The mascara guide: how to elevate your look with the right mascara


Our mascara choice is one of the most personal and sacred portions of our beauty routines. We’ll take skincare and hair care advice from everyone and anyone, even those with completely different concerns. But try to convince someone to trial a new mascara or that you’re working with a better wand and the conversation is over.

It is a beauty constant that you’ll find in every kit around the globe, even in routines of those who prefer nothing more than an SPF and a splash of water. Basically, these lash-lengthening, volumising wonders are universally loved by all.

So why is complacency so dangerous? Day or night, sans shadow or not, mascara has the power to transform our look but requires minimal effort. Lengthy lashes help us to look (and feel) awake but don’t require hours in front of the mirror and makeup remover-soaked meltdowns.

Becoming comfortable means you forget just how spectacular these lashes can look, especially if you’re wearing the same formulation for every occasion. And, if you find yourself becoming bored or distracted by shiner more expensive trends, a mascara switch-up may save you time and money.

No matter if you prefer to draw inside the lines in all other aspects of your life, beauty choices are where we can experiment. Even if experimentation is in black and white, there’s still fun to be had.

So how to take your wand and draw outside the lines? We’re so glad you asked.

Find your length

There’s no reason your arsenal shouldn’t include multiple mascaras, especially if by day you’re drawn to low-key beauty and after dark you’re dipping into the rainbow for a bright-eyed look. Finding the right lengthening mascara, one that may be too much for most workplaces but delivers a lash-lengthening kick like Stila’s Huge Extreme Lash Mascara may be just what you’re missing. If all-day length is a priority and you’re more for big, bold and intense lashes, layer on the NARS Climax Mascara liberally. For extra lifted, long and thick lashes, hold the wand at the roots and lift for five seconds, slowly pulling the formula from root to tip. To make lashes actually grow longer and stronger, By Terry's Mascara Terrybly is a must. Its formula actually protects and strengthens lashes, making them thicker and lengthier each time you put this mascara on.

Turn up the volume

Volumising mascara might not be your everyday go-to but there’s certainly a time and a place to amp things up. If you’re leaning into a smokey eye or bold look on the lids, your regular meeting-ready mascara isn’t going to cut it. You want volume without weight; definition without the clump and a formula that can still be seen when paired with an inky liquid liner or bright wash of colour.

Too Faced’s Damn Girl! 24 Hour Mascara won’t fade into the background and brings a certain amount of drama other mascaras just can’t match. Most importantly, it’s smudge and flake-proof so it won’t travel down your face or reach for your cut crease. Likewise, The Volume Mascara from Kevyn Aucoin delivers on its name but won’t feel daunting. The tubing formula leaves lashes defined but deftly coated, meaning you’re rewarded with volume not clump and lashes that complement your look.

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Curl up, curl up

To perfect the curled lash is to perfect feigning eight hours of sleep. Paired with the right concealer a curling mascara can open up the eyes and deliver a fresh, wide-eyed feel. Can you really say your current mascara is delivering on that? To test drive a curled lash reach for a lightweight formula like Kevyn Aucoin’s The Curling Mascara which cleverly curls and ‘shrink-wraps’ the lash to ensure the shape stays all day. Or, if you’re willing to experiment, the Lash-Expert Twist Brush Mascara from By Terry allows you to define, volumise and curl thanks to its two-step twist custom-brush system and smooth-as-butter formula.

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A natural order

Ready to branch out but want to try a formula that’s natural and won’t disappear halfway through the day? Ilia’s Limitless Lash Mascara is formulated with shea butter to treat your lashes but won’t budge; the dual-sided brush allows you to reach smaller lashes at the inner corner of the eyes and comb through your longer, more prominent lashes to separate, thicken and lengthen all at once.

If you’re turning to a natural mascara to give your lashes a break from bad behaviour, Gucci Westman’s Westman Atelier Eye Love You Mascara is infused with chicory root to give your eyelashes body; and a cocktail of sunflower seed, carnauba and beeswaxes to lend structure and volume that’s actually good for you. Great lashes start with healthy lashes.

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All-in-one investments

If you’re willing to invest in a mascara but require one that does it all, that is, one that brings volume and length but won’t smudge or budge; holds a curl and lifts but doesn’t clump or stick, we suggest looking to the all-rounders like Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara (a cult classic) or the Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara (a trusty vegan option). Both deliver on all of the above and coat the lashes with a reliable, pitch black formula that does it all. Unlocked™ Instant Extensions Mascara from Hourglass is a tubing mascara that ensures lift, length and definition, while also being vegan and cruelty-free. The formula makes it smudge-proof, but easily removed with warm water. Five percent of the proceeds from this product go to the Nonhuman Rights Project to help secure civil rights for non-human animals.

The saver

Willing to experiment but too low on funds to make a wrong move? Then reach for MECCA MAX's Wink Ink Super Mascara, a budget-friendly formula that will break you out of your mascara rut with its ultra-pigmented and buildable formula. Wiggle the wand from root to tip to ensure you’re coating every inch of your lashes.

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