Mascara madness

Lisa Schryver

When it comes to mascara, many women suffer from Goldilocks syndrome – you have to try several before finding the one that’s just right. But with all the variations available today, it’s almost impossible to figure out exactly which one is right for you. Luckily, we’ve tracked down some beauty experts to help make finding the perfect mascara a little easier.

Love Your Lashes

“If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyelashes are their frames,” says Natalia Hernandez, beauty advisor for City Cosmetics. “They are what outline and express your best feature, so it is important that they help you make a good impression.”

Choose a mascara based on your coloring and how your lashes measure up to the desired effect. For example, if you have long lashes, but want more definition, choose a defining mascara; if it’s overall pop you seek, try a volumizing mascara.


Perfect for women with short lashes, lengthening mascara typically contains small fibrous material that adheres to the lash to create length. Contact lens wearers or those with sensitive eyes, however, should use caution when choosing a lengthening mascara, as some formulas can cause irritation, warns Hernandez.

Check out Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara to create long, luscious lashes.

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara

“Lengthening mascaras often have thinner wands that allow you to get very close to your lash line,” she says. “Move the brush from the base of your eyelashes to their tips, making sure to coat the product on the very ends of your lashes.”


For women who are lucky enough to have naturally long lashes, or for those who simply want to create the look of fuller lashes, a volumizing mascara is the way to go.

“Extreme lengthening, thickening, and volumizing products are all aiding women in enhancing their eyes,” explains Nola Weinstein, executive editorial director at  “Women who crave a dramatic look no longer need to apply false lashes, which are difficult to apply with precision –plus wearing falsies takes too much time.”

Volumizing mascaras have thick brushes to ensure each lash is coated. When applying, do so in a zigzag motion from base to tip. Try Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara or Estée Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara for ultimate volume.

Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara Estée Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara


If it’s a natural look you seek, a defining mascara will defines each and every lash. You can often find defining mascaras that also provide definition with a boost of volume.

“This is often appealing to women whose lashes tend to stick or clump together,” says Hernandez. “Because they do not help to thicken or lengthen, this product is not optimal for women who have fine, sparse or short lashes.”


With mascara, it’s not just the formula that creates the effect, it’s also the brush. Curling mascaras have a curved brush that helps create an upward, fluttery effect, according to Sacha Krasney, founder of bridal blog, Be U Weddings.

Lancôme Virtuôse Black Carat Divine Lasting Curves, Length & Volume Mascara offers it all without being clumpy.

Lancôme Virtuôse Black Carat Divine Lasting Curves, Length & Volume Mascara

For easy application, Krasney recommends applying mascara before any other makeup, since applying it the correct way can be quite messy. Clean up any mishaps with a Q-tip dipped in a drop of makeup remover and follow with tinted moisturizer and concealer.


Women who are looking for all-day wear or who simply don’t want to worry about mascara running should look no further than waterproof mascara. The good news is it comes in every variety so it’s easy to create the desired effect with the benefit of a water-resistant formula. The bad news is it can be tricky to remove, so be sure to invest in a good eye makeup remover at the same time.

CARGO Better-Than-Waterproof Mascara and Stila Lash Visor Waterproof Mascara promise not to flake in even the soggiest conditions.

CARGO Better-Than-Waterproof Mascara Stila Lash Visor Waterproof Mascara