If you're confused by the many different shapes of mascara wands out there, we break it down for you
A lot of us came from an era where magazines told us that the mascara we saw in the ads were the best we were gonna get. We all want great lashes, and you’re not alone if you’ve excitedly bought a mascara, applied it and realized it did nothing for you. The disappointment is real! The thing is, not all mascaras are created equal, and that’s okay because not all lashes are created equal either. Some mascara wand shapes are specifically made to create certain looks!
Mascara is a beauty product where the wand makes just as much difference as the formula. The wands are shaped to create a certain effect — curling, lengthening, volumizing, etc. Some of us need all three, which is fine because there are wands for that, too! Just like different art tools are required for specific art pieces, the shape of a mascara wand is specific to a finished lash.
We broke down eight of the most common wand shapes and talked to beauty experts about why certain mascara wands are needed!
1Cone or heart-shaped wands, like Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Extravagant, $24
Makeup artist Jenna Valentine says that the narrow tip of a heart-shaped mascara wand allows you to volumize your lashes from all areas. Plus, it allows you to apply the mascara with precision. She believes that you can get great volume and length by using the thicker part of the brush, and you can also use the tip to pick out individual lashes for extra definition. This wand is great for the mascara perfectionist!
Valentine tells us:
2Straight classic wands, like L’Oreal Paris’Voluminous Mascara, $5.89
Samantha Ward, a pro makeup artist, said:
3Oversized or plush wands, like Eyeko’s Fat Brush Mascara Big & Bold, $19
Makeup artist Morgan Storicks says that she prefers a straight wand that is big and dense. The thicker wands offer more curl space for your lashes. Plush straight wands like Eyeko’s Fat Brush are her fave. She added:
4An S-curve bristled wand, like Lancôme’s Hypnôse Drama, $27.50
Makeup artist Megan Williams says that because this wand has a nice “S” shape, it builds volume and also separates lashes really well.
5Curved bristled wand, like Rimmel’s Super Curler, $5.99
“The curved, eye-shaped brush lifts lashes up at the root and extends the curl from the tip to give full, curvaceous, clump-free volume,” the product description reads. Doesn’t it remind you of the curve on an eyelash curler?
6Bristle ball-tipped wand, like Givenchy’s Phenomen’Eyes, $32
According to Sephora’s description, “Givenchy’s Phenonen’Eyes Mascara combines its iconic spherical brush with an enhanced formula for ultimate definition, length, and curl in an intense black shade. Its comfortable formula curls and defines for a wide-eyed lash look that lasts all day.”
7Spaced-out, comb-bristled wand, like FLOWER Beauty’s Outstretched Mascara, $7.98
“This new 3-way brush allows you to apply, intensify, and comb through lashes to give you a 360-degree lash coverage,” the product description reads.
8Hourglass-shaped wands, like Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara, $23
The hourglass shape makes it so that the mascara coats the lashes without smudging the center. After a couple of coats you’re able to achieve false lash territory! According to Sephora’s description, this wand was not only inspired by the curves of a woman’s body but the hourglass brush was designed with extra stiff bristles to maximize the performance of this carbon black, collagen-fueled formula.
So what type of wands do makeup artists prefer?
The pro makeup artists we spoke to almost unanimously praised classic straight bristle wands. The best part? Classic wands are produced in bulk, often known as disposable spoolies. Brands like Sephora also make custom specialty tipped disposable wands!
Pro makeup artist and owner of Ooh La La Hair and Makeup Extraordinaries, Sarah Kondor, commented on the versatility of the classic wand shape, saying they are perfect for everyday use to wedding makeup. She explained:
Looking for something that will give you natural lashes? Try this:
Mascara fan brushes, like MAC 205 Fan Brush, $20
Pro makeup artist Alondra Shields says a fan brush is perfect for tinting lash roots to create a natural look:
She added, “A mascara fan brush deposits less color, so it’s great for applying a natural-looking lash, especially on your bottom lashes.” They are especially great if you have lash extensions, because you can use the brush carefully!”
So are there any wands our beauty experts warned us against?
Yes! Many of the artists we talked to advocated a classic bristled brush rather than silicone or plastic. The two main reasons were that plastic tends to clump and separate less and that it can be painful if you accidentally poke yourself with the sharp plastic edge!
Now that you have the type of wand (or brush!) you need, there are even more choices! What color? What finish? Waterproof? Primed? We’ll save that for next time!