Tubing Mascaras Are an Underrated Holy Grail Makeup Product

Don’t sleep on the lengthening powers of tubing mascaras.

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Looking at yourself in the mirror to find that your mascara is a smeared mess can feel like the final nail in the coffin of a long, stressful day—trust me, I’ve been there. But what if I told you that there’s a mascara formula out there that actually delivers on its promise to stay smudge-free? Even better: This type of mascara doesn’t require makeup remover and tons of scrubbing to take off. It may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not. It’s called tubing mascara, and it may just be the answer to all of your beauty woes. 

While we get into the nitty-gritty details below, tubing mascara is essentially just that: Mascara that "tubes" your lashes. These turn out to be some of the best lengthening mascaras on the market, offering sky-high, defined lashes that don't budge throughout the day. Maybe it sounds too good to be true, but after testing a few myself, I can personally attest to the magical powers of tubing mascara. 

Close-up view of an Afro woman applying mascara on her eyelashes while doing her makeup. Concept of cosmetics, makeup and beauty.

Although different formulas, tubing mascara is applied the same way as traditional mascara.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To convince you, I’ve outlined all of the benefits of tubing mascara over standard and waterproof mascaras, courtesy of pro makeup artist Lauren O’Leary. Then when you’re ready to test the waters for yourself, I’ve provided exactly what to look for when shopping for tubing mascara, plus top-rated and a few editor- and pro-approved picks from the drugstore and beyond. Rest assured that all of the mascaras on this list are long-wearing, budge-proof, and lengthening as hell.

What Is Tubing Mascara?

When it comes to tubing mascara versus standard mascara, it all boils down to ingredients. Tubing mascara is made up of polymers that wrap around each individual lash, which is different from typical mascara made with oil or wax that coats the lash, explains pro makeup artist, explains O’Leary. She adds, “It creates a lengthening effect and is applied the same way you would apply a normal mascara, but is meant to not budge all day.” So, where standard mascara paints or coats the lashes, tubing mascara encases each lash in tiny polymer tubes.

The Benefits of Tubing Mascara

Tubing mascaras use different ingredients than your run-of-the-mill mascara, and as such, they perform differently and have different benefits. All in all, it's important to consider your personal needs and goals when it comes to mascara, but here are a few benefits you can expect from tubing formulas:

  • Lengthening and defining: Because tubing mascara essentially wraps around each lash with tiny tubes, lashes are extended and seriously lengthened. O’Leary also explains that because the polymers coat each individual lash, lashes are noticeably more defined, too. 
  • Easy to remove: The little tubes around your lashes are typically easier to remove and can come off with warm water alone, explains O’Leary. She adds this also makes tubing mascara a great option for those with sensitive eyes.
  • Long-wearing: Tubing mascara has some serious staying power, too. “Tubing mascara is longer lasting and doesn't come off until it's removed,” O’Leary says. “It's not waterproof but does usually claim to be water resistant, meaning it's less likely to smudge or transfer until removed.”

What to Look For in Tubing Mascara

  • Ingredients

While most tubing mascaras will generally label themselves as such, not all do so. It’s best to take a look at the ingredients if you really want to be sure. If you see polymers such as glyceryl stearate, and propanediol or simply see the words “polymer” or “copolymer” in the ingredients list, then you’ve got a tubing mascara on your hands. 

  • Brush shape 

Everyone has a different effect they are going for when it comes to mascara, so it’s important to consider the right brush shape and size for your personal goals. Typically, a denser and smaller brush will give you voluminous lashes, whereas a thinner, longer brush will result in lengthened and clump-free lashes. But don’t be afraid to mix two mascaras to achieve the effect you want—it’s actually O’Leary’s favorite trick. “I feel like this helps the longevity of my mascara and helps to separate and define at the end of my mascara application,” she says. “But you must do the tubing mascara after a normal mascara because tubing mascara dries quickly and is meant to be longer lasting, making it harder to apply more coats once it's applied.”

The Best Tubing Mascaras

Meet the Expert

Headshot of Lauren O'Leary, pro makeup artist
Lauren O'Leary

Lauren is a New York City/Minneapolis based makeup artist, men's groomer, and beauty expert. She grew up in Minnesota but had her heart set on living in New York City since she was very young. As a lifelong artist, she was always on top of the latest beauty trends. Lauren specializes in beauty, editorial, celebrity, commercial/print, film & TV work. A few of her clients include Guess, Maybelline, Saks Fifth Ave, Samsung, Conde Nast, and celebrities Niki Taylor, Kaia Gerber, Joey Fatone, Shaq, Charlotte Mckinney, Hannah Brown, James Van der Beek, and more.

Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.