Decoded: How to Choose the Correct Mascara Wand to Get the Lashes of Your Dreams

Have you ever reached for a certain mascara and hoped to achieve lengthened, voluminous lashes, only to have your dreams dashed by the disappointing results? Honestly, we’ve all been there. Mascara formulas can talk about lengthening, lifting, and volumizing claims all day, but I’ll let you in on a little secret—the key to voluminous lashes just might be in the mascara brush. 

“Mascara wands absolutely make a difference in how mascara will look,” says celebrity makeup artist Carolina Gonzalez. In fact, a mascara wand could make or break your overall look. Depending on what you want your lashes to look like, you should choose a mascara wand carefully. Gonzalez walked me through the best types of brushes for every lash goal. Warning: This guide might have you rethinking your mascara.

Types of mascaras to use



For length, volume, and definition: oversize, tapered bristle brush

Choose an oversize brush with tons of different-sized bristles and a tapered tip for a true mascara-wand trifecta. 

“I personally want a mascara that gives me length, definition, and volume,” says Gonzalez. “Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Classic Mascara does just that. It is oversize (for volume), bristled (for definition), and [has] a tapered tip perfect for lengthening. A true triple threat!”

With spidery bristles and a conical tip, this oversize mascara brush does the trick for a triple whammy. 

For falsie-level lashes, this is the mascara for you. Since it’s a tubing formula, it adds tons of length, and the bristle brushes grab on to each lash to evenly coat, add volume, and define. 

Aptly named, this mascara truly is like a blowout for your lashes. It defines, lengthens, and adds tons of volume so your lashes are the star of the show. 

Not only is this mascara brush perfectly made for volume, length, and definition, but the innovative formula is also made to expand, so it boosts lashes to their fullest and longest on contact. 

For length: conical brush

Gonzalez recommends opting for a wand that’s either cone shaped or has a tapered tip. “By maneuvering the wand, it gives your lashes a lengthening boost at the ends,” she says.

This clean, tubing formula adds a lot of dramatic length that still looks natural. 

This beloved formula is on heavy rotation in many makeup artists' kits for a reason. The tapered tip has spikes on the end to give every lash tons of length. 

Once you see this mascara in action, you’ll be impressed by how much length it gives lashes. The tapered tip ensures an elongating boost. 

For length, this mascara truly delivers thanks to its slightly tapered wand that lets you get small lashes. It also holds a curl well.

When the Who What Wear beauty team tried this viral mascara, we were blown away by the results. For intense length, this one is truly hard to beat. 

For volume: full, oversize brush

“Use a fuller, dense, and big brush,” says Gonzalez. A bigger brush will help you build more thickness and volume.

Designed specifically with volume in mind, this high-impact mascara has a larger brush that lets you achieve colossal lashes. 

Upcycled orange-peel fibers and an oversize brush help build tons of volume on lashes, and you get a fanned-out effect. 

Thanks to super-dense bristles, this hourglass-shaped brush helps you get an incredible amount of volume. 

It’s no surprise that Pat McGrath’s cult-favorite mascara builds tons of dramatic, falsie-worthy volume. 

This $6 mascara is truly impressive when it comes to pumping up the volume. The big, densely packed bristle brush aids in creating built-out lashes. 

For definition: spiky, brush-like bristles

“A weaved bristle brush will give you definition and less clumping,” says Gonzalez. Go for a brush that has bristles that look a bit spiky, as these will help grab your individual lashes to create a defined effect.

Perfect for more sensitive eyes, this mascara works to lengthen and separate. Super-spiky bristles seamlessly comb lashes. 

This mascara has quickly become a cult favorite. With two different types of definition-boosting bristles on each side of the brush, you can get tons of separation. 

This mascara wraps around each individual lash for a truly defined effect. Super-small, spiky bristles are the secret to combed-through definition. 

This mascara wand works with your eye shape to mold to lashes while it defines them. 

Spiked bristles work to grab each individual lash. You’ll get super-defined lashes that are basically just a more dramatic version of your natural eyelashes.