Mascara Ranked By Applicator

image depicting a woman applying mascara

In the ranking of favorite cosmetics, I have to say that mascara is at the top of my list. Since the 1950’s women have been using it to match their favorite silver screen icons. As the cosmetics market has boomed, so have the different types of mascaras and wands available. Below, we break down the different mascara applicators out there, as well as our top 11 picks of mascara ranked by applicator to get you the lash look you crave!

How Many Different Types of Mascara Applicators Are There?

So let’s first dive in using the above image as a reference, and go over the different types of mascara applicators out there, and what you can expect from each. 

  • Ball: the ball wand is great for those that want to find and define each and every lash. The nearly 360 ball allows you to get into each and every angle to maximize application.
  • Curved: the curved wand will help to naturally apply some curl to lashes that are stick-straight and need some help being lifted. Still, be sure to stay close to the lash line to get the height you’re looking for.
  • Hourglass: if your lashes are a bit sparse, the hourglass wand will help to give a bit more of a heavier distribution, while the combination of short and long bristles will provide separation of lashes.
  • Tapered: this is a great applicator for all types as it provides some duality to provide a lot of volume, but the tapered end can get into the tight corners of the eyes.
  • Rectangle: rectangle mascara wands are also for every lash type as they provide a great even application from root to tip.
  • Skinny: if you have short, or fine lashes, the skinny wand is for you. This will give you a lot of definition on those lashes and get right into each corner of the eye to grab those baby lashes.
  • Fluffy: this wand is ideal for those with large eye shapes or already lengthy lashes. It will help stretch and curl lashes while making them appear more dense.
  • Comb: mascara combs are also great for stubborn straight lashes or those with fine lash lines. They can get right into the lash line easily and literally comb the lashes into higher lengths. 

Why Does the Mascara Applicator Matter?

Just like any of your other cosmetics, the applicator matters! Differing shapes, sizes, and materials of mascara wands will apply the product differently-so choosing the right applicator is the difference between getting length, curl, or volume. If you don’t have naturally long eyelashes or eyelash extensions, mascara is a great way to achieve lifted and visible lashes! The applicator wand is super important in getting the right look.

11 Best Mascara Picks

up-close image of mascara applicator

Below we break down our 11 favorite mascaras and some of the benefits of each applicator, so you can know what to expect from each of these high performers.

#1: Essence Lash Princess Curl and Volume Mascara

Essence Lash Princess Curl and Volume Mascara

Ok, if you watch Tik Tok trends, this mascara is a must. It has been the No. 1 best-selling mascara for months and keeps selling out on Amazon for a reason. With an hourglass-shaped wand, this mascara gives you both curl and volume and is budget-friendly at under $5.

#2: Bareminerals Lashtopia Mega Volume Mineral Based Mascara

Bareminerals Lashtopia Mega Volume Mineral Based Mascara

Bareminerals makes a great mineral-based formula that is lightweight and buildable using a volume-enhancing fluffy wand to give you that extra oomph you’re looking for.

#3: Tarte Maneater Mascara

Tarte Maneater Mascara

Tarte’s maneater mascara is another cult classic with a skinny wand that grabs each and every lash to provide the most length, lift, and definition possible.

#4: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara

Tarte does it again with this 4-in-1 classic. Using a tapered wand, this formula is great for anyone and boasts lift, curl, volume, and lengthening benefits all in one. 

#5: Maybelline Lash Discovery

Maybelline Lash Discovery

Maybelline has been producing the best drug store mascaras for years, and this one is no exception. With a rectangle min- wand, this mascara is great for anyone and has a formula that provides lengthening benefits and is also waterproof for zero smudging.

#6: MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash Mascara

 MAC Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash Mascara

If you’re looking for instant curl and lift with serious staying power, this mascara is for you. With a curled wand and 16-hour formula, this literally is like a perm in a bottle for your lashes.

