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The one cosmetic I can’t go without is mascara. I was born with relatively light-colored, short, and straight lashes. With dark eyes and hair, without mascara I have people question whether I am under the weather or tired. The thing is, I have allergy eyes and over-40 eyes and the combination means I often have my mascara smudge.
Doing research I learned about tubing mascara, a product that stays in place through rubbing, sweat, and watery eyes yet easily comes off at the end of the day with warm water. I went on a question to find the best tubing mascaras.
This review of the best tubing mascaras was originally published in 2019, but updated for 2020 with new products and personal experiences with tubing mascaras.
What Are The Best Tubing Mascaras?
In 2018, I did my first tubing mascara review but none of the products I mentioned was Holy Grail perfect so I continued on with my search for the best tubing mascaras. I found some great tubing mascaras and have found a Holy Grail mascara that doesn’t smudge, gives me long and lush glossy black lashes without clumping or irritation. Read on to learn about the best tubing mascaras and which one made the cut!
What is Tubing Mascara?
Most mascaras are essentially paint for your eyelashes. Tubing mascara is different in that it is made with polymers that coat each individual lash, creating in effect a “tube” around them. Instead of applying several coats of traditional mascara to achieve thickness, length, and color; with tubing mascara, you start at the root, slowly wiggle the wand between the lashes as you glide to the tips. One coat and you’re good to go.
To remove tubing mascara, simply press a warm wet washcloth against your lashes, rest it for a bit, wiggle a little to disconnect the tubes, and gently wipe away. Instead of smudges, you’ll have little black threads on your washcloth and your lashes will be left feeling soft and natural.
Tubing mascara is water-resistant, but not waterproof. It holds up through a humid day, a sad movie, a hardcore workout, and a high pollen count but won’t necessarily stay in place through laps at the pool or a session in the sauna. Unlike waterproof mascara, no fancy remover is required and tubing mascara does not weaken your lashes or make them brittle.
Tubing mascara is a great choice for those who have oily eyelids and those who desire a mascara for their bottom lashes.
Where Can I Buy Tubing Mascara?
These days, tubing mascara can be found at all price points and everywhere from your neighborhood Target or Walgreens to Sephora, Dermstore, Blue Mercury, and high-end department stores. I learned from my experience that price does not equal quality, but not all tubing mascaras are created equal.
Reviewing Tubing Mascaras
Here are photos of me without any mascara, no lash curler used. I want to provide this to give a good base comparison to the photos below. The photos below show me wearing the mascaras. No lash curler, no primer, no liner or shadow; just the mascara.
For all the different tubing mascaras, I wiggled it on from roots to tip, a light swipe on lower lashes, and maybe a second coat on the top lashes to ensure I coated everything. I didn't use a tissue to wipe any wands, and no comb to separate lashes after application.
The 12 Best Tubing Mascaras I Tried
Over a decade ago I first tried this mascara. I went into a new beauty boutique at the mall and left with a bag of things I neither needed nor could afford. I loved super thick, long, fake-looking lashes and was obsessed with DiorShow mascara.
The salesperson sold me on this mascara but once home I hated it. It did not give me “drag queen lashes” and I felt bamboozled. But now my goal is not to have false looking lashes, but full lashes that don’t leave me with raccoon eyes. So a decade later, I purchased another tube of this mascara.
It’s good. It gives an opaque, glossy coating that dries quickly. It doesn’t make your lashes look especially long or thick, but it stays in place all day. Many add multiple coats for a thicker look, but when I have I ended up with clumps. Not bad at all, but not Holy Grail.
Blinc is the OG in the tubing mascara world. I bought a tube of this mascara last January and have bought it twice since. It’s reliable, it’s consistent, it works great. It dries fast, stays in place, and gives good volume and coverage.
It is a very matte finish which I don’t really like, and the tube dries out much faster than any other tubing mascara I’ve tried. But it’s a good reliable tubing mascara that does what it claims.
I like most of the Glossier products I’ve tried. Daily I use their Boy Brow and Stretch Concealer and have liked Cloud Paint, Balm Dot Com, and Generation Z. So when they came out with their own tubing mascara I ordered a tube. After seeing so many rave reviews online I was expecting this to be a pale pink tube of perfection.
It’s not. That is unless you love that no-makeup makeup look. That you want your lashes to look like they do after crying – wet, a bit darker, but nothing dramatic. If you want that, this is a great product. It will subtly define, curl, and darken your lashes and give them a bit of a glossy finish. People won’t think you’re wearing mascara, they will just think you were blessed with nicer lashes.
