Mascara types

Mascara brushes. The different types of mascaras. Lengthening, thickening, curling, waterproof, volume mascara

Mascara – Lash Me Up

Mascara brush
Mascara brush

For those who do not have luxurious long dark volumous curled lashes, mascara is a lifesaver in the beauty world. It frames the eyes while giving it an instant lift. It has been around for over a century and since then original mascara, black kohl and wax, has evolved.

1920's mascara. Wax and Kohl
1920’s mascara. Wax and Kohl

Modern Mascara Ingredients

Pigment – Carbon black or Iron Oxide

Coating – Polymer which form a film

Ingredients depending on type of mascara – water, wax (castor oil, carnuba wax and candelilla wax) or oils (lanolin, mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum)

Preservatives – The one to avoid is thimerosal (causes conjunctivitis and eyelid dermatitis)

Types of Mascara

Mascara brushes
Mascara brushes

It is not just the ingredients that set them apart it is also the brush


Lengthening Mascara Nars Cosmetics
Lengthening Mascara Nars Cosmetics

Best for: Short lashes

Lengthening mascara brushes are short  with thicker and longer bristles, allowing the product to reach more lashes. It is also easier to handle when trying to reach the tight corners.


Lancome definition mascara
Lancome definition mascara

Best for: Volumous lashes that need separation and definition.

Ingredients difference: Plastic polymers which adds to the tips of the lashes – lengthening. Glycerin and silk extracts allow a less clumpy look.

The brush is long with fewer bristles similar to an eyelash brush. It helps to separate and with the pigment define the lashes.  For extra definition achieving a more precise look – Givenchy’s patented mascara, ‘Phenomenen eyes’.


Thickening mascara Urban Decay Big Fatty mascara
Thickening mascara Urban Decay Big Fatty mascara

Best for: Thin lashes

Ingredients difference: More polymers and waxes which helps thicken the lashes.

The brush will be long with a thick head and closely compacted bristles which makes it easier to tint every single lash and give more pigment and volume.


Waterproof mascara Yves Saint Laurent
Waterproof mascara Yves Saint Laurent

Best for: Avoiding smudge and or dissolving in water

Ingredients difference: These two types of mascara differ from the others in that they contain no water but wax and oil.

The ingredients above make them therefore waterproof/smudgeproof. However with great power comes great restraint – use sparingly for they can dry the lashes and be difficult to remove demanding an oil based remover.


Curling mascara Shishedo  integrate volume and curl
Curling mascara Shisedo integrate volume and curl

Best for: Straight lashes

Ingredients difference : Filmifying polymers which lift the lashes and support it.

The brush will be curled  which aids the action of curling the lashes especially when applied from the top side.

Eyebrow Mascara

Eyebrow mascara Sephora
Eyebrow mascara Sephora

Best for: Brushed up eyebrows

Ingredients: water, emulsion, Isoprophyl, silicon and or gel

Similar to mascara brush yet is for eyebrows. Combs while keeping the hairs from limping. Great for a groomed look. Think actress, Lily Collins.


A primer mascara helps to protect and nourish your eyelashes. A primer layer over your lashes prevents the product from clumping, achieving an even application and not damaging them. And of course makes the product longer lasting.

*For a more natural look aim for a mascara with a rubber wand with evenly spaced out bristles that will just give a hint of color more than anything else.

Aim: Match your lashes with the right mascara

Women in 1950's hats and New York
Women in 1950’s hats and New York


Image Resources:

A Brief History of Eye Makeup – by Gabriela Hernandez

7 Steps For Perfect Mascara Application

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