I preface pretty much every story I write about mascara with the same sentiment: Mascara is extremely personal, and everyone has their own checklist of what a formula should include. One type of mascara that doesn't get enough hype, though, is a good tubing mascara. Admittedly, when I first tried one of these formulas, I was immediately confused as to why people liked them—some just didn't add the amount of volume and length that I like out of a mascara. It wasn't until recently that I changed my tune. I discovered one tubing formula that completely leveled up my mascara game.
Wondering what's different about a good tubing formula and why it's so magical? Don't worry. I'll be breaking all that down below. If you like serious volume and length without the dreaded clumping or running, this type of mascara is for you. It has so much staying power when done right, and even makeup artists swear by it. For all the best tubing mascaras and what to look for in one, keep scrolling below.
What is tubing mascara, and how should you shop for one?
Celebrity makeup artists Elizabeth Seropian explains exactly what a tubing formula is and what makes it different than traditional mascara. "Tubing mascara creates water-resistant, tube-like coats around each lash, providing smudge-proof and long-lasting wear," she says. "Unlike traditional mascaras that coat lashes with pigment, tubing mascara creates flexible tubes that wrap around lashes, preventing smudging and flaking. It's easily removed with warm water, as the tubes slide off without the need for makeup removers."
Tubing formulas sound great in theory, but as I said above, it did take me a while to find the right formula for me. If you're shopping for a tubing formula, it's a good idea to look for other lash-enhancing ingredients that help promote growth and condition them. Ingredients like castor oil and shea butter are really great for this. For both my favorite formulas and Seropian's, keep on reading.
Best Overall: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara
Pros: Smudge-proof, flake-free tubing technology, contains an orchid stem cell complex that encourages longer lash growth.
Cons: Dries out your lashes a bit.
This is my absolute favorite tubing formula. Like I mentioned above, it was hard for me to find a mascara of this type that actually worked well for me, but this one is it. Many mascaras claim to be smudge-proof and non-clumpy, but this one really holds up to those claims, with or without primer. It's truly a miracle in a tube. I'm also not the only one who loves it. Seropian also says it tops her favorites list.
"The Thrive Causemetics mascara is another one on my list! It comes in three shades and has won a few awards for its 'lash extension' look." — Seropian
Customer Review: "Best mascara ever and I will not use another kind ever!!!!!!"
Best Drugstore: L'Oréal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara
Pros: Budget-friendly, provides up to 80% longer-looking lashes, suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
Cons: Takes a bit of extra time to build up.
"One popular option, in my opinion, is the L'Oréal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara, which provides both length and volume through a two-step process." — Seropian
Customer Review: "So this is the last mascara I will ever buy, please God, don't stop making it. You have to understand that it's not normal mascara. It works differently. It's like fake eyelashes that you encase your own lashes in. It's genius really."
Best Brown: Blinc Original Tubing Mascara
Pros: Water-resistant, smudge-proof, clump-free, suitable for sensitive eyes.
Cons: Doesn't offer the most dramatic length.
Blinc's tubing formula is a classic and forms tiny water-resistant tubes around your lashes for maximum amplification and hold. Once applied, the tiny tubes don't run, smudge, flake, or clump.
Customer Review: "The best tubing mascara. I have used it for 25 years. I have tried many others and nothing compares. The best!!"
More Great Tubing Mascaras
Pros: Creates the look of longer, thicker lashes, smudge-proof, clump-free.
Cons: Formula dries up a bit quickly.
"The Kevyn Aucoin Volume Mascara is also notable for its intense volume and length, using tubing technology to enhance lash appearance while being smudge-resistant." — Seropian
Customer Review: "This is amazing! It takes a minute to learn how to apply, but once you do, you'll never use another mascara. It doesn't flake or smear. It comes off with warm water. There is no residual when you take it off. I use Dior lash primer underneath. I travel for work and often have on more than 24 hours, and it's still perfect when I get to a hotel after flying all night. I often get asked if my lashes are real!! I've been using [it for] about two years, and I'm obsessed. I'm a luxury makeup junkie and have tried it all—this is the BEST!!"
Pros: Provides long-lasting volume, waterproof, 24-hour wear, budget-friendly.
Cons: Hard to remove.
No. 7's top-rated tubing mascara is smudge-proof, flake-proof, sweatproof, and humidity-proof. In other words, it can handle whatever life throws at you. A beauty-editor favorite, this $9 mascara delivers on its promise of smudge-free jet-black lashes that stay intact all day.
