Mascara Wands: Is Bigger Really Better?

Updated 09/23/16

If there’s ever a topic beauty buffs love to talk about, it’s their mascara of choice. When you fall head over heels for a new fragrance, you keep that scent discovery under wraps. Perfume is very personal. Mascara, on the other hand, is one of the most readily discussed (and hotly debated) topics between beauty enthusiasts. When we asked six of the industry’s finest artists if bigger is really better, we never imagined we would receive such passionate responses. But everyone has an opinion on the big vs. small brush debate, and their reasoning 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.” 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.”

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. “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.

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!

Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara Multi-Dimensional Sophistiqué ($30)

“Extraordinary lush-lash results.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

Dior Diorshow Mascara ($25)

“This big wand is packing some heat—love it for creating drama.” - Kip Zachary

L’Oréal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7)

“A longtime staple. Several coats, with extra attention at the base of the lashes, deliver great results.” - Kendra Richards

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara ($9)

“Delivers dense lashes and adds length.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara ($23)

“The bristles are staggered, which helps to grab and coat each lash.” - Kip Zachary

MAC Studio Fix BoldBlack Lash ($17)

“A staple because it provides volume, length, and lift.” - Denika Bedrossian

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara ($10)

“Catches every single lash to make the very most of what you've got.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara ($28)

“Gives great definition.” - Kendra Richards

MAC Extended Play GigaBlack Lash ($17)

“Works great for bottom lashes. Its carbon black pigment curls and lifts, while separating each lash.” - Denika Bedrossian

Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara ($7)

“Great for layering.” - Erin Ayanian-Monroe

What’s your mascara wand of choice? Sound off in the comments!

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