It's ok to use inexpensive mascara!
In a survey conducted for Cover Girl in 2003, 51% of American women revealed that if they could have only one makeup item, it would be mascara. (Source: Procter & Gamble)
Do you like mascara?
Which mascara is up to you, of course (and we have had many a mascara topic in discussions here), but I wear the inexpensive stuff for the simple reason that this is the one cosmetic you should replace often (at least every four months). And, if you're applying it properly, you will also use it up quickly.
Do you REALLY want to be spending $80-$100 per year on one product?
When starting a new tube, I put a strip of masking tape around it with the date I opened it written on it so I know when to get rid of it. However, mine usually don't last that long, anyway.
I have found that the following method gives me almost clump-free lashes:
Remove the applicator from the tube and wipe half of the mascara off on a damp, fibre-free cloth. DO NOT 'pump' the applicator into the tube as this introduces air and bacteria.
Apply the first coat on the first eye. Refresh the applicator, do not wipe, and apply second coat IMMEDIATELY before the first one dries. Add more if you like.
Repeat on second eye.
When mascara has dried, if you have clumps, use a fine eyelash comb to separate.
If you curl your lashes using one of the old-fashioned torture devices, do it before applying mascara. There are new versions that are easier to use. If you're using a heated lash curler (Sephora -- $16 US, or Igia, approximately $10 US. Shoppers Drug Mart sells one in Canada for $24 Cdn), use it after adding macara.
Give your beautiful eyes the frame they deserve—lash out!