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Celebrity makeup artists swear by this easy hack for boosting the length and volume of lashes

The "mascara cocktailing" technique has been popping up all over social media.
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

No matter if you're attempting a "no-makeup-makeup" complexion or are going full glam, no look feels complete without a few swipes of mascara. But if you're hoping to take your lashes to the next level and give them a boost in length and volume, we may have found the hack for you.

"Mascara cocktailing" is an application technique that's been popping up all over social media lately, as a way to give lashes extra volume, length and definition. But it's nothing new, makeup artists have been doing it on celebrities for years and swear by the technique. So, we tapped two pros to learn exactly what it's all about and whether you should be trying it.

What is mascara cocktailing?

Mascara cocktailing involves combining different mascara formulas and wands to create a custom finish for your lashes, celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli tells Shop TODAY.

"We're used to using the one, one-size-fits-all method, but I think people are finding more and more that you can actually customize the finish of your lashes by using these different types of mascaras and combining them in a way that creates the lash that you really want," he says.

Say you're using your favorite volumizing mascara. When you apply a few layers of just that one mascara, you'll notice a difference in the volume of your lashes, you're not necessarily going to get that dramatic length or definition that you're after as well. But when you layer different kinds of mascaras — like those that tout additional benefits like curling or lengthening — you'll get a new finish, because the brush is combing the lashes in a different way, Scibelli says.

"So, if you have a curling brush, it's going to curl [your lashes] over the mascara that you use under it," he says.

"There's definitely a benefit to it," celebrity makeup artist Tommy Napoli says. If you're all about your lashes and you only have a few minutes to do your makeup, "it would make sense that you spend the bulk of that time layering different products to get that look," he adds.

How to try it

To get the effect, you can layer two or three mascaras. To start, Napoli recommends going in first with a lengthening mascara, which he says can help "stop clumps at the source."

If you're planning on doing three layers, for your second, Napoli suggests choosing a volumizing or dramatic formula, with a "separating brush or a comb-style brush."

He recommends finishing it off with tubing mascara, which can help define lashes.

If you prefer a waterproof mascara, that should be the final one in your lineup, Scibelli says. And if you want maximum results, he adds that you should be waiting about a minute for each mascara to set before applying the next layer.

Here, the pros shared some of their favorite pairings for the ultimate lash look.

Best mascaras to combine

L'Oreal Paris Makeup Telescopic Original Lengthening Mascara

For the base, Napoli likes this affordable lengthening mascara from L'Oreal. The comb brush is said to help separate lashes and add length.

Or Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara

Napoli lists this one as another great first-layer pick. The beloved mascara is infused with bamboo extract and fiber, which the brand says provides lashes with length and volume.

& Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara

If you are going to layer three different mascaras, Napoli lists this one as a good option to use in the middle. It has a double-sided curved brush, which is said to boost volume without adding unsightly clumps.

Or Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara

With most clients, after applying a lengthening mascara, Napoli says he will add this formula. "Not only is that a good cocktailing mascara, but it's also a good layerable one, so you can keep building it as it's wet."

& Mac Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara

Finish off the look with this pick from Napoli, which promises to be sweat- and humidity-resistant to last up to 16 hours.

Gee Beauty The Multi Mascara

"I actually really love [Gee Beauty's] Multi Mascara as a base," Scibelli says. "It has like sort of like an hourglass shape to the brush, but it really lifts the lashes from the root for length and adds volume — it's kind of like an all-in-one. It's also really gentle on the lashes and it's not waterproof so it's a really nice base coat."

& Neutrogena Hydro Boost Waterproof Plumping Mascara

"The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Waterproof Plumping mascara actually has hyaluronic acid in it and vitamin E, as well as keratin," Scibelli says. "So it's going to nourish your lashes, and it's going to coat them with a waterproof seal so that it kind of locks in the mascara you use before it."

Or Lancôme Définicils Waterproof Mascara

The brush of this mascara is really skinny, which Scibelli says is great for combing through lashes and separating them.

Meet our experts

  • Neil Scibelli is a fashion and celebrity makeup artist in New York City whose work focuses on fashion, celebrity, television and music videos.
  • Tommy Napoli is a makeup artist and consultant in New York City specializing in editorial, red carpets and events.