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Most of us are focused on the features of mascara. We want volume, curl, or definition and we sift through options starting from the benefits. But a better way to anticipate what a certain mascara can do for your lashes is to look at the mascara wand. A mascara wand is a stick usually made of plastic or silicone and has a brush attached to the end that we dip into the tube to get and apply mascara. And that wand tells a lot about what it is going to do for your lashes. And that’s why we have different types of mascara wands that come in different sizes and shapes. Because each works differently and creates a different effect on your lashes. So if you want to get the most out of your mascara, here we dive deep into different types of mascara wands and their uses so that you can choose the best one for your eyelashes.
Best For: Volume, length, and definition for all eyelashes
This is the classic type of universal mascara wand that works for all eyelash types. This rectangle shape is the traditional one we’re all familiar with. It’s a straight cylinder-shaped wand and works for all eye shapes and lashes.
It gives definition, volume, and length and can be used both on upper and lower lashes. While it’s universal, this is like a does-it-all option that may not work for those of you who want something more specific or something designed for your specific eye shape.
You can try Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara to get volume, length, and definition no matter your lash type or eye shape. As you can see from the image, the brush is neither too thick nor too thin and is a great option for overall volume and length.
Best For: Thickness, volume, curl
A jumbo wand or over-sized wand is similar to the classic wand only thicker. And the most important benefit of this type of mascara brush is volume.
The fluffy, comb-like wand thickens lashes and gives the appearance of incredibly fuller lashes. The fat brush works better if you have already dense lashes or curly lashes and have big eyes. You can use it both on upper and lower lashes to achieve dramatic looks.
The only downside is that because the wand is bigger, it’s not easy to use if you have small eyes. It can get clumpy and it easily smudges. But by using a cotton swab dipped in micellar water, you can easily clean things up. The mess is worth it!
Lancome Monsieur Big Volumizing Mascara has this fat brush you can try to quickly layer for amazing volume with only a few coats. That wand is thick!
Best For: Curl, lift
A curved wand can be as curvy as a C shape or only bent in the middle. But it’s the best type of wand if you want to lift up and curl lashes. If you have straight or short lashes, the curve helps lift up each eyelash and open up your eyes.
The beauty of a curved wand is that you can use both sides. When you apply mascara using the inside of the curve, it grabs your lashes and curls them up, especially the tricky areas like the outer corners.
The outer side of the curve is perfect for lifting the lashes. So you apply both sides of the mascara and layer it to achieve the best volume and lift.
Benefit Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara was my gateway to curved mascaras. As you can see, it’s not too curvey to the point that it makes it difficult to apply it. It’s curvey enough to grab eyelashes and lift them up.
Best For: Volume, thickness, curl
The brush on these types of mascara wands is shaped like an hourglass and it’s one of the best ones for volume and thickness. Just like a jumbo-sized mascara wand, an hourglass wand gives the appearance of curly, voluminous lashes.
Because of its unique shape and dense bristles, it hugs all eyelashes inside and out and adds volume with each swirl. It’s actually pretty similar to the shape of eyelashes.
We have longer lashes in the middle and short lashes on the outer sides. So the hourglass fits right in to grab all lashes at the same time.
A cult-classic hourglass wand is Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. It’s madly thickening and volumizing and a few coats of it will give you instantly fluttery lashes.
Best For: Separating lashes, length, and definition on short lashes
This is one of my favorite types of mascara wands. This is like the classic wand only thinner and it looks like a spoolie brush. It’s straight so the idea is the same with classic mascara.
You get every lash and provide definition and length. For people with short, scarce lashes, a skinny wand will help define each lash from the roots to the tip.
While a skinny wand is perfect for use on upper and lower lashes, extremely skinny wands are usually the ones made for specifically bottom lashes.
Because it separates lashes, the skinny wand is ideal if you want a clump-free mascara application. I sometimes layer different mascaras for maximum curl and length and a skinny wand is what I use for length.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara is the type of skinny wand for amazing length and for defining lashes you didn’t know you had.
Best For: Separation, length
A tapered wand, sometimes called a pointed-tip wand or cone wand, is a great multi-tasker but amazing for length and definition.
These types of mascara wands can be thin or a bit bigger but they have a tapered tip. The most important benefit of a tapered wand is that it helps you define small, thin lashes on the inner and outer corners of the eyes.
For people with hooded eyes or droopy eyes, those areas can be difficult to reach. So the pointed narrow tip helps get those lashes too.
The tapered wand can be a long cone or short like an arrowhead and can also be an inverted cone. But the end result and the key benefits remain the same.
Benefit Bad Gal Bang Volumizing Mascara hits the perfect spot between a tapered wand and a skinny wand. The narrow tip gets the lashes on the inner corners while the wider side emphasizes your lashes to open up your eyes and look more awake with makeup.
Best For: Precision, lift
This is a pretty rare type of mascara brush and is the most gimmicky of the bunch. These wands can come as a ball tip alone or a ball tip attached to the end of a regular mascara.
The most important benefit of a ball-tip wand is precision. It’s like manually lifting up lashes because the spike tip with dense bristles helps you reach the curvey areas of the eyes, which is not easy to do with straight wands.
These mascara wands can be used to define the lashes from the roots to give the invisible mascara effect without going all the way to the tips. They’re also great if you have long lashes already and you just want some definition.
While I’m not a huge fan of these types of mascara brushes, Wet and Wild Lash Renegade has a ball tip wand and it’s actually attached to a proper brush so it works like a classic mascara too.
So these are the different types of mascara wands and what they do. Bear in mind that these are the most common ones. There’s always going to be something unique and rare.
At one point, there were triangle mascara wands, and the trend was short-lived. There are spiral mascaras and bubble-shaped or corkscrew mascaras that add volume but because of the inconvenient shape, the end result is very chunky and clumpy.
If you have been choosing your mascara based on product claims such as volumizing or lengthening, it’s time to verify that simply by looking at the wand yourself.
As we’ve established, the mascara wands tell you how much volume or curl you’re going to get in the end. And if this all sounds too much to keep in mind, here’s your key takeaway. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the brush, the bigger the volume, and the thinner the brush, the bigger the length.
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