These wands will go the distance.

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via sephora.com

Mascara technology is equal parts mystifying and shockingly simple. While not much has really changed in ways of the actual formula, from Dior to the drugstore, much of the innovation has been in wands, brushes, and wipers. But if you’re looking for just one goal whether it’s length, volume, curve, or color, the options can be overwhelming. Should you go with the brush that looks like a spiked, elongated lime or the one with a wand slightly curved?

Although we women editors of Southern Living pride ourselves on being well-rounded individuals who talk about everything from the latest episode of Serial to foreign affairs and even football, mascara and its many mysteries are topics that do come up relatively often in our conversation. You can be rest assured that the below recommendations are the products of much testing, trial, error, and even success. These are our top 5 options for mascaras that lengthen.

Tarte Tarteist Lash Paint: A more naturally minded formula plus a big rubber brush might not sound like a combination for dramatic length and volume, but it’s our top pick for a mascara that makes a statement without going over the top. It’s also the best we’ve seen in elongating bottom lashes for a Twiggy-lite approach.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: Ridiculous name aside, Assistant Katherine Owen says this tube is worth the hype. The number one best selling mascara on Sephora, fans love it for the hourglass-shaped brush that helps fill out and stretch and curl corner lashes.

Maybelline Full and Soft: You may have thought we were above it, but we’re not. Whether we’re waiting for payday to come around or not, our editors still love this $6 drugstore mascara that leaves a more natural look. Think of this as the weekday warrior of your makeup bag.

Covergirl So Lashy Blast Pro: Oh what’s that? You want more affordable options that will leave your friends who splurge on Benefit’s They’re Real in a jealous rage? Here you go. This lengthening and volumizing rubber brush also has a spiked tip on the end to help get every single lash with maximum efficiency.

Diorshow Maximizer 3D Triple Volume Plumping Lash Primer: A fun fact about mascara; you can turn almost any formula into the one of your dreams with the right primer. Sure it’s an extra step that might make you look VH1 Divas high-maintenance, and might not seem practical, but just a couple swipes of this white formula makes applying any regular mascara afterwards effortless.

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