If we find a mascara that doesn’t smudge or flake, then we’ve hit the jackpot. And if it’s also waterproof enough to make it through that one sad scene from UP without running? We’ve definitely struck gold. However, this sort of mascara can come with some downsides (like taking forever to remove), so it’s no surprise that tubing mascara is gaining popularity these days for its comparable results and easier removal process. But wait, what is tubing mascara? We asked our panel of experts to find out if it’s worth adding it to our makeup arsenal.
What Is Tubing Mascara? Top Makeup Artists Share Why You May Need it for Your Lashes
Looks like waterproof mascara has some competition
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Meet the Experts
- Monina Wright is a professional makeup artist and licensed esthetician in the Bay Area. She is also the founder and CEO of Moderne Beauty & Esthetics, where she trains aspiring makeup artists. She has over 20 years of experience in bridal makeup and hair services.
- Katie Mellinger is a celebrity makeup artist based in New York and Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Vanity Fair, i-D and W Magazine. Her previous clients include Tallulah Willis, Stephanie Beatriz and Zoe Lister-Jones.
- Elizabeth Follert is a celebrity makeup artist with 15 years of experience in the industry. Her work has been featured in editorial, advertising and commercial campaigns, as well as on the red carpet. Her previous clients include Jamie Lynn Spears, Lauren Ash and Constance Wu.
What Is Tubing Mascara?
Tubing mascara contains polymers that wrap around each individual lash and coat it with pigment. It’s known to lengthen and define lashes, while being flexible and lasting all day without flaking. It gets its name from the removal process because it comes off in little “tubes” when you wash it off.
What Are the Benefits of Using Tubing Mascara?
According to the makeup artists, tubing mascara is smudge-proof and water-resistant, which is great for anyone with sensitive eyes. As Wright explains, “Since the tubes bind to the lashes, tubing mascara is less likely to run or smudge like traditional mascaras. It’s an excellent choice if you’re traveling to more humid climates.” The product is also great for lifting and defining your lashes due to the individual ‘tubes’ it encases your lashes in. But the attribute that really sets it apart from other mascaras is the removal process. Wright notes only warm water is needed to remove it, so there’s less tugging and rubbing involved.
What Is the Difference Between Tubing Vs. Regular Mascara?
The differences between tubing and regular mascara boils down to the formula and how it’s removed. Here’s what you need to know:
- Formula: Regular mascaras are made of waxes, silicones or oil-based pigments, which coat the lashes. Tubing mascaras are made of water-soluble polymers that form a ‘tube’ around each lash, hence, the name.
- Removal Process: Tubing mascara is easier to wipe away and doesn't dry out the skin. Some regular mascaras (especially waterproof ones) can require a bit more scrubbing to remove, which can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin.
As for which one is better, it all depends on your preference. Both types of mascaras can get you longer, more defined lashes. Although waterproof and regular mascaras may offer more volume, tubing mascara can be gentler and is less prone to smudging or flaking throughout the day.
Are There Any Downsides to Using Tubing Mascara?
According to Wright, there are three downsides to tubing mascara: lack of volume, limited options and price. “Compared to traditional mascaras, tubing mascara may have less of a volumizing effect. The tubes can only add so much volume before it starts to look cakey,” she explains. “There are also fewer options (i.e., waterproof versions or different colors) and they can be priced higher than regular mascara.”
How Do You Apply Tubing Mascara?
All the experts say tubing mascara works just like regular mascara. Start at the base of your lashes and wiggle the wand left to right towards the tips of your lashes. If your lashes get stuck together, Mellinger suggests using a lash comb or brush to separate them quickly before the mascara dries. She notes, “For a bit more volume, you can apply a second coat while your lashes are still wet. However, if you keep layering on more coats after the mascara dries, things can get clumpy due to the nature of the polymers.”
How Do You Remove Tubing Mascara?
The removal process is simple. All you need is a cotton pad and warm water—no makeup remover necessary. Soak the cotton pad in warm water before placing it over your eyelids. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then, gently wipe down your lashes using a light pressure and the ‘tubes’ will slide right off.
How to Find the Best Tubing Mascara
There are a few factors you want to consider when buying a tubing mascara.
- Ingredients: Look at the label for ingredients like propanediol, dimethicone, polysilicon-11, glyceryl stearate and cera alba.
- Features: Ask yourself, do you want fluffier lashes? Long and separated lashes? The name (or even the wand itself) will hint at what you’re searching for. For example, a long and skinny wand helps with length and definition. Meanwhile, a fluffy pointed tip is great for apply product evenly and improving volume.
Need some recommendations? We found nine tubing mascaras that should be on your radar.
If you’re going to reach for any tubing mascara, let it be this one by Essence. With over 4,800 5-star reviews (and a gold star by one editor), this mascara yields more voluminous and defined lashes without flaking or smudging. “I’ve tried so many pricey mascaras, but I’m always drawn to this budget-friendly formula. It adds length and a nice pigment to bring out my eyes—and it lasts all day without clumping,” says Chelsea Candelario, associate editor.
Best Clean Pick
Tower 28 Beauty
This mascara is all about lengthening and volumizing your lashes. It’s formulated with a Aquaflex technology (often used in haircare) and designed with a flexible triple wave wand to keep your lashes defined, lifted and curled. It also features a castor oil blend, which aims to condition and strengthen your lashes. “This is one of my favorite mascaras on the market! It’s perfect for enhancing your lashes, giving them the most natural look, especially in the brown shade. This is perfect for everyday wear and doesn’t bother my sensitive eyes. Highly recommend it!!” shares one shopper.
Best Flake-Free Formula
This award-winning mascara has more than 30,000 reviews with many raving about its flake-free formula. The brand uses their signature tubing technology and a conditioning blend of shea butter and castor seed oil that has us sold on trying it. “It’s hands down the best. It dries fast and adds length, but also volume. It stays put ALL DAY. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan, which makes it even better,” says Follert. “Also, all of my clients with sensitive eyes love this mascara as it does not cause irritation. I also love that it comes in three different shades.”
Best for Lengthening
Want fluffier lashes? This tubing mascara from Caliray has you covered. Formulated with two percent argan oil, the mascara promises to improve volume, length and curl. The skinny wand gives you a precise application without causing any clumps. For one reviewer, they found it’s a nice option for everyday wear. “I absolutely love this mascara. I have short, straight lashes and this completely transforms them. (I never use a lash curler either, so this is entirely the mascara.) It doesn’t flake or smudge compared to the Tarte tubing mascara. This one looks much more natural,” shares one customer.
Best for Conditioning
This 3-in-1 mascara focuses on lengthening and conditioning your lashes. It’s packed with peptides and ashwagandha to nourish and strengthen each hair. Shoppers say it’s smudge-proof, and when used consistently, it can improve the health of your lashes.
Best for Daily Wear
Mascara is the MVP of our makeup bags, so it’s only right to find one we can rely on day in and day out. This one from Merit aims to separate, lengthen and define lashes minus clumps and flakes. Plus, it has ingredients like fatty acids, olive oil and plant-derived rice bran to condition lashes. One shopper sums it up best: “It’s easy to apply, easy to take off and it makes my lashes long.”
The OG Mascara
This tubing mascara has a dedicated fan base and we understand the hype. The formula promises a long-lasting look that doesn’t smudge, flake or clump—even if you mistakenly rub your eyes. The brand claims it’s ideal for sensitive eyes and this rave review explains why it’s a classic: “Nothing else holds up like Blinc. All day and even overnight lashes look perfect with zero flaking or smudging. [I] have been using it for at least ten years,” shares one shopper.
This tubing mascara promises up to 24 hours of wear without flaking or smudging throughout the day. Formulated with shea butter and castor oil, it conditions and moisturizes lashes, while also making for an easier removal process. Fans say it adds impressive length and curl. “I’ve been getting lash extensions for years and finally took a break. I’ve been trying all kinds of mascaras and fell in love with this one. It gives you that dark lash line and makes your lashes long!” says one reviewer.
Best for Short Lashes
This lengthening mascara is known to define lashes—minus any flakes, smears or clumps. It’s designed with a fine-bristled, flexible wand that catches even the shortest lashes. As Mellinger shares, it’s her favorite mascara to use on clients: “It’s super strong and long lasting. It also contains vitamin E, which helps to condition the lashes. Of all the tubing mascaras I’ve tried, it’s the closest to being able to hold a curl.”
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