A Guide To Picking The Best Mascara For You

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

When it comes to makeup, the options are endless. Walking through the aisles of a beauty store can leave you overwhelmed and unsure of your decisions. You can narrow down your choices by price or brand, but even then, you may be wasting money or missing out on a great product.


If you are new to makeup or just trying to add some great products to your makeup bag, mascara is likely on your list of must-haves. According to Claudia Soare, president and creative director of Anastasia Beverly Hills, mascara makes your eyes brighter, wider, and fuller and can even make you look younger as it enhances the area around your eyes as well (via Today). But finding the right mascara can be tricky. According to Ipsy, there are mascaras for volumizing, lengthening, curling, and defining. But there are also waterproof versions, mascaras meant just for your lower lashes, fiber mascara, and more. So, how do you pick the right type of mascara for you? We're here to help.

Consider your natural lashes first

Lashes do not come in a one-size-fits-all format. Nina Leykind, the co-founder of eye-makeup brand Eyeko, told Cosmopolitan that eyelashes come in many different forms, whether long and thin, short and stumpy, or even uneven lashes with short and long lashes mixed together. Before you can start searching for the right mascara, identify what your natural lashes are and what you hope for them to look like.


You also want to consider your eye shape when buying mascara. There are many different eye shapes, and adding the right mascara can help accentuate your natural eyes. For example, those with round eyes should look for a mascara that thickens lashes, while those with downturned eyes should choose a mascara that lengthens to help them look lifted. Big eyes may only need a simple mascara, something with a straight brush that gives your eyes a little something extra, while those with smaller eyes will need something that curls to create a larger look.

Pay the most attention to the wand

Many mascaras market their formulas, focusing on curling, lengthening, or thickening. But according to Alexis Bennett, beauty editor at Self, it's the wand that makes the biggest difference. She says that if you want to know if a mascara will work for you, open up the tube and look at the wand. Makeup artist Faye Lauren told the publication that if you have straight lashes, look for a super thin wand as this can help ensure that each of your lashes gets mascara on them. If you want something super dramatic for a night out, you'll want to find an hourglass-shaped mascara, which thickens and curls, creating that smokey look.


Eyeko co-founder Nina Leykind recommends using a bristle brush rather than something plastic to keep the lashes separated. It will also get the product on every inch of your lash, from the bottom to the top, helping your lashes look longer and fuller. A bigger brush will help your eyes look wider and if you have uneven lashes, look for a big wand that tapers off at the end to mask any irregularities among the eyelashes.

Understand the formula

Just because the wand is the most important aspect of a mascara doesn't mean you should ignore the formula. Troy Surrat, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City, spoke to Glamour about choosing the right formula. He says that if all you hope for is even lashes, you can pretty much pick up any mascara, but if you are looking for more, say a curled or fuller look, you're going to want to look at formulas.


Surrat recommends a lengthening mascara for those with short, stumpy natural lashes. The nylon fibers in these formulas will instantly lengthen your lashes. If you want a curl to your eye makeup look, a curling mascara has resins and waxes mixed in that will curve your lashes and give you that desired style. According to It Cosmetics, some formulas thicken lashes, and ones that lift, define and volumize.

Look at your budget

Having gorgeous lashes doesn't require you to hurt your wallet. If you are trying to find the best formula and wand for your lash type, you may want to stick to some budget-friendly options before shelling out the big bucks. According to Vogue, there are a ton of drugstore mascara options that work great, if not better, than the pricier ones found at beauty stores. Celebrity makeup artist Gina Bass even admits to using this L'Oreal mascara on some of her biggest clients, saying that it offers a dramatic lash look without those dreaded clumps.


But if you are willing to spend a bit more on mascara, it will pay off. Makeup artist Aleksandra Ambrozy told HuffPost that the more expensive mascaras include better ingredients and better wands that work better and last longer than cheaper options. Luckily, even the high-end mascaras won't truly break the bank — some of the best options will still only cost you about $20-$30.

Popular mascaras for every lash type

If the idea of choosing a formula and a wand is a bit too overwhelming for you, don't fret. There are many popular mascaras out there, and people love them for good reasons. If you are concerned about your budget, makeup artists Cedric Jolivet and William Scott rave about the Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara, via Vogue. The formula is great for achieving a dramatic lash look and is often raved about for the ability to hold a curl. Other great affordable options include Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara and the Essence Lash Princess Mascara, which is a steal coming in under $5.


More expensive options include the Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes, ideal for thick, voluminous look, and the Lancôme Grandiose Extreme, which works triple duty by lengthening, lifting, and volumizing, plus it stays on for a full 24 hours. We also love the Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara and the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara.