What are the Uses of Clear Mascara?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Clear mascara may seem like a contradiction in terms. After all, isn't mascara supposed to darken the lashes so that they are more visible? Well, clear versions can also help to do this while also serving some additional purposes. Just as a slick of hair gel can make the hair look wet and a bit darker, clear mascara can make the eyelashes look slightly darker. This can be a benefit to women who already have dark, thick lashes, and just want to accentuate them a slight bit.

Clear mascara can make eyelashes look slightly darker.
Clear mascara can make eyelashes look slightly darker.

In order to achieve a more natural look with cosmetics, some people choose to use clear mascara instead of tinted mascara. Clear mascara, when used with very lightly tinted facial powder, blush, eyeshadow, and eye pencil that closely matches that brown color, can create a very natural look. This look is often desired by people who want a look that is neat and finished, but do not want to look as though they are clearly wearing makeup.

A translucent mascara can act as a primer for colored mascara.
A translucent mascara can act as a primer for colored mascara.

The natural look is often used in television and film on actors and actresses who, according to the plot, should not be wearing makeup. Perhaps, in the scene, the actress just woke up, or has been lost at sea for days. In either case, the director might still want the actress to have a hint of glamour. This is a case where natural looking makeup, especially clear mascara, would be useful.

Clear mascara can be used to touch up previous applications of black or brown mascara.
Clear mascara can be used to touch up previous applications of black or brown mascara.

Sometimes clear mascara is used over black or brown mascara. In these cases, the mascara is often used for touch-ups. Mascara can rub and flake away over the course of the day. Re-applying black or brown mascara can leave the lashes looking thick, uneven, and clumpy. Clear mascara can be used to tidy up the lashes and redistribute the tint over all of the lashes. This technique also helps to keep the lashes from being completely caked with colored mascara.

By applying mascara with no tint over mascara that has tint, there will be some contamination. The clear cosmetic may become slightly dark or cloudy. Although it might look a bit odd, the colorless mascara can still be used and will add very little to no additional color to the lashes when it is applied. The best way to avoid this contamination is to clean the mascara wand with warm water and pat it dry with a clean tissue or cotton cloth after every use.

Sharing make-up applicators with other people may spread bacteria and irritate eyelids.
Sharing make-up applicators with other people may spread bacteria and irritate eyelids.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


My favorite use for clear mascara is for my brows. I will add some loose brown eye pigment to the tube and keep adding a little bit at a time until when applied it is the correct color for my brows.


@Sara007: Will you share the brand you are using?


Yes, popcorn, I do have one unique idea in particular. You can turn clear mascara into your own custom tint simply adding any iron oxide pigment that is safe for the eye area. Do it through a funnel after taking off the mouth of the tube, mix the tint in, then put the mouth back on and replace the cap now with your custom tint.


There are so many brands of clear mascara and I have found that they are not all created equal. I suggest you read some customer reviews, especially if you are thinking about buying one of the more expensive tubes. I have tried some that have felt wonderful and had others that have been a tacky mess. I was actually surprised to find that some of the cheaper brands worked best for me.

As far as uses go, I find that clear mascara is fantastic for holding eyelash curl. I used to have difficulty keeping mine curled but a coat of clear mascara on top fixed my problem.


I think clear mascara is one of the best products to give you a professional look without being overdone. I find that black and brown mascara tend to clump, no matter how new the tube or how carefully I apply it.

I have found that if you want to keep your eyebrows looking neat, as well as your eyelashes, you can use clear mascara to tidy up your arch. A little clear mascara applied to the eyebrows is invisible and helps them to keep perfectly shaped.

I love how one tube of makeup, especially one so cheap, can do double duty without being noticeable.

Does anyone else have any unique uses for clear mascara?


I learned something new! The mascara I recently bought has clear mascara on one end and black mascara on the other.

I was using the clear underneath to condition my lashes since that is what the directions said. Then I used the black as my top mascara.

I am going to try it with the black first and the clear on top to see if I like it better. I hope it stops the black from flaking.


I have very pale eyelashes and I find that even waterproof mascara smears on my face so I have my lashes dyed. Then I use clear Maybelline mascara to enhance my lashes.

It works really well and I highly recommend it. I no longer have mascara smeared on my face or running down my cheeks.

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