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Your Ultimate Guide to Every Type of Mascara

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How can you live without mascara? You shouldn’t. your mascara is a very important element of your eye makeup, because of the definition it creates. Full, thick, dark lashes are a must because they help open up your eyes, which makes them look more alive and youthful.

I love mascara. It would be one of the first items I would take to a deserted island. I could not live without it. But enough about love! Mascara comes in different formulas that give you a different and a variety of results. Of course, your application technique will also make a difference in your results. You have the choice to find the formula that helps you achieve the look you want.

tip: It’s always better to apply two thin coats of mascara, rather than one thick, clumpy coat.

thickening mascara coats each lash from root to tip with particles that add bulk to the lashes and help them look thick and full. It is formulated with dark pigments, thick waxes, and silicone polymers, which create the density. This formula is the thickest of all formulas because the goal is to increase lash size. Yes, sometimes size does matter!

lengthening mascara contains plastic polymers that cling to the tips of the lashes, making them appear longer. Thinner than a thickening formula, it does not add bulk, just particles that attach to the end of your lashes and add precious length.

defining mascara coats each lash and keeps them separated and defined. If mascara is labeled as defined, it usually means that it does not contain particles that add bulk and length to your lashes; it simply coats each lash with color, for subtle definition. Defining mascara usually appears the most natural.

waterproof mascara means that the formula has been shown not to smudge or smear when subjected to (submerged or totally dowsed in) water or tears in tests. Most mascaras are available in a waterproof formula. It’s harder to remove than other formulas, so be sure you use a good eye-makeup remover for cleansing.

water-resistant mascara resists smearing and smudging but is not fully waterproof. Look up water-resistant in the dictionary and you will see that the word is defined as resisting, though not entirely preventing the penetration of water, and that is the perfect description. It won’t hold up to swimming or sweating, so it’s not a good choice for a sports mascara. 

curling mascara is supposed to help curl your lashes as you apply it. I am only listing it because it has been a big craze, but I have not found these mascaras to curl enough to provide the benefits you need. The theory behind them is that they contain polymers that contract (shrink) once applied, causing your lashes to curl and lift. Not my personal favorite!

choosing a mascara wand:

The majority of women do not realize that the shape and bristles of a mascara wand have just as much impact on the look of their lashes as the mascara’s formula and their application technique. There are many wand options out there today, everything from a rubber brush to a comb. In the past, your wand choices were much less varied, making one easier to choose. The following are some key things to consider when deciding what you want and need from your brush or applicator.

Keep in mind that, regardless of wand type, you still ultimately have control of your finished look, through the application technique you choose.

• A wand with long, fat, full, thick, dense bristles will help thicken and lengthen your lashes as you apply your mascara because it coats every lash with the product.

• A wand with short, dense bristles (it might even resemble a screw) helps define your lashes because it allows you to coat each lash with a thin coat of product from the root to the tip.

• A wand with bristles that taper from short at the tip to longer in the middle or base (it might taper from thin to thick to thin, like a football), defines, thickens, and lengthens lashes. It enables you to perform detailed defining work with the tip (because the tip bristles are shorter) while giving you volume and length from the bristles in the middle and at the base of the brush (because the bristles are longer and fuller).

• A wand with widely spaced rubber bristles defines and separates your lashes, giving you a thin, even coating of product on every lash.

• A wand shaped like a comb defines and separates every lash. It provides a thin coat of product while combing and separating each lash, which completely eliminates clumping and prevents lashes from getting stuck together.

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