How to Choose Which Mascara Type Is Right for You

There are so many mascara options—here's how to narrow them down.

Isolated picture of mascara smears
WEKWEK/Getty Images

No matter if you wear a full face of makeup or you favor a far more natural approach, mascara is the cherry on top of any look that pulls the whole thing together. There are so many options when it comes to choosing which type of mascara works best for you. From lengthening to thickening—even waterproof options—it can be difficult to navigate the beauty aisle to find your perfect mascara match.

Just like the hair on your head, each person has a different lash type.

Whether you have fine lashes that need a little boost or short hairs that could use some extra length, there is a mascara out there that can make them look full and fanned-out.

Lengthening Mascara

If you have short lashes, a lengthening mascara is meant to make them appear much longer than they naturally are. The brushes often have comb-like bristles that allow you to apply the mascara formula onto your lashes, gliding it through from root to end, coating the tip of each and every hair. Though these mascaras likely won't give you thicker lashes, they can give a more dramatic, clump-free effect by making them look more fluttery.

Fiber mascaras are also a great option since they attach tiny little fibers to each lash as you apply the formula, adding both length and fullness.

Here are a few popular lengthening mascaras:

     

    Volumizing Mascara

    Looking for bigger lashes? It's best to search for mascaras with thicker, buildable formulas. The brushes are often more dense to really pack on the formula and plump up the individual lash hairs. You may want to apply a few coats to add as much volume as possible. It's best to do this while the mascara is still a bit wet in order to avoid it getting flaky and clumpy.

    Here are a few popular volumizing mascaras:

     

    Curling Mascara

    Straight lashes can be difficult to curl, especially if you're not a fan of using a lash curler. If you'd rather avoid pinching your lid, a lifting or curling mascara can help shape your lashes to give them a falsie effect.

    Here are a few popular curling mascaras:

     

    Waterproof Mascara

    If you're a crier or find yourself sweating it out at the gym while wearing your makeup, waterproof mascara is probably a good choice. Waterproof, or "non-smudging," mascaras contain special synthetic formulas meant to repel moisture so you don't end up with black tears running down your cheeks. The only downfall: these hard-to-remove formulas can be harsh on your lashes. So it's important to wash it off the right way—try a cleansing balm or an oil-based cleanser and massage it over your eyes gently before rinsing it away. 

    Here are a few popular waterproof mascaras: