A set of different mascara brush types in a row.

What’s the Difference Between Mascara Brushes?

A Guide to Mascara Brushes

Every week it seems like there is a new mascara promising four thousand times the volume, or eyelashes like a doll’s—and they all have different brushes. So how are you supposed to know which of the many mascara brush types is right for you?

The Focus Should Be on the Brush

Mascara usage is all about the brush. The simple fact is that the vast majority of different brands of mascara out there have very similar formulas. In fact, most mascara formulas on the market today don’t differ much from the mascaras sold at beauty counters 50 years ago.

On the other hand, the brushes that are used today are vastly different from those that were sold even 20 years ago. The materials and designs for mascara brushes are almost constantly being updated. There are a huge variety of styles available to choose from today, each promising different results.

Types of Brushes

The twisted wire brush is the most common kind of mascara brush. Nearly every mascara user recognizes this brush. A twisted wire brush’s nylon fibers protrude from a central wire.

Another common style of mascara brush is the plastic brush. A plastic brush is able to be molded into a flexible form. These are becoming more popular and allow for many different mascara brush types.

Brush Shapes

Not just made from different materials, brushes also come in a number of different shapes. Designed for different purposes, each shape gives a specific look. Here is a look at some of the main brush shapes:

The Classic Wand

As the name implies, this classic mascara brush shape forms the foundation of any woman’s mascara supplies. A classic brush creates a natural appearance for the lashes. This is a brush that will not be able to provide much in the way of volumizing effects.

Oversized Wand

For ladies looking for maximum volumizing, choose an oversized wand. This wand adds a tremendous amount of volume to an eyelash, giving a bold, intense look.

Cone or Tapered Wand

A tapered wand gives eyelashes a winged-out, cat-eye look. The cone taper wand narrows to a cone shape at the end of the brush, which allows the brush to apply more mascara to the ends of the lashes. The pointed tip also reaches into the very outer corner of the eye, elongating the look.

Curved Wand

This mascara wand shape is designed for creating the fanned-out look. The curved shape follows the curve of the eye, and helps create curl in the eyelashes.

Short-Bristled Wand

The tiny bristles on this mascara wand are helpful for creating a lengthening effect in the lashes. The tiny bristles allow for multiple applications without clumping, which is perfect for making the lashes appear longer.

These are the most popular brush types. Remember that it is more important to consider the kind of brush used, and not the specific formula of the mascara. When women add multiple styles of mascara brushes to their beauty kits, they will be ready to create any type of look in a flash.