One stroll through the makeup aisle at the drugstore, and you’re instantly bombarded with dozens and dozens of mascara choices offering everything from length to volume. And don’t get us started on the wand options. From long bristles to short, curved wands to tapered ones, the options go on and on. And the benefits of each can get lost along the way. To help you match your mascara purchase with your desired look, we made a simplified guide so you can find the best mascara wand for you.
For voluminous lashes, use a wand with long bristles:
Volume is one of the top requirements from mascara. To achieve this look for a product with long bristles says Robert Green, lead makeup artist for Too Cool For School at Libertine‘s Fall/Winter 2016 show. “This is not for someone looking for something natural,” he cautions. “It’s works well if you already have a naturally fuller lash line. I don’t suggest this wand if you have very small or sparse lashes!” To get this look, try butter London Double Decker Lashes Mascara ($20, ulta.com), which contains a set of long, interlocking nylon fiber bristles to aid in coverage.
For curled lashes, use a curled wand:
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize a curled wand is ideal for getting curled lashes. According to Eyeko co-founder Nina Leykind, this particular wand is good for lifting and curling lashes to really open up the eye. To use, she says to roll the brush as you apply to evenly distribute color. Try Eyeko Black Magic Mascara ($25, eyeko.com), which has a curved helix brush to allow you to pull product through your lashes.
For full lashes, use a twisted wand:
This funky wand shape is truly an all-in-one. “This wand pumps up the volume while combing through the lash line at the same time,” explains Greene. “The end result is a naturally looking, full lash line.” Try bareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara ($19, sephora.com), which boasts a spiral want to curve and hug the lashes, thus coating from all angles.
For lifted lashes, use a ball-tip wand:
They might look funny, but ball-tip wands are awesome at going vertical. “The ball on the end is great for pushing upwards towards the root of your lashes,” says Greene. “By holding the wand in an up and down position, you can push up at your lashes with this applicator making sure every lash is coated. It’s great for the outer corners of your lash line as well!” Try MILK Makeup Ubame Mascara ($24, sephora.com), which boasts three ball shapes on the wand tip for lots o’ lift.
For natural lashes, use a comb wand:
Sometimes you just want a simple, au naturel look—and that’s totally doable! “[A comb] makes for a natural-looking finish as combs tend to glide through without gripping the lash,” says Leykind. Try Cargo Boundless Lashes Mascara ($20, ulta.com), which has three sides, including a comb, to help ease you into this wand variety.
For a feline lash, use an angled or narrowed wand:
Just like the narrowed cat-eye, lashes can be coated to appear longer on the ends. “The narrow end is great for precise applications and for getting into those tight areas where you want to make sure you coat every lash from root to tip,” says Greene. “This wand is great for what I like to call a ‘feline lash.’ It’s helps to concentrate the mascara on the outer edge of the lash line which mocks a feline flick!” Try Wet N Wild Max Fanatic Cat Eye Mascara ($5, Walmart), which has a unique angled applicator to help you specifically get that cat-eye look you crave.
For long lashes, use a straight wand:
To add length, Leykind says a straight wand is actually your go-to. She explains this shape is great for short lashes as well as bottom lashes because its shape allows for direct contact with lash roots. It also allows you to load on color and pull through for a lengthening effect, she explains. Try Dinoplatz Escalator Mascara ($25, sephora.com), which has a nice straight wand that actually has a dial that twists the bristles, allowing you to seemingly have a completely different wand in a second flat!