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The Ultimate Mascara Guide

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The Ultimate Mascara Guide
Our makeup maven gives us her top favorite mascara picks! Did yours make the list?

By GalTime's Makeup Expert Andrea Ducharme

If there's one thing that can be considered THE must-have item in every woman's makeup bag, it's mascara. Long and lush lashes flutter to the top of most beauty wish lists, but with thousands of types and brands to choose from, finding your perfect match can often seem daunting.

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Here is a guide for taking the guess work out of it:

​Related: Secret to Stay-Put Eye Makeup

First, decide what you want your lashes to look like. Long and separated? Thick and full? Natural? When in doubt, choose a mascara described as lengthening and separating, since you can usually dial up the drama with several coats. Volumizing formulas can look clumpy if the brush is too thick.

​Take a look at the brush. Smaller brushes will give more defined lashes, while larger ones will deposit more color in one coat for thickness. The flip side is that larger brushes can be trickier to work with, especially on the lower lash line.

Do you need waterproof mascara, or a formula that's simply smudge resistant? I typically recommend waterproof formulas for special occasions only, as they can be more difficult to remove. The good news is that most of today's mascaras are smudge-proof and should stay put.

In terms of color, I recommend black for everyone. It frames the eye and does more to make your lashes stand out than a dark brown. Colored mascaras are fun once in a while, but black will always be the first choice of every makeup artist.

Let's talk about price point. There are plenty of great brands under $10, but if you do want to splurge on a department store brand, Lancome, Estee Lauder and Dior have some wonderful formulations. You might even be able to score a sample before you buy. (PS: I've listed 5 of my favorite mascaras below.)

Once you've found the winning formula, here's the best way to apply: Curl you lashes first, then gently press the brush into the roots of your lash line and pull up. Repeat while the mascara is still wet. (If you apply a second coat once it is dry, it can look clumpy.) If the mascara brush comes out of the tube with too much product, just wipe the edges on the tube. Using tissues will dry out your tube more quickly, and possibly add tiny fibers to the brush.

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