent a few rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson, we start to question why on earth we bother applying the stuff. 

Well, have no fear, it turns out there are actually ways to stop this annoying mascara mishap. All you have to do is follow these five steps and you’ll stay fallout free all day long…

 1. You’re not leaving enough time between your coats 

Steer clear from loading up your lashes, with more than one coat, too quickly. If you don’t leave time for each coat to dry you’re in for some serious flaking. You can apply another coat when your lashes are slightly sticky, but no sooner. 

 2. Your entire eye area isn’t dry

It probably seems obvious not to apply your mascara to wet lashes, but it’s not just the lashes you need to look out for. Any area around your eyes which is wet – whether it’s because you’ve just applied an eye cream or you’re getting ready in a rush and you just got out of the shower, moisture is going to transfer onto your lashes and make your mascara lose its grip. 

This is particularly important for your bottom lashes, even wet foundation will make your bottom lashes smudge, so wait a while before applying your mascara and always finish with a setting powder. 

3. Your mascara is too old or too dry 

Makeup has sell-by dates. Ideally you should think about throwing away your mascara anywhere between three to six months after you first opened it. Old formulas start to clump. The longer you use mascara the more chance it has for air to get inside, which causes the formula to lose its moisture and become really dry - a one-stop way to flakes. 

 4. You’re using a product with lash fibres 

While they are touted as false lashes in a tube, mascaras that contain lash-lengthening fibres are likely to leave pesky pigment under your eyes and on your cheeks. If you’re a sucker for them, be sure to seal the deal with a waterproof mascara over the top. 

5. If all else fails… 

If your mascara still isn’t cutting it then it’s time to switch to a waterproof formula. Or, if you can’t bear waving goodbye to your fave, lash-building formula, at least get your hands on a lash primer, like Estée Lauder Little Black Primer, £21 (opens in new tab). The black formula helps your mascara stay put, plus you can use it on top for super smudge-proof, flake-proof peepers. 

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.