What Is Tubing Mascara? We Asked Pros to Explain the Viral Lash Makeup

Khera Alexander wearing a tubing mascara

Khera Alexander

For decades mascara has been a staple in even the most natural makeup wearers' vanities. And whether you have short lashes that need lengthening, curly lashes that need some separation, or brittle lashes that could benefit from being thicker, there's a formulation to meet your needs.

By now, you've probably heard of tubing mascara, which has made the rounds as a popular alternative to more traditional mascara formulas. But what exactly does it do, and how does it differ from other options? Ahead, with the help of pro esthetician Darya Rzaca and makeup artist Lex Smith, we break it all down for you.

Meet the Expert

  • Darya Rzaca is a professional esthetician and co-founder of Atelier Beauté Spa in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Lex Smith is the global makeup artist for Tarte Cosmetics.

What Is Tubing Mascara?

Tubing mascaras contain polymers that wrap around the individual lash like a tube, unlike traditional formulas that coat each eyelash. "Tubing mascaras have these tiny lengthening 'tubes' that wrap around each lash like your fave cashmere wrap, creating an enhanced lengthening effect," Smith explains. "Every time I wear tubing mascara, I get many compliments on my lashes, and people mistake my natural lashes for extensions."

The Benefits of Tubing Mascara

  • ​​Less flaking and smudging: If you experience smudging or flaking with your mascaras, tubing mascara might be what you're looking for. "Regular mascaras contain oils and waxes that can weigh your lashes down with pigment and can easily smudge," says Smith. "Rather than painting your lashes, [a tubing formula] wraps around each individual lash, creating the ultimate lifted and lengthening effect.
  • Easier to remove: "Tubing formulas also help prevent tugging at your natural lashes and are super easy to remove with a little warm water," says Smith. "My favorite thing has to be how easy it is to remove, but [it] also has incredible staying power that doesn’t flake or budge."

Tubing Mascara vs. Traditional Mascara

The main differences between tubing and traditional mascaras are the formulas and removal process. "Anyone looking for a lash extension effect should reach for a tubing mascara," says Smith. "I also recommend tubing mascara for anyone with sensitive eyes, as the removal process is a lot easier than [it is with] regular mascara."

When it comes to longevity, "tubing mascara takes the cake," says Smith. "The polymers in tubing mascara are much more stable and withstand your face oils breaking [them] down, unlike regular wax-based mascaras. Tubing mascaras also dry quicker and are smudge-proof, leaving you with a more reliable eyelash coating—so you don’t have to check up on your lashes throughout the day."

How to Apply Tubing Mascara

You apply tubing mascara as you would any other mascara. Start at the base of your lash and wiggle the wand to get a good grip from the start. Then extend the brush in an upward motion and slowly coat each lash. Another great benefit of tubing mascara is that it rarely forms clumps, so applying a second coat is easy.

How to Remove Tubing Mascara

"The main benefit of tubing mascara is that you can easily remove it using warm water," Rzaca says. "Tubing mascaras don't require any makeup remover. What's more, they do not smudge, crush, or leave so-called 'raccoon eyes' during the removal process."

If tubing mascara can be removed with water alone, what is the most efficient way to do so? "As simple as it may sound, you just saturate a cotton pad with warm water, gently press and hold it against your lashes for 30 seconds, then gently wipe the mascara off the lashes," Rzaca explains.

How does this removal process compare to that of regular mascara? "When it comes to regular mascaras, using a cleansing oil to remove your makeup is a great solution, especially if the skin around your eyes tends to lack moisture more than the rest of your skin," says Rzaca. "Oils simply slide mascara off of your lashes. Use a saturated cotton pad and gently press and hold it against your lashes for at least 30 seconds, then gently wipe the mascara off your lashes." Clinique's Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips ($24) is an oil-based cleanser that gets the job done. If you're looking for an oil-free option, try Orveda's Eye Makeup Remover and Pro-Fortifying Lash Serum ($90), which helps remove makeup from even the most sensitive of eyes.

And as Rzaca reminds us, "never go to sleep with any kind of mascara on. It doesn’t matter whether it is a tubing mascara. When the mascara dries overnight, it can cause your lashes to fall off, and a stiff lash can scratch your cornea while you're sleeping. Mascara can rub against your pillow and get into your eyes. All can lead to eye irritation."

The Final Takeaway

If you're looking for a mascara that can provide long wear, smudge resistance, and easy application, we suggest trying a tubing formula. Tubing mascaras provide a lash extension-like effect and apply the same as traditional mascaras. Consider us sold.

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