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When it comes to long-lasting mascaras, there’s no denying that waterproof formulas take first place. And while they may not budge during a dip in the pool, on a humid summer day, or during a marathon viewing of The Notebook, the downside is that they can be admittedly hard to remove. You’re going to need a dedicated waterproof eye makeup remover for sure, and even then, it often requires more than a little bit of elbow grease to fully take off these budge-proof mascaras. All of that harsh scrubbing can end up taking a toll on your delicate lashes, often making waterproof mascaras almost not worth it.
Enter tubing mascaras, which originally started in Japan, gradually made their way stateside, and have continued to grow in popularity over the past few years. Unlike traditional formulas, which paint your lashes with pigment, these use polymers that essentially shrink wrap each individual lash with tiny tubes. The result? Not only a long and lengthened effect, but increased staying power to boot. Tubing mascaras won’t smudge, but will also come off with only a little bit of warm water and a washcloth or cotton pad—could it get any better? (FYI, if you’ve never tried these, you will see the little tubes coming off, but don’t worry, those aren’t your actual lashes.) If you’re curious to get in on the tubing mascara trend, try any one of these seven standouts.
Best Overall: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara
Adds volume, lift and length
Coating is a bit thick
Consider this the OG of the bunch. As a general rule, tubing mascaras are usually best for adding extra length, simply based on the way in which they work and how the tubes wrap around and extend each lash. But when you want both length and added fullness, reach for this option. Not only does it contain the fibers it also has bold pigments to help thicken and separate lashes. Added jojoba oil keeps your fringe both soft and shiny, and the super skinny brush makes swiping and application easier than ever. Reviewers repeatedly not how it never leaves them with raccoon eyes, a major win in our book.
Benefits: Infused with volume-building fibers to thicken, separate, and lengthen lashes | Size: 0.18 oz. | Shades: Rich Pitch Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What Our Testers Say
“For those with shorter eyelashes, the brush really helps to define and elongate without a messy application.” — Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Doll Eye Mascara
Instantly lengthens lashes
Comes with a tube for more volume
Conditions and softens lashes
Nothing to scrape excess product
This is one of the most affordable tubing mascaras out there. Using both natural oils and nylon fibers, it instantly lengthens lashes. And for when you need added staying power, it also comes in a waterproof version, as well as one that adds more volume. Bonus points for the addition of vitamin E, which helps condition lashes to keep them soft and fluttery.
Benefits: Unique blend of natural oils, vitamin E and nylon fibers extends eyelashes to almost faux proportions | Size: 0.28 oz. | Shades: Extreme Jet Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Volumizing: Blinc Original Tubing Mascara
Can layer multiple coats
Smudge- and flake-free setting
While most tubing mascaras are choice for lengthening, this adds volume, too, and is available in both black and brown. You can also layer multiple coats until you achieve your desired effect, just make sure to swipe them on within two minutes of one another. Once the formula sets, it sets, so you don’t have to worry about smudges or flakes.
Benefits: Water-resistant for maximum hold and conditioning | Size: 0.17 oz. | Shades: Black, Dark Brown | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Conditioning Formula: DHC Mascara Perfect Pro Double Protection
Flexible wand reaches tiniest lashes
Infused vitamin E adds sheen and conditions
Can be a bit flaky
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and oil often found in anti-oxidant blend topicals or moisturizers. It also helps soothe the skin and protects the lipid barrier.
This super-lengthening Japanese formula contains beeswax and vitamin E, which condition the lashes while you're wearing it and also give them an alluring sheen.
Benefits: Conditions and strengthens the eyes with infused beeswax and vitamin E | Size: 1.7 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore Option: L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes
Easy to remove
Lengthens lashes up to 80 percent
Ceramides are a part of a complex family of fats or lipids called a sphingolipid. They work to restore the skin barrier and lock in moisture.
This two-step formula promises up to 80 percent longer-looking lashes. The dual-sided tube contains a base coat infused with conditioning ingredients such as ceramides and panthenol; swipe this on first to both protect and strengthen lashes, while also creating a base for the tubes to come. Next, apply the tubing top coat (there’s no need to wait in between) for impressively long lashes. Reviewers repeatedly comment on how well it stays on, without smudging, even on lower lashes.
