Magic Wands: How to Pick the Right Mascara for the Job

by Allison Ford

Magic Wands: How to Pick the Right Mascara for the Job

I’ll let you in on a little secret: mascaras are all pretty similar. Really. Besides a little waterproofing here, a little fortifying protein there, and different pigmentation, there’s really not much difference between them. The wand, on the on the other hand, is a different story. If you thought those were the same, think again, because each type of mascara wand serves a different and specific purpose, and choosing the right one is important. If you want to lengthen your lashes, don’t pick a wand that’s designed for thickening. If you have short lashes, don’t use a wand designed for long ones. All mascaras may be created (pretty much) equal, but the wands definitely aren’t.


For Short Lashes



In general, small brushes are best for short lashes. NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara features a short, stubby wand with thick bristles that can get close to your eyes and grab each and every little lash, and provide good control for touching up the corners.


For Lengthening and Definition



Long, comb-like brushes with evenly spaced bristles are the best choice to separate, define, and lengthen lashes, but they don’t add much volume. They’re a great choice for those whose lashes are already full.


For Thickening Sparse Lashes



For maximum volume, look for a large, round wand with densely packed bristles. DiorShow Iconic Mascara features a wand with long bristles that grab and coat each lash. For extra thickness, lightly brush the wand horizontally across the base of the lash line.


For Precise Application



The spherical brush of Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes has bristles of different lengths to deliver mascara to each lash individually, from large outer lashes to tiny inner ones. Although the application is more time-consuming, the brush can reach everywhere, and the end result is perfectly customized.


For Natural-Looking Lashes



Rubber wands with moderately spaced bristles don’t hold as much product as thicker brushes, so they can apply just enough mascara to shade and define eyelashes without adding volume or length. The flexible wand of Maybelline Define-A-Lash allows for more precision and is gentle on lashes, too.


To Curl Lashes



A curved brush lifts and curls the lashes better than a straight brush does. Apply by sweeping the wand over the lashes from the top side, cupping it against the natural curve of your eyelid, to get the maximum curling effect.


For Bottom Lashes



Most mascara wands are designed to optimize the top lashes, so they’re too bulky to apply mascara properly to tiny bottom lashes. Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara has one of the smallest wands in the industry and is specially designed to precisely tint even the smallest lash without clumping or smearing.