Get Stuff We Love
Ready for your close-up? Get your most luscious lashes ever with our expert guide to finding the best mascara for the look you want. Whether you want a lengthening effect, a volumizing formula for just a simple waterproof, go-to, the right brush can make all the difference.
For density: Classic fiber wand
1.Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, $21, Ulta
This is where it started: The classic brush we’ve grown to love. The bristles grab and deliver a lot of product to the lash, giving you instant density. When paired with a carbon black formula, it’s straight-up rock star vibes, says Sir John, celebrity makeup artist.
For definition: Plastic/rubber wand
2. W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara, $22, Birchbox
The “quicker picker-upper” of wands, these bristles give gorgeous definition by expertly separating lashes, says Kristen Lind, Birchbox Soho makeup artist. “I would highly recommend this for someone with short or sparse lashes who is looking for extra oomph,” she adds.
For intensity: S-shaped wand
3. Lancôme Hypnôse Drama, $27, Sephora
“This is my favorite (pick) for women who wear eyeglasses,” says John. A go-to for when you want to dial-up and intensify certain areas of your lash, use it to taper off lashes so outer halves are longer and more emphasized, he suggests.
For curling: Curved wand
4. Urban Decay Mascara Resurrection, $16, Nordstrom
If curled up lashes are your favorite look (or your own lashes have trouble holding curl), this wand is known to deliver. The shape also applies more mascara to the center of the eye, right above the pupil, for a very 1960s, Bambi look, says John.
For fanning out: Conical wand
5. Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara, $24, Sephora
If you have deep set or smaller eyes, this wand does a magnificent job of getting to the inner and outer corners, as well as the bottom lashes. And all eyes can benefit from the beautiful way it fans out the outer half of eyes, says John.
For separation: Spiky ball-tipped wand
6. Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Mascara, $32, Birchbox
Essentially a two-in-one mascara, you get both separation and packed-in volume from the ball — which is also ideal for layering on touches in smaller areas, like on inner lashes, says Lind.
For length: Bubble wand
7. Milk Makeup Ubame Mascara, $24, Sephora
The most versatile wand of all for gals on the go, just one coat will give lashes a 360-degree coat that elongates and volumizes fringe from root to end. Or as Lind puts it: “No lash is forgotten with a bubble wand!”
For volume: Triangular wand
8. L’Oréal Paris Butterfly Sculpt, $9, Ulta
This is everything-but-the-kitchen-sink level when it comes to mascara. The small tip allows you to get super close to the lash roots for volume, while the fanned out part deposits ample product to the rest of lashes, says John.
For no smudges: Skinny wand
9. NYX The Skinny Mascara, $7, NYX
If you have a hard time applying mascara without smudging, this is your best bet. The skinny bristles allow you to focus without making a mess, and the wand is ideal for perfectly painting those small, bottom lashes, says Lind.
For precision: Micro wand
10. It Cosmetics Tightline Full Lash Length Black Mascara Primer, $24, Ulta
From 'tightlining' your lashes to coating bottom lashes with precision, this mascara is best for a woman who prefers a minimalist look and who wants total control, says John. You can also go in and target lashes individually with a micro wand.