Benefits: Lengthens the eyelashes up to 80% | Size: 0.33 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Sensitive Eyes: Clinique Lash Power Mascara
Long-lasting 24-hour wear time
Lengthens even the tiniest of lashes
Holds up for watery eyes and oily eyelids
Might irritate sensitive eyes
As anyone with sensitive eyes will tell you, mascara can quickly become more trouble than it’s worth. Happily, this lengthening formula is both allergy-tested and ophthalmologist-tested, fragrance-free, and won’t irritate contact lens wearers. With unique thermal technology, it also touts an impressive 24 hour wear-time. Plus, the thin and slightly tapered brush makes it easy to reach your bottom lashes, as well as the tiny ones on the inner and outer corners of your eyes.
Benefits: Stays put for 24 hours | Size: 0.6 oz. | Shades: Black Onyx and Dark Chocolate | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Natural Formula: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara
Flake-Free Tubing Technology™ gives voluminous lashes
Powered by plant stem cell technology
Comes in three shades
Can be hard to apply
Sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt that's derived from hyaluronic acid, which can be found naturally in the body. Like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate binds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, but this form can penetrate deeper into the skin due to its lower molecular weight and is more stable.
Vegan, cruelty-, paraben-, and sulfate-free, this uses a long list of natural ingredients to improve both the look and feel of your fringe. Buildable fibers add faux lash-like length, while Korean plant extracts strengthen lashes. It also contains an orchid stem cell complex to help encourage lash growth (yes, please), and a combination of vitamin B5 and sodium hyaluronate to moisturize, which is why so many pleased customers rave about how smoothly it glides on.
Benefits: Infused shea butter and castor seed oil condition lashes during wear along with stem cell complex for healthier-looking lashes | Size: 0.38 oz. | Shades: Rich Black, Deep Blue, Brown Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Humidity-Proof Formula: Surratt Beauty Relevée Mascara
Infused microfibers add more volume
Slim, angled brush simultaneously lifts and fans
Celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt’s eponymous makeup line is largely inspired by Japanese technologies and innovations, so it’s no surprise that he created a tubing mascara. Choice for muggy summer days, the humidity-proof formula contains microfibers to extend lashes, along with a slim and angled brush that helps lift and fan them out simultaneously. Also nice: The packaging is recyclable, which is not often the case with cosmetics.
Benefits: Humidity-proof Japanese tubing formula hyperextends lashes | Size: 0.2 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What to Look For in Tubing Mascaras
Do you prefer curved wands, or do you find yourself opting for cone-shaped wands? Mascara wands can differ in shape, size, number of bristles, and material. When you’re looking at tubing mascaras, take the wand into account because you might find that some are easier to use or better complement your lashes.
Tubing mascaras come in different colors, from chocolate brown to jet black. Some tubing mascaras might come in a wide range of colors, while others might only come in a single shade. Before purchasing a tubing mascara, look at the color or colors offered so you can ensure it will be best suited for your lashes.
Like other traditional mascaras, tubing mascara comes in a variety of formulations. If you swear by mascara that’s ophthalmologist-tested, or you are dedicated to only using cruelty-free products, be sure to check a tubing mascara’s formula. This is especially important if you wear glasses or contact lenses, have sensitive eyes, or are allergic to ingredients often found in mascaras.
What are the benefits of tubing mascaras?
Tubing mascaras add length and volume to your lashes while resisting smudging, running, and flaking. A bonus? Tubing mascara can be removed painlessly and doesn’t even require makeup remover. Avoid irritation and harsh chemicals by gently washing your lids with water.
How do you apply and remove tubing mascaras?
Tubing mascara can be applied like traditional mascara—simply run the wand from the root to the end of your lashes over and over so that they are amply covered. To remove, you can use a standard makeup remover. However, you can also wash with water and a washcloth, cotton pad, or just clean hands.
Do tubing mascaras expire?
Unfortunately, your tubing mascara won’t last forever. Given the potential for microbial growth and the risk of eye infection, the FDA suggests you replace your tubing mascara three months after purchase.
This is especially important for tubing mascara made of only natural ingredients as it might lack preservatives, making it more susceptible to microbial growth. If your tubing mascara feels dry or as though it’s expired before the three-month mark, you should replace it.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Cosmetics safety q&a: shelf life.