Based on your lash type, you might favor one type of mascara over a different one. Some mascaras work better with larger eyes, while others are perfect for straight lashes, and we want to make the process of choosing easier for you.
However, before I start categorizing all the different kinds of eyes and lashes, I want to make one thing clear: these are general guidelines that will give you an idea of what is likelier to work for you, but as you experiment you might discover that what works for you has nothing to do with these suggestions, and has everything to do with how your hand works as you apply mascara. Because of that I urge you to not feel constrained or limited, but instead approach all kinds of mascaras with an open mind.
Also, check out our ultimate list of the best mascaras for every lash type and need.
Best Mascara for Short Lashes
If you have short lashes, then of course you will want a great lengthening mascara! Tubing mascaras, and mascaras with smaller applicators or plastic applicators are the way to go.
Some volumizing mascaras run the risk of making short lashes look spidery, so if you do want a thicker and longer effect, it is better to choose a mascara that will also separate your lashes – Clump Crusher or They’re Real both come to mind.
Best Mascara for Long Lashes
Just because your lashes are already long doesn’t mean you’re not going to want them to look even longer – we all know that. Volumizing and lengthening mascaras tend to look really beautiful once applied to long lashes.
You will likely prefer a mascara that is quick-drying or non-smudging, otherwise you risk having it get all over your eyelids soon after you’ve finished putting it on – most mascaras will hit that quick drying point a few weeks after you’ve opened them, but you can speed that up by leaving it open for half an hour.
Both larger and smaller mascara wands will work with long lashes. For a quicker application opt for a bigger wand, although if you are prone to clumping you might prefer a plastic one or a smaller one.
Best Mascara for Sparse Lashes
Those with sparse lashes should definitely opt for a volumizing mascara with a nice large wand. They’ll give a quick application that will build up volume and give the lashes a denser appearance.
If your sparse lashes are prone to sticking together, get a drier formula or opt for a plastic wand with a volumizing formula. The fibers in a mascara like Diorshow might also go the extra length to give your lashes more density.
Best Mascara for Dense Lashes
If you have very dense lashes, chances are you want a mascara that will do a great job of separating them, as they can be super prone to clumping. Lengthening, non-volumizing mascaras are the way to go, with tubing mascaras at the very top of that list. Opt for plastic applicators or just smaller applicators in general in order to have more control and better separation.
Best Mascara for Straight Lashes
For that ultimate curl, you want a stiff mascara with a formula that leans towards dry, but that isn’t too heavy. Wet mascaras can take a curl out of the lash, while dry ones and waterproof ones are less likely too.
A lot of volumizing mascaras can be a little on the heavy side, but that’s certainly not true across the board and it’s not true for most of the mascaras on our list. Some people find that a round or curvy brush does a better job of curling lashes, although we’re not sure if that’s true.
Last but not least, you definitely want to have a good eyelash curler in your arsenal!
Best Mascara for Curly Lashes
A more wet mascara formula might be best for you, as it will be more malleable and it’ll grab on to your lashes more easily without moving them around or getting them tangled.
Depending on how curly your lashes are, you might also prefer a more separating plastic brush with longer bristles that will do a good job of combing your lashes. Another tip is to brush your lashes with a clean brush before applying mascara.
What Color Mascara Should I Buy?
When in doubt, go for black mascara. If you are only going to own one mascara then definitely make it a black one.
The days of brown mascara are long gone, with even blondes and redheads opting for that deepest of colors. If you are very fair, you can keep a brown mascara in your arsenal for days when you want to fly under the radar, but there is no reason why it should be your go-to.
When it comes to other colors, consider them a fun embellishment when you want to play around. We’ve seen really saturated colored mascaras in shades like pink, green, blue and purple on the runways recently, so they can certainly be part of your fashion looks.
However, we’re of the opinion that a colored mascara should not be used with the goal of enhancing the eye color – stick to eyeshadows for that.
How Often Should I Replace My Mascara?
Mascara is the kind of product that can hold bacteria quite easily and as a result it has the shortest shelf life out of all of the different types of makeup products. It is important to replace your tube every three to six months.
However, if you experience any irritation or if you suddenly get some sort of eye infection, take this as your sign to throw out your mascara even if three months haven’t passed yet.
You should be careful with the expiry dates of eye makeup products in general, but mascaras require the most care, since they come in very close contact with the eyes themselves. Using expired mascara can lead to all kinds of nasty eye infections that can have long-term repercussions on your vision.
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