#7: L’oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara

 L'oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara

Looking to try something a little different? L’oreal’s unique wing brush is designed to stretch and lengthen your lashes with a winged comb on one side and skinny applicator on the other. The fiber-enhanced formula provides some extra help to reach sky-high lengths.

#8: Bh Cosmetics Doja Cat Blooming Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara

 Bh Cosmetics Doja Cat Blooming Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara

Although the name is a mouthful, this unique wand provides a serious amount of true black pigment with a ball tip wand. For those who want serious drama, this wand uses micro-bristles to fan out lashes from every angle.

#9: Benefit Cosmetics Bad Gal Bang!

 Clinique High Impact Lash Elevating Mascara

With a truly tapered wand and micro bristles, this mascara gives you some serious lift and length for a bang.

#10: Clinique High Impact Lash Elevating Mascara

 Clinique High Impact Lash Elevating Mascara

Clinique’s High Impact mascara is a must for everyone. With a tapered and dense bristle wand, it provides smooth application and volume across the board while providing much-needed hydration to your lashes.

#11: Maybelline Volume Express The Colossal Mascara

Maybelline Volume Express The Colossal Mascara

If you’re a fan of Maybelline mascara, this is a must-try. The signature brush is fluffy but utilizes slightly stiffer bristles to provide a bolder and more dramatic look. The formula also has collagen providing some extra benefits (we love that!).

Pro Tips

"yes" and "no" spelled out in letter tiles

What To Do

With so many mascara options to choose from, you have to figure out what works best for you and your lashes. Mascara is the best way to tie together any eye makeup look — especially these cool eyeliner looks — and needs to be applied correctly. Use some of these pro tips to up your mascara game.

Coat Both Sides of your Lashes

For super thick and dramatic lashes apply another coat over the tops of lashes, being careful not to push down on the lash line.

Apply Translucent Powder in Between Coats

If eyelash primer gives you the scaries, try applying a light coat of translucent powder in between coats of mascara to up the volume, without a lot of goop.

Hold the Wand Vertically

When trying to get those tiny lashes and inner corners, hold the wand upright to get a more precise application.

What Not To Do

A great mascara can put the finishing touches on your look, but sadly, when it comes to mascara, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Here’s a quick list of things to avoid when wearing mascara:

1. Don’t wear waterproof mascara on a daily basis!

This type of mascara is made to stay on under all circumstances, and it is ~very~ difficult to remove. If done daily, the removal process is really harsh on your lashes and can stunt growth and lash health.

2. Avoid curling your lashes after you have applied mascara.

Curling your lashes after mascara is a big no-no! At its best, it can cause unwanted clumping. At its worst, the mascara can act like glue, and you could potentially rip out your lashes when pulling away the curler. Yikes!

3. Make sure you aren’t using old or expired mascara.

Aside from the fact that mascara tends to dry out as it ages, it also can host bacterial growth. Old or expired mascara doesn’t work well and could give you an eye infection, so stay on top of those expiration dates!

4. Don’t pump the mascara wand in the container!

In an attempt to get more product on the applicator, it is really common for users to rapidly pump the mascara into the container. Avoid doing this! It separates the mascara within the container and causes it to dry before its even applied.

5. Take off ALL of your mascara before you go to sleep!

Taking off your makeup before bed is crucial to your skin health, but sometimes mascara residue can remain on the lashes. Double or even triple-cleanse to ensure you remove any and all mascara. Remaining mascara will dry down and can cause lash breakage and even eye infections.

The Search is Over

If you’re as obsessed with mascara as I am, you are always on the lookout for something new to enhance your lashes. Whether you’re trying to get sky-high lashes or big-time volume, makeup artists agree that the mascara applicator matters more so than the formula. Be sure to know what your aim is, and using the above tips, try out a few of our favorites! 

The price of mascara is a really wide range! You can opt for high-end products just as you can get amazing, affordable options from cheap brands. Don’t feel as though you need to break the bank to get a good mascara; we guarantee that there is a product out there for you!