Customer Review: "Finally! A mascara that lasts all day without flaking or smudging. I am a nurse and can [wear] this mascara for a full shift, and it looks as good at the end of the shift as when I started. It comes off easily when I wash my face and doesn't damage my lashes. Honestly, I have tried countless high-end mascaras from Sephora and Ulta, and none compare to this product. Highly recommend!"
Pros: Contains a unique blend of natural oils, nylon fibers, and vitamin E to lengthen lashes.
Cons: Tends to dry out quickly.
This lengthening mascara is formulated with natural oils, nylon fibers, and vitamin E to give you the silky-smooth, mile-long lashes of your dreams.
Customer Review: "Doll Eye (volume) goes on very nicely, separates my lashes, and provides the fullness I'm looking for in a mascara. I have sensitive, [allergy-prone] eyes that tend to run a lot, so I used to buy waterproof mascara to keep myself from looking like a raccoon by the end of the day. Doll Eye stays on beautifully until I decide to take it off at night, even without buying the waterproof [version]."
Pros: Wax-free formula glides onto the lashes with ease, clump-free, easy to remove, provides intense color to the lashes, budget-friendly.
Cons: Not very water-resistant.
With more than 4000 five-star reviews on Amazon's website, Maybelline's Snapscara has definitely reached cult status. This tubing mascara features a zero-hassle, no-clump formula that makes lashes appear long and wispy.
Customer Review: "I keep buying this mascara since it's a perfect combination of qualities for your everyday makeup: easy to apply, lasts all day without any smudges, gives your lashes volume and length yet without that overdramatic look, and most important, washes off easily with just warm water."
Pros: Amplifies lash length for a fuller, more dramatic appearance, enriched with polymer fibers that add volume without smudging or flaking, contains vitamin E to condition lashes.
Cons: Hard to remove.
This all-natural formula also hails from Japan and contains beeswax and vitamin E to strengthen and condition lashes. If you're looking for a lengthening mascara that also improves the health of your lashes, this pick is for you.
Customer Review: "Very nice mascara. Healthy and natural-looking, no clumps so far. Be aware that it does not come off with makeup remover—you need to use water and rub your eyes to help the little 'tubes' fall off."
Pros: Adds a lot of length, unique curved brush to lengthen and thicken, easy to remove.
Cons: Contains parabens.
Behold Japan's best-selling tubing mascara. The unique curved brush grabs onto every last lash, lengthening and thickening with every flick. If you're looking for an especially dramatic tubing mascara, this one's for you.
Customer Review: "I have tried high-end mascaras ($30-$45+) and this beats every one (for me—I understand mascara is a personal preference deal)!!"
Pros: Stays put for up to 24 hours, smudge-proof, suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
Cons: Doesn't provide dramatic length.
If you have sensitive eyes or wear contact lenses, this non-irritating formula from Clinique is a great option. Designed to last for up to 24 hours, this ophthalmologist-approved buy is allergy tested and 100% fragrance- and paraben-free.
Customer Review: "I love this mascara. I'm very picky and need mascara that is not waterproof, comes off easily but doesn't smudge or smear. This fits all my needs! I've tried a lot of mascaras, and this is the best!"
Pros: Waterproof, slim brush that grips even the tiniest lashes, advanced lifting formula, smudge-proof.
As to be expected, MAC's take on a tubing mascara is on point. This smudge-proof carbon-black tubing mascara will lengthen and extend each individual lash without appearing caked on or sticky.
Customer Review: "This is a great mascara. It's not a volumizing mascara, but it does lengthen and curl your lashes pretty effortlessly. I think what makes this mascara stand out is that it really does grab every lash. A lot of wands and bristles are kind of flimsy. They fold and bend with however you move the wand when you apply mascara. This one does not do that. It is firm, the bristles are firm and steady and pick up, grab, and move [your] lashes up and out. Another reason it stands out is it works wonderfully on the lower lash line. Really impressive. There are an infinite amount of mascaras out there, and I like to play around with different ones. That being said, I am not a die-hard fan of this now, but it's definitely worth a try and I'm glad I bought it."
Pros: Provides up to 24 hours of wear, flake-free, smudge-proof, includes shea butter, castor oil, and carnauba wax to hydrate lashes and encourage healthy growth.
Cons: Tends to clump a bit.
Tarte's tubing mascara offers flake-free, smudge-proof wear for up to 24 hours. It also contains hydrating ingredients like shea butter and castor oil, which helps promote healthy lash growth.
Customer Review: "Love this mascara! First mascara that I feel loyal to and keep coming back for more. It makes my lashes look longer, fuller, and lifts them. I have gotten so many compliments on my lashes since I started using this mascara!"