The difference your mascara brush shape actually makes

Mascara wand shapes

What you need to know before you make your next purchase

Beauty Crew Editor / August 02 2017

Finding your Holy Grail mascara is no easy feat. Different mascaras work differently from person to person (and we all tend to have different lash look preferences, too), so you can never be guaranteed that someone else’s favourite mascara will be your own. Usually there’s a whole buying-testing scenario that can go either way. 

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.

Can the shape of your mascara wand really make a difference to the result? “100 per cent!” says makeup artist Rae Morris. “A lot of the time, it is the wand that can change the application.”

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.
Try: Pür Fully Charged Mascara 

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.”

Try: Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara 

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.

Try: L’Oréal Paris Volume Million Lashes Feline Mascara

Pür Fully Charged Mascara

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara

L’Oréal Paris Volume Million Lashes Feline Mascara

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.
Try: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara 

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
Try: Mirenesse Lash Whip Mascara Root Tightliner

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.
Try: asap Mineral Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Mirenesse Lash Whip Mascara Root Tightliner

asap Mineral Mascara

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.
Try: Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara

Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara

Looking for more about mascara? Discover the mascara tricks every girl should know for amazing lashes

Do you have a favourite mascara brush shape? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Image credit: Edward Urrutia

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.