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How to Choose a Mascara

Pick between 4 different mascara types to pick your perfect one


Young woman applying mascara, close-up
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When you stand at the makeup counter or aisle, it can be confusing. Should you get lengthening, curling, thickening or non-smudging? And what, just what, is the difference between each of these anyway? (Is there a difference, or are these mascara types all hype, designed to get you to buy more than one type?)

According to Allure Magazine, you can tell a lot by a mascara by the shape of the wand. Fat brushes (like Lancome's Hypnose mascara, my favorite), create voluptuous lashes, while skinny brushes (such as Lancome's Definicils) will coat each lash perfectly without clumping or adding much oomph. Curved wands will help curl lashes.

Now onto the different formulas.

Lengthening mascara

My favorite mascara is Lancome Definicils. It's touted as a lengthening mascara and beauty editors swear by it. Lengthening mascaras have dense bristles that allow you to get more mascara on your lashes and especially on the tips of your lashes.

Thickening mascara

When you want bulk, you do want to buy the mascaras touted as "thickening." These products contain a thicker formula of waxes and silicone polymers that coat lashes and make them appear bulkier. The most popular thickening mascara on the market is Christian Dior's Diorshow(about $24).

Waterproof mascara

Obviously these "non-smudging" mascaras contain special synthetic formulas meant to repel moisture. But these can be harsh on your lashes (to prevent breaking lashes, you can put Vaseline on them before you go to sleep). A great waterproof mascara is Maybelline Lash Discovery.

Non-clumping mascara

These contain ingredients like silk extract and glycerin. The applicators also have longer wands which allow for a more even application.

I've done the research and found the best reviewed and most loved mascaras on the market today. These include waterproof, thickening and lengthening mascaras. See The 13 Best Mascaras on the Market Today.

Check out these other articles on mascara:

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How to Apply Mascara With No Clumps
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