Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

While perfectly applied mascara makes your eyes look larger and brighter, smudged mascara just looks messy and unattractive. Natural oils and moisture around your eyes tend to absorb the dark mascara and cause it to smudge and smear, leading to dark rings around your eyes. Prepping the skin around your eyes before applying mascara, letting your mascara dry thoroughly and wearing certain types of mascara will reduce smudging and keep your eye makeup looking fresh and clean.

Cover your eyelid with a tissue or piece of paper while you apply your mascara. Blink after applying each coat. Allow each coat to dry before removing the tissue.

Avoid applying oil-based eye cream under your eye. The oil and moisture in the eye cream will make your mascara wet if it comes into contact with it and cause it to smear and smudge. Wear a light water-based eye cream instead.

Dust around your eyes with absorbent face powder. Sweep face powder on your eyelid and under your eye to keep your skin dry and free of oil. Your mascara will be less likely to smear on a dry, powdery surface.

Wear waterproof mascara. This type of mascara is specially formulated to be water-resistant so it won't smear or smudge when it comes into contact with moisture such as rain, tears or even natural oils on the skin around your eyes.

Apply a coat of clear mascara over your regular mascara. The clear coat will seal your mascara and keep it from smudging. Allow your mascara to thoroughly dry before applying the clear coat.

Avoid applying mascara to the tips of your eyelashes. The tips are the parts of your lashes more likely to touch your skin and cause smearing. Apply mascara to the roots of your eyelashes and taper it off before you reach the end of the lash.

Wipe the mascara wand with a tissue. This will remove clumps of mascara from the wand and prevent them from getting on your lashes. Thin, even coats of mascara dry faster and are less likely to smudge than thick clumpy coats.