To try and help give you some kind of clarity before you make your next mascara purchase, we asked three of Australia’s top makeup artists – Rae Morris, Sarah Laidlaw and Elsa Morgan – for their professional opinion on how to pick your mascara brush shape based on what you want out of your mascara and how you want your lashes to look.
Here’s what some of the more common mascara brush shapes do.
The straight mascara brush
The standard straight mascara brush is a good all-rounder when it comes to mascara application. They’ll coat your lashes from root-to-tip for naturally enhanced lashes.
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The tapered mascara brush
A mascara brush that has a big base and smaller tip “helps to find and make the best of every lash you have, even those very hard to find tiny, tiny lashes at the inner corner of the lash line,” says Morgan.
Morris adds that because this mascara brush shape can get right into the inner corners of the eyes, it’s a great option for those with really small eyes as it can catch those “five or six baby, baby lashes that are so fine.”
The curved mascara brush
“I call those curly mascaras, because it applies the mascara from the roots and it pushes the root up and curves the whole lash back as you apply it. What it’s meant to do is dry as you stroke it in that shape, holding your lashes in that position. And because of the shape, you get the whole lot [of lashes],” says Morris.
The hourglass mascara brush
Narrow in the middle and wider at either end, Morgan says this mascara brush shape is “perfect for going all out and pumping up lashes to the max!” Morris explains, “They are supposed to hit the lashes at the inner corner of the eye and the outer corner of the eye the most.” The shape also helps gently curl the lashes as you apply.
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The skinny mascara brush
Whether it’s a teeny-tiny mascara wand, or a one-sided comb brush, the purpose is the same – to define and separate each lash. Laidlaw explains that the main benefit of "those super fine ones is to help you get down right into the roots. They deliver the product into the base of the lashes, and then bring it up through the strands."
Morgan describes the result as “clump-free and wide-eyed!” Because the fine bristles can get between each lash, it can also help to lengthen. This is a great brush shape for those who like to apply mascara to bottom lashes, as there is minimal mess and smudging
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The ballpoint mascara brush
This is the perfect shape for those who prefer more control when applying mascara. The ball at the end of the mascara wand allows you to apply your mascara section by section, instead of in one horizontal motion. The ball also helps with outer corner application, and can be used to apply mascara easily to bottom lashes.
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The swan neck mascara wand
Less about the unique look it gives your lashes, and more about making mascara easier to apply, a curved wand that is reminiscent of a swan’s neck is designed to conform with your face’s natural contours so you can come at the best angle without twisting your wrist.
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This article originally appeared on Beauty Crew.