What To Look For In A Mascara

Shopping for mascara isn’t as simple as it seems. There is no shortage of formulas out there to choose from and what we want in a mascara may change over time. How we wanted our lashes to look when we are a teen, a twenty-something or in our middle years can be quite different. Also, the lashes themselves can thicken or thin out depending on our health, age and even some medications.

Take a look at your current mascara. Why did you choose it? Habit? A recommendation? Is it the brand your best friend wears? Perhaps you didn’t put all that much thought into it at all, yet can’t put a finger on why you’re not thrilled with your eyelashes after you’ve completed your makeup. If this is the case, it’s probably time to review everything you should to look for when purchasing mascara.

1. The Wand

Choosing the wand can be as important as the formula inside the tube. Today there are options from bristles to silicon, curved to straight, thick or thin. It all depends on the condition of your lashes and the look you want to achieve.

Thick wands tend to work best if its fullness and volume you’re looking for. A thin wand helps define lashes. If you want full coverage and a more substantial curl, then opt for a curved wand. An hourglass wand will spread the formula more evenly across all lashes.

“Brushes come in lots of shapes and sizes, pick up different amounts of mascara, have bristles that are more or less densely packed, or have varying degrees of flex. The results you get absolutely depends on the wand,” makeup artist Jenny Patinkin told Allure Magazine. “The size of your wand should make sense for the size of your eyes. I like a wand that’s medium size, densely packed, and has a pointed tip, because it works on all eye shapes and sizes.”

You can buy also buy disposable mascara wands of varying shapes and sizes to experiment until you find what gives you the look you want.

2. The Formula’s Benefits

Once you have your brush sorted out, it’s equally important to find a mascara formula that suits your needs. Like we discussed above with the wands, you need to consider what you want to address. Length? Curl? Volume? Definition? You may indeed find a mascara to do everything you dreamed of, but chances are you will need two and layer them. If you have long straight lashes, you’ll want a formula to help curl and add volume. If your lashes are thin and short, then you’ll want a lengthening and volumizing mascara.

3. The Lasting Power

When it comes to mascara, its lasting power is key. No one wants to have mascara flakes on their cheeks halfway through the day or black circles around their eyes in the pool. When choosing a mascara, be sure to read reviews on the lasting power and how the formula holds up throughout the day. This might even mean opting for a waterproof formula, especially if you’re heading on a beach vacation or somewhere you need your makeup to be water-resistant.

4. The Color

Ever quickly grabbed a new mascara from the shelf only to come home to realize you accidentally grabbed a bright blue one? Yeah, us too. Something important to look for when shopping for mascara is the color. Typically the most dynamic color is black, but there are also options for a more natural look with brown, blonde, and even transparent formulas. If you’re looking for a fun pop of color, many brands also offer colored mascaras in jewel tones and pastels. The key with this is to simply make sure before committing to a mascara that it’s the color and look you’re trying to achieve whether that be dramatic or natural.

5. The Purpose

The last factor you should consider before committing to a mascara is where exactly you plan to wear it. Are you heading to a cocktail party and want an ultra-dramatic look? Or are you looking for a natural-looking mascara for everyday wear to work? Be sure to think about what your end goal is and where you plan to wear the mascara before committing to the purchase.

Finding the perfect mascara, or two, really comes down to trial and error. If you’re curious about some of the top-rated mascaras, we did the grunt work for you and rounded up some of the most popular choices!


Kim Izzo