The Different Types of Mascara Explained

An essential part of every makeup routine, mascara is always there for you to finish off your look, and make you feel put together. But there isn’t just one type of mascara, no. There are different formulas, different wand types, and let’s not forget different colours too. 

You may have a favourite trusty mascara that you’ve gone back to time and time again, but is it the best mascara for your lash type? Not every mascara type works in the same way, and some work a lot better for different lash types than others. So, whether you’re looking for a new one to try or want to check you’re using the best formula for your lashes, we have all the mascara info you need here…

Lengthening Mascara

Lengthening mascara does what it says on the tin, it adds the appearance of length to lashes. These types of mascaras will be a fibre formula mascara, they will add to your lash length and hold all day. Lengthening mascaras can give a lash extension effect by adding micro fibres to your lashes –  long fluttery lashes incoming. 

Lengthening mascaras will be a perfect fit if you have short or sparse lashes. Look for ones with wands that have lots of individual bristles, so they coat each individual lash. 

Volumising Mascara

Volumising mascaras are all about bringing added drama to your lashes. Using a volumising mascara will thicken the look of your lashline for a full-bodied effect. Look for thick and densely-bristled wands, as these will ensure every lash is coated. Hourglass-shaped brushes are also a great option for this mascara type.

If you have sparse lashes, opting for a volumising mascara will help create the effect of a fuller lash line.


Curling Mascara

Curling mascara doesn’t weigh your lashes down, it works to curl them for the perfect ‘doll-eye’ look, and most importantly holds them in place all day. Curling mascara wands work to lift your lashes from the root for the perfect curl. 

If you find your lashes are naturally straight, a curling mascara is for you. Curling mascaras will typically have a curved brush, which helps to lift and curl every lash. 

Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara is a makeup marvel. If you want to be able to wear mascara whilst swimming or in humid climates, waterproof mascara is there for you. Plus, if you live in the U.K. and are faced with rain on what feels like most days, waterproof mascara can prevent you from turning up to work with panda eyes. 

What’s more, if you know you have sensitive eyes that are prone to watering, waterproof mascara is essential. Waterproof mascaras are typically made using a wax or silicone-based formula and this means that they repell water. All the non-smudging pros of waterproof mascara do mean it has a slight con of being more difficult to remove. As you guessed it, it won’t easily come off with water alone. 

To remove waterproof mascara, an oil cleanser and oil-based eye makeup remover is key – you might also want to try double cleansing. Just remember to always be gentle with your delicate eye area, even when removing stubborn waterproof mascara. 


Non-Clumping Mascara

A non-clumping mascara is really all down to the type of wand used. You’ll find that non-clumping mascaras tend to use curved brushes with micro bristles. This allows the product to evenly disperse across each lash. If your mascara contains conditioning ingredients, this will also help avoid annoying clumps, delivering you a fanned-out lash look. 

If you don’t want a specifically non-clumping mascara but would like to prevent clumps from forming when you use your usual product, you could comb through your lashes with a clean wand once you’ve applied your mascara of choice. The mascara equivalent of brushing knots out of your hair. 

Mascara Primer

Mascara primer isn’t essential but it does have some benefits you won’t want to miss. If you do find mascaras tend to flake off during the day, applying a lash primer first can help prolong wear. 

If you have thinner lashes, you might find a primer helps with an overall thicker lash look. By conditioning lashes, the primer itself will slightly thicken your lashes before you’ve even applied your mascara. Follow it up with a volumising mascara and bam, thick dramatic lashes will be yours. 

Mascara Formulas Explained

Now you know all about the different mascara types, it should be easy enough to pick out the best new mascara for your makeup collection. But if you want a little more detail on formula types to look out for, then we have the details on the main three below. You’ll be able to find most types of the above mascaras are made from one of these formulas, so if you know you prefer one over the other, look out for that when topping up your makeup bag.

Water-Based Mascara

Mascaras made from a water-based formula are not to be confused with waterproof mascaras. Water-based mascaras are typically made with a lot less chemicals in them, making them great for sensitive eyes. 

If you have eyelash extensions or have lash lifts and want to avoid breaking down the glue or the bond, water-based mascaras are for you. They are also easy to remove meaning you can be super gentle on your lashes and still remove any mascara. 

You’ll find curling mascaras work really well when they have a water-based formula, this is because they can hold curls well as they are lightweight and won’t weigh your lashes down. 

Tubing Mascara

If you’ve been hearing more about this and have been wondering what tubing mascara is, you’re not alone. Tubing mascara is a formula that has been increasing in popularity. You’ll find many popular brands have mascaras made with a tubing formula these days. 

Tubing mascara literally forms tubes around your lashes (typically with polymers), creating an amazing lengthening effect. What we love most about tubing mascara is how it comes off though. If you are sick of removing your makeup, to still be left with mascara smudges the next morning, try a tubing mascara. With just water, these types of mascaras will easily come off in clumps and tubes, leaving no smudgy residue behind.

Fibre Mascara

Fibre mascaras are great for adding length and volume to lashes, you’ll find most mascaras are made up of this formula. They tend to be wax-based and will add micro fibres to your lashes for a brilliant lengthening effect. 

There you have it, a complete guide to mascara types. Which ones are your go-tos, are you going to try any new types or formulas out? Haul your new favourite mascara today!