One of my favorite beauty product discoveries of the past five years has been tubing mascara. Like dry shampoo, it’s one of those innovations that has truly changed my routine. No more makeup remover, cotton rounds or raccoon eyes. Have you tried it yet? If not, here’s what to know about how it differs from traditional mascara, how to use it, and why you should jump on the bandwagon ASAP.
What Is Tubing Mascara and How Is It Different?
“Unlike conventional mascaras, tubing mascaras contain polymers that wrap around each individual lash,” explains Vanessa Eckels, global makeup artist and artistry trainer at Hourglass Cosmetics. “Not only does this create an enhanced lengthening effect, but it also ensures a smudge and flake-free formula that is extremely easy to remove at the end of the day. Each tube slides right off with warm water.” (See a quick video of me using it here.)
Karissa Bodnar, makeup artist and founder of Thrive Causemetics, says that the lightweight polymers create a “tube” around each individual lash, hence the name tubing mascara. “They build and extend beyond the lash for maximum length without weighing the lashes down. The best tubing formulas are also long-lasting and flake-resistant.”
Tubing mascaras are primarily beloved for their lengthening benefits, but if you choose the right one, you can also achieving some volume and curl. In my experience (I think I’ve tried every one on the market), some are much more natural-looking than others, and require many more coats to achieve the look I’m going for (my blonde lashes need some more oomph).
How to Use Tubing Mascara
“For maximum volume, start with the wand at the base of your lashes and slowly sweep through from root to tip to define and lengthen every lash,” says Bodnar. “One of the best parts about tubing mascara is that is doesn’t damage the lashes or irritate your eyes because there’s no rubbing or tugging at sensitive skin when you need to remove it.”
And as I mentioned above, it doesn’t leave you with raccoon eyes because it doesn’t smear onto the skin during removal. If you are taking your makeup off in the shower, let your face get wet (give it a minute or two), and then you can gently pull the tubes of mascara right off your lashes without damaging them, or the delicate skin around your eyes. If you’re washing your face outside of the shower, wet your lashes with water and then gently remove the tubes. The key is to make sure your lashes are wet enough so that you don’t have to pull or rub.
Another key tip from Bodnar: “Apply additional coats while your lashes are still wet to seal in all-day, flake-free wear.” I second this. With conventional mascaras, you can often go back in and add more throughout the day if need be, but with tubing mascaras, that isn’t the best move if you want to avoid clumping. You also shouldn’t need to add any more if you apply enough at the start because the results last.
3 Tubing Mascaras to Try
“Not all tubing mascaras are the same,” says Bodnar. “Formulas and ingredients are everything.” This could not ring more true, and if you’ve tried several tubing mascaras, you know how different they can be in terms of pigment, performance and quality. Below are three formulas to try, and though I can’t share the news just yet, two more brands are adding tubing mascara to their portfolios next month, so stay tuned for updates.
Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara ($32): “Using film-forming technology, this mascara coats each lash in lightweight fibers that lock in place for a high-impact, fanned-out finish and smudge-proof wear,” says Eckels. “The molded brush makes for more precise application to expertly and immediately define, lengthen and separate the lashes. It’s truly the look of lash extensions in an instant! It’s the ideal tubing formula for gorgeous definition, length and lift that lasts all day.” In the video I linked above of me using tubing mascara, this is the formula I’m demonstrating.
Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara ($25): “This mascara has a lot of proprietary ingredients and technology in it, including our Orchid Stem Cell Complex, which encourages and supports longer, healthier-looking lashes and is powered by plant stem cell technology,” says Bodnar. “It is also infused with shea butter and castor seed oil to condition lashes during wear.” It comes in black, brown and dark blue, and also won our 2022 and 2023 NewBeauty Award for Best Tubing Mascara. I have recommended this formula to so many friends and colleagues, and they’re all hooked!
tarte tartelette Tubing Mascara ($25): Flake-free and sweat-proof, this vegan formula gives my blonde lashes more of a “no makeup makeup” look with good lash separation and definition. Shea butter, castor oil and carnauba wax keep lashes conditioned; however, in my personal use, I noticed this one does not come off as easy as others where the actual tubes are more visible.