How to choose the best mascara for your lashes with makeup artist tips

Which type of mascara do you need? Makeup artist explains how to choose the best mascara for your lashes

5th July 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

In our makeup artist’s guide to finding your perfect mascara, we explain which brushes work best for which lashes, what colour to go for and more

When it comes to choosing the best mascara, it can be difficult to wade through the many promises and claims from brands about volume, length, curl and definition.

Despite most mascaras promising the same “false-lash effect”, not all mascaras are created equal and selecting the best one for you and your lashes can daunting at best, and expensive at worst.

We’ve previously explained how mascara works, and picked our fave mascaras for different lash types, but if you’re still confused, Justmylook’s makeup artist Hayley Walker has shared her top, pro tips to simplify the process.

“Mascara is a powerful tool that can significantly impact the outcome of your makeup look,” said Walker. “It’s an underrated beauty product with the ability to turn minimal makeup into a bolder look. It can enhance the rest of your makeup, making your eyes a show-stopping feature.”

Which type of mascara do you need?

The first step in choosing the best mascara for you is to understand the look you wish to achieve.

Whether you are aiming for a barely-there natural look, a sophisticated yet flirty style, or a dramatic and glamorous appearance, your desired look will guide your mascara choice.

For example, if you want a natural-looking finish, you may not need volume and curl. It you’re looking for something more glam, you might want a mascara that showcases every inch of your lashes.

Best mascara wands for different lash types

Best mascara wands for different lash typesmamabella | mamabella

The second step is getting to know your lashes. Different lash types benefit from different mascaras and brushes, and the brush of a mascara can significantly impact the final look.

For example, fibre mascaras add length and volume, straight brushes create a natural finish, curved brushes enhance curl, and spiral brushes prevent clumping. We explain more below.

  • Short lashes: Short lashes are, as their name suggests, lashes that are short. A lengthening mascara with a thin brush and dispersed bristles are often found on the best mascaras for short lashes.  ‘This type of brush will prevent clumping while lengthening short lashes for prominency,” Walker explained.
  • Long lashes: If you’re blessed with naturally long lashes, focus on volumising mascaras with thick, fluffy brushes. “Thick, fluffy brushes add volume and fullness to the lashes. This is perfect for a stand-out makeup look with a more dramatic effect.”
  • Sparse lashes: If you don’t have many lashes, or their thin, Walker suggests going for an hourglass-shaped brush to build volume and thickness. “This type of brush better coats the lashes with mascara, defining them and helping them look fuller.”
  • Curly lashes: A stiff, comb-like brush will separate and define each lash. “This brush allows for easy separation while enhancing the natural curl for a clump-free finish.”
  • Straight lashes: Asian lashes are notoriously straight, but anyone can have straight lashes that don’t have any natural curl. As a result, choosing a curling mascara with a curved brush can lift and open the eyes. “The formula should lift the lashes, opening the eyes for a more dramatic effect.”
  • Thin lashes: A comb mascara brush helps define lashes without clumping, “allowing you to apply the mascara with precision.”
  • Dense lashes: Use a thick, oversized brush that glides across each lash to prevent clumping.

Best mascara colour

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Jewel PotsCharlotte Tilbury

While black mascara is a staple for its versatility, there is an increasing number of alternatives hitting the market. Only this month, Benefit relaunched its BADGal Bang! mascara in plum, blue and brown.

“Black mascara is perfect for any occasion and look and is considered the safest option,” adds Walker. “However, if you’re feeling daring and want an extra pop of colour, opt for coloured or glitter mascara. Brown mascara is ideal for a softer, more natural look.”

As you can read in our colour theory guide, your choice of mascara colour can also enhance your eyes. Charlotte Tilbury sells a purple/plum, Pillow Talk version of its Push Up Lashes mascara and it looks great against green eyes. Blue mascaras are great for brown eyes, while brown mascara makes blue eyes pop.

Mascara formula and ingredients to look for

Common ingredients like glycerin, beeswax, and lanolin all help with smooth application and thickening. “Moisturising ingredients such as glycerin contribute towards an effective application, ensuring the product sticks to the lashes.” There is an increasing number of vegan alternatives to common ingredients too.

Waterproof mascaras offer long-lasting wear and resistance to smudging but are more stubborn to remove. “The formula within these products doesn’t dissolve with water, reducing the chances of dreaded streaks and smudges.” We explain more in our guide: How does waterproof mascara actually work – and is it good for your lashes?

How to apply mascara like a pro

What is mascara made ofiStock

We go into more details about applying mascara in our How to apply mascara like a pro guide, but Walker has her own tips.

  1. Start by curling your lashes. This will give them a gorgeous lift, opening your eyes for a more youthful and radiant appearance.
  2. Next, using slow motion, twist the mascara brush around the tube to accumulate as much product as possible.
  3. When applying mascara to your lashes, follow a zig-zag movement.
  4. Lower lashes are just as important but are slightly trickier to perfect. Holding the mascara brush vertically will improve precision, ensuring each lash is coated to achieve a flawless finish.

Now you’re clued up on how to choose the best mascara for you, check out our other mascara guides and recommendations using the links below:

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