Wouldn’t it be boring if you walk into a drugstore and test out all different types of mascara? Unfortunately, all of those affordable formulas are usually tightly wrapped with plastic and cardboard. And professional beauty analyst don’t make it easier to try before you buy. Some shops let customer try on mascara using disposable spoolies, but there’s no way to really know if other customers have double-dipped into the tube. And while those throw-away tools let you experience the formula, you have no idea how to get the full effect without using. And anyone who loves mascara knows that the wand is the most important part.
As talking to a beauty analyst, I’ve developed a kind of sixth sense when I twist off a cap—I immediately know if I will use a mascara or not. And you can do it, too. All you have to do is check the wand. The different curves and brush have unique effects on the lashes. That’s why we talked to several ba to help you understand the functions of some of the most popular applicators before your next buying.
Skinny wands are best for coating hair—even those tiny, thin strands on the inner corners of your eyes. And with the help of the narrow brush, you can easily swipe mascara on your bottom lashes without making a mess. “I like using this mascara specifically for clients that have straighter lashes.”
Try it: NYX the Skinny Mascara
The arches on both sides of this applicator will give lashes a dramatic flair. The curvy wand lifts the hairs on the outer corners, giving you a wide-awake look. Plus the stiff bristles help to double the impact of the pigmented formula. “It’s a great pick for clients who love intense and dark mascara,” says Faye.
Try it: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
“Precision tip is ideal to build product,” senior makeup artist Kristine Cruz at the Antonio Prieto Salon says. “The small tip will get right in the inner and lower lashes to separate, and the bigger end will build product on the rest.” The best part: You can layer on the mascara without worrying about clumps with this pointed brush.
Try it: Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara
“A double helix brush is especially great for people with fine and short lash hair. The best way to apply this wand is to wiggle from the root to the tip in a zig-zag motion. Always wipe excess mascara off the wand before application so that it doesn’t appear clumpy.”
Try it: Blinc Mascara
If you really focus in on a part area of your eyelashes, a ball-tip brush is best for you. “Hold the wand vertically at the base of your lashes and wiggle while poking upwards to really lock in that eye-opening curl,” Honey makeup artist Suzy Gerstein says.
Try it: Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Mascara
“Curved mascara [wands] are fantastic for volume,” says Ma. “It works even better when using an eyelash curler beforehand. These mascaras work especially well for the lucky gals with long lashes, as the curve effect is especially noticeable.”
Try it: Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara
Here’s an applicator with double the number of curves. “It adds both length and volume, and because the wand is on the small side, it is also great for short lashes,” says Ma. “And what I like the most is that the bristles are slightly spaced apart [which helps create] fluffy lash hair.”
Try it: Lancome Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara
This plush wand is filled with dense fibers that will leave even thin lashes looking voluminous. “It works well on pretty much every type of lash, but is particularly good for those with sparse lashes that need help in the thickness department,” says Gerstein. “Holding the wand horizontally, angle chin up and gaze down into the mirror. Blink into the wand to deposit color at the roots of lashes, then wiggle it from side to side to coat middle and tips. Turn wand vertically and go lash by lash from root to tip to build even more volume.”
Try it: Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Glossy Black Mascara