Mascara Wands: Is Bigger Really Better?

Updated 06/29/19

If there’s ever a topic beauty buffs love to talk about, it’s their mascara of choice. Mascara choices can be a very personal thing, when aiming to get only the most perfect, thick, voluminous lashes. But which mascara wands are worth investing in, that really do the work for flawless results? While this topic is hotly debated between makeup enthusiasts, it's time to really get to the bottom of the best wands for our buck. We asked six of the industry's well known makeup artists everything we wanted to know, from the size of the wands to formula, and we got what we were looking for..their answers may surprise you!


Keep reading to find out which wand really is the superior eyelash-enhancer!

The Case for Big

For mega volume and dramatic lashes, celebrity makeup artist Kip Zachary says, “Size does matter.” (We were excited to know that our collection of big, brushy wands had made the professional cut), while top television makeup artist Jennifer Greenberg agrees, “I love bold, dramatic lashes, and bigger brushes make that easy to achieve—big mascara brushes really elongate the lashes in every way possible.” Score.
If you fall into the camp of the bigger the better, the general consensus is it’s because of the instant volume factor.

“Bigger brushes just give more volume, adding additional product to the lashes, so you can get lush lashes very quickly,” celebrity makeup artist Ricky Wilson says.

The Case for Small

A tiny brush has its advantages too. “I prefer a molded mascara brush,” celebrity makeup artist Denika Bedrossian says. “A small, tighter applicator allows for better separation and length.”
Plus, if you start with defined lashes, you can play them up however you please. This makes total sense. “Once you've built a base with a small brush, you can then layer on one of the bigger brush mascaras for extra oomph,” celebrity makeup artist Erin Ayanian-Monroe says. Bedrossian is also a fan of the layering potential of petite brushes.

She loves mixing in a larger applicator for a boost of volume, that help smaller, shorter lashes look thick and voluminous.

Which One is Right for You?

And so, each brush is special in its own way, but (personal preference aside) how do you choose the one that’s right for you? “To get the lushest, most beautiful lashes possible, first consider what nature has blessed you with,” Ayanian-Monroe says. “If you have longer lashes you'll benefit from one of the bigger brushes on the market for color, density, and additional length.” Wilson also recommends taking your natural lashes into consideration. “Big brushes work well on people with long lashes and bigger eyes, but big brushes can pose serious issues for women with smaller eyes and shorter lashes—mascara just gets everywhere,” Wilson says.

So if that sounds familiar, go small. “If your lashes are on the sparser, shorter side, a better choice is a mascara with a small precise brush that you can really get in there with,” Ayanian-Monroe says.
Professional makeup artist Kendra Richards suggests taking into account the look you’re going for as well. “If you want a more natural look, choose a little brush,” she says. “The little brush doesn't deposit as much mascara on the lashes, so you won't get volume, but you will get definition.” For “wow-factor” lashes, Richards likes a bigger, lush brush.


Big or small? Flip through for the best of both!

DiorShow Mascara
Dior Dior Show Mascara $30
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“This big wand is packing some heat—love Dior Show for creating drama.” - Kip Zachary

L'Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara
L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara $12
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“A longtime staple from L'Oreal, apply several coats, with extra attention at the base of the lashes, it delivers great results.” - Kendra Richards

GrandeDRAMA Intense Thickening Mascara
Grande Cosmetics GrandeDRAMA Intense Thickening Mascara With Castor Oil $25
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"The thickness of this brush along with the added castor oil helps nourish lashes while creating amazing volume."- Kip Zachary

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara
Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara $9
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“This mascara from Neutrogena delivers dense lashes and adds length.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara
Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara $25
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“The bristles on this Benefit mascara are staggered, which helps to grab and coat each lash.” - Kip Zachary

Pixi By Petra
Pixie by Petra Lower Lash Mascara $12
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“This Pixi lower lash mascara catches every single lash to make the very most of what you've got, it's perfect for lashes that are more fine.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

Lancome Definicils Mascara
Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara $28
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“Definicils Gives great definition.” - Kendra Richards

ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara
ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara $28
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“ILIA mascara works great for bottom lashes. Its carbon black pigment curls and lifts, while separating each lash.” - Denika Bedrossian

Maybelline Lash Discovery
Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara $7
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“This Maybelline mascara is great for layering.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

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