It doesn’t clump, doesn’t take forever to dry, and has all the great properties of tubing mascara. It’s just an uber subtle effect; far too subtle for me.
If you like Kevyn Aucoin’s mascara and want a cheaper alternative, try this. If Glossier’s Lash Slick left you underwhelmed, try this. This mascara is by far the best drugstore tubing mascara I have tried. It’s glossy, it applies easily, it dries relatively quickly, it doesn’t clump, it holds a curl.
It won’t give you crazy lush lashes but it’s a great everyday mascara that won’t give you raccoon eyes and won’t make your natural lashes brittle.
I have bought this twice and had two dramatically different experiences. With my first tubing mascara review, I liked this mascara. It takes longer to dry, but it left me with glossy black lashes that were lush and lasted all day. I used up the tube, got a second one, and hated it. It was goopy, it took even longer to dry and smudged in the process, I got flakes in my eyes, clumps (as you see above)…/ I was not a fan.
I then let the tube sit in my makeup drawer for a couple of weeks, tried it again and liked it better after it had congealed a bit (though it still clumps and transfers to your skin because it takes so long to dry).
A lot of you have let me know you too have not had a good experience with Almay Liquid Lash Extenders. I hate to think that if we have a good experience it’s because the tube is old or possibly got exposed to air.
I had a few readers recommend this tubing mascara. It’s fine. It takes longer to dry than Blinc, but it’s more glossy of a finish. It’s not as thick as Kevyn Aucoin so it doesn’t give as much volume, but it seems to provide more lengthening thanks to the fibers in the formula.
With the combo of the brush and the fibers, I find it can clump if you’re not super careful and first wipe the brush with a tissue. I don’t think it holds a curl; it seems heavier of a formula and the curl I get from my lash curler falls out by the time the mascara dries. It’s not bad, it’s just not awesome and definitely not worth the $30 price.
Fiberwig was a cult favorite mascara many years ago and seemed to disappear from US shelves. I tried it many years ago and it was great for beach vacations and times when I wanted to look done but didn’t have the time or weather to maintain my look. When researching tubing mascara I read this was the old Fiberwig, just relaunched with a new name and tube.
Well, it seems to also be a new formula. This one is wetter, it’s gloopy, and during the day it flakes off and irritates my eyes. My face looks the way it does above because it got in my eyes soon after applying. It takes forever to dry. In fact, before typing this paragraph I placed a dab on my hand, and finishing this paragraph the dab is still not fully dry. It’s not the old Fiberwig, there are better products out on the market these days.
This mascara was recommended when I ordered Fiberwig on Amazon and it received higher reviews so I decided to give it a try. Well on the positive side, it’s better than Fiberwig. Thicker, longer lashes, and a nice gloss. However, it’s a super gloopy formula and it smudges and flakes like any ordinary mascara. Nothing different from any Cover Girl mascara at Target.
This one for a while was my absolute favorite tubing mascara. I purchased it after my initial tubing mascara review and liked it so much I bought it twice. It’s a smaller tube than the other brands and a much smaller brush. However, it coats the lashes beautifully and gives volume, a bit of length, and a dark black effect.
The reason I switched is that I tried No7 and then my favorite (at the bottom of the post) and I realized tubing mascara can be even more awesome. But this is a good mascara, and the smaller tube prevents it from drying out before you finish it (which happens with most tubing, if not all mascaras).
Unfortunately, I do not have a photo for this mascara as I reviewed it after writing this initial post. And because I wasn't a fan, I didn't even think to capture a photo of how it looked before I replaced it.
Doll Eye is a fiber mascara that offers lengthening and thickening along with the no-smudge tubing effect. I didn't see much lengthening or thickening, and found the formula very dry, drier than blinc, making it hard to layer and get much of a result. All that, and then I still experienced smudging.
I have had success with NYX in the past, but this mascara for me is a pass.
Several Wardrobe Oxygen readers suggested I try essence, a budget-friendly yet cruelty-free brand of cosmetics. I saw they had a tubing mascara for less than $5 and ordered it right away.
This is… fine. Like others above, this is a good tubing mascara if you like the no-makeup makeup look. It dries quickly, doesn't clump, doesn't flake, rinses off easily… but it doesn't provide any additional lengthening or thickening.
One perk is it will hold a curl all day if you use a lash curler.
My Favorite Tubing Mascara
This mascara is so dramatically better than any of the mascaras reviewed here I have to shout it from the internet rooftops. No need for fancy tricks or hacks, I curl my lashes, wiggle this on and