How to pick the right mascara for your lashes

set of differing mascara wands

When it comes to purchasing mascara you might scratch your head as to which product to buy. There are so many mascaras to choose from! Aside from trial and error, how can we choose a product that is right for our lashes? The answer lies in the type of formula and the wand.

Below are some tips for choosing the right mascara for your fine, sparse, full, or long eyelashes.


Mascara formulas come in waterproof, regular, tube, and fiber. Choose the formula that fits your needs the most.

Tube –This type of formula basically wraps around each hair to form a waterproof “tube”.


  • Tube mascaras are great for people who have allergies.
  • They are very easy to take off (as compared to waterproof mascaras). The “tubes” simply slide off lashes.


  • Tube mascaras do not build up on the lash easily. It’s hard to get a voluminous look.
  • If not washed off completely, the tubes tend to invade the eyes.

Waterproof – Waterproof formulas are created from a mixture of oils (polymers/plastics) which makes them less likely to smear.


  • Waterproof mascara can be worn nearly all situations and stay intact.
  • Good for people who have eye lashes that touch the skin under the eye (some people have bone structure that pushes up the skin under the eye).
  • Good for people who have oily skin types. Oils move around the face and somehow find a way to smudge the mascara.
  • Good for those who have to curl their straight lashes. A waterproof mascara doesn’t contain water (and therefore won’t ruin a curl that is bent into a straight lash).
  • A waterproof mascara is lightweight and won’t weigh your lashes down. .


  • It is difficult to remove. For gentle cleansing, remove with an oil or silicone based makeup remover.
  • Waterproof mascara is made of plastics. These plastics can prematurely break your lashes. Use waterproof mascaras sparingly.
  • It is not water soluble. If a flake gets into the eye, it will not dissolve. People who wear contacts should avoid use.

Fibers – Fiber mascaras contains nylon and rayon fibers that add volume and length to lashes.


  • They make your eyelashes look longer. The synthetic fibers attach to lash tips, elongating your natural hairs.
  • They add volume to sparse lashes. The fibers attach to each other and fill in spaces to create the appearance of volume.


  • The lash fibers flake off VERY easily and invade the eye (and can cause an eye infection).
  • Those who wear contacts should avoid fiber mascara altogether.
  • Flakes can leave streaks on your face.
  • The fibers don’t look natural and can appear very clumpy.

Regular – Regular mascara is made up of wax, pigment and film formers. Regular mascara is water soluble.


  • Very natural looking.
  • Regular mascara easily builds up on the lash with each swipe.
  • Water soluble and easy to cleanse off the lash.
  • Does not flake (usually). If it does flake, it is not detrimental to the eye (because it is water soluble).


  • Rubs off easily (if you tend to rub your eyes).
  • Regular mascara will break down with tears, swimming, rain, sweat, and other water situations.
  • Does not keep lashes curled as well.

As you can see, when it comes to mascara formula, you have to take the good with the bad! Now onto the next consideration for picking the right mascara for your lashes: the wand. Below are the types of wands to choose from.


“The right tool for the job” should be your motto when selecting a mascara wand. The brush you choose has a HUGE impact on how the mascara formula swipes on your lashes.

Twisted wire brush with close-set bristles: These brushes pick up a LOT of mascara and make it easy to swipe on color in a few strokes. The longer bristles make it easy to apply mascara to the base of the lashes, adding a bold effect. Mascara wands with a twisted wire brush are used to add volume and lengthen the appearance of the lashes.

Rubber brushes: This brush is good for people who don’t want to deal with mascara clumps. The brush picks up a smaller amount of product, affording the user more control over the application onto the lashes.  These mascara brushes lengthen lashes without adding fullness.

Fat wands: These brushes tend to be larger in diameter (especially in the center). The thicker wands can be made out of wire brush or rubber brush and are best for building a lot of volume on the lashes.

Curled or hourglass wand: A curled bristle brush and an hourglass rubber brush are perfect for adding a winged effect on your lashes. The curves lift and push your lashes for a dramatic winged effect!

Short, close-set bristles that are very uniform (rubber brush, small tip, or comb tip): This type of wand separates the lashes and coats the hairs very evenly. This wand is great for people who have lashes that are long and thick in density (Lucky duckies!).

Final notes:

Most mascaras state on their packages the properties of their formula as well as the type of application a wand will result in. Pay attention to the keywords the package lists. A good rule of thumb is to pick a mascara wand based on its shape and the final look you desire. For example: A fat brush will give you fat lashes, a curled brush will help push up your lashes, a small brush with short tips that are uniformly spaced will uniformly coat and separate your lashes. In other words, what you see is what you get!

For the expert mascara junkie I suggest combining your mascaras! You do this by first applying your mascara with a brush that adds volume and then follow it with another coat of mascara with a wand that lifts and separates. This technique is pure MAGIC!

Another hot tip is to save one of your older mascara tubes that are a little dried out (not too old!). The minimal product makes it easier to apply the right amount of mascara on the lower lashes. You will have less mistakes of clumps or smudges with an older tube of mascara.

Remember to dispose your mascara and brush after three months! Once a tube is older than three months you risk getting an eye infection.

This article was written by: for

Please click either link for more information about Louisville hair stylist and makeup artist Jennifer Lee Johnson.


10 Reasons to hire a professional makeup artist for your wedding

Louisville makeup artist Jennifer Lee Johnson providing the final touchups on bride in an elevator

Jen putting the final touch ups on a bride.

Wedding planning can be stressful and expensive! It’s no surprise that brides second guess hiring a professional makeup artist on their wedding day. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Perfection: You want the “wow” factor, right? Most brides spend a lot of time and money buying a dress. Do you trust yourself to manage your makeup that day? Hiring a professional means you get to consult one-on-one with an artist who will create a look that is perfectly tailored for you. 
  2. Convenience: Having a professional makeup artist come to your hotel room reduces stress and provides a convenient way for you and your party to get ready. The peace of mind knowing that everyone is getting ready in a central location is priceless. 
  3. Fun! Girls love getting ready for a big event. It can be quite the bonding experience for everyone and hiring a professional adds to the ease of the atmosphere. Your bridesmaids will love the attention and pampering and the Mothers will love being a part of the girly excitement!
  4. Cost: Do you want to spend a hefty amount of cash on a bunch of makeup that you will likely use once? When you hire a professional makeup artist you are also renting their entire kit of premium tools and products. Do you really want to buy an airbrush and air compressor? A makeup artist has thought of everything and at the end of the day you will be glad to have their kit at your disposal.
  5. Time: A really good makeup artist will keep a party on schedule. Getting ready can be chaotic, especially when there are a bunch of girls running around worrying about their hair and makeup. A professional will ease things by creating a timeline and sticking to a schedule; ultimately getting you to the ceremony on time!
  6. Technical skill: Do you really know how to do a proper makeup application? Do you understand color theory? Have you mastered putting on false eyelashes? Do you have a steady hand? A professional makeup artist trains extensively and can handle every detail.
  7. Better products: Professional makeup artists use products that are of a higher quality and longevity. In fact, there are brands professionals use that you probably never heard of! Thousands of photos will be taken of you that day, don’t you want your makeup to last?
  8. Photography: Photography makeup is different than everyday makeup! You want your features to stand up to the camera, flash, and big white dress yet still look natural when grandma comes close for a kiss. In other words, a professional knows how to apply makeup that is both camera ready and beautiful in person. Your pictures are the only souvenir from the wedding day so you might as well look good!
  9. An advocate: A great makeup artist is also someone you can talk to; an “outsider” who is quietly by your side offering you strength through a time of chaos. A professional makeup artist can keep things calm and be a buffer between you and that one “crazy” wedding attendant.
  10. Luxury: It feels amazing to have your makeup done professionally. Who doesn’t want to feel special on their wedding day? A good makeup artist will boost your confidence and make you feel good about being the center of attention.

If you decide that you are the DIY type, consider hiring a professional artist to teach you a lesson about how to apply the makeup and what makeup you should buy. Professional makeup artists usually offer hourly lessons that are tailored to each person’s needs.

This article was written by: for

Please click either link for more information about Louisville hair stylist and makeup artist Jennifer Lee Johnson.