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The question

No matter what mascara I try, I always wind up with clumps, lumps and flakes all over the place. Can you recommend alternatives to mascara?

The answer

Rather than eliminate mascara from your makeup routine, I'd suggest re-evaluating how you store and apply it. First, make sure you aren't using mascara older than three months, as the formula begins to break down after that (to keep track of how old it is, mark it with the date on which you open it).

Next, wipe the wand along a tissue to remove any excess mascara before applying the first coat. After applying it to your lashes, use a metal toothed eyelash comb, while the lashes are still wet, to separate them and remove clumps. With the second coat, wipe the wand down again, apply and use the eyelash comb again.

(Lately, I've been liking Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara, which has an hourglass-shaped brush in a filmforming polymer blend. The brush delivers lots of volume and the smudge-proof formula wears well.)

If you're really looking to stop using mascara, though, consider false eyelashes. You can apply either full strip lashes or small clusters of individual ones, which will give the appearance of fullness without any mascara.

Bahar Niramwalla is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert who has appeared on CTV, Global TV and City. Follow her on Twitter: @baharniramwalla. Have a beauty question? E-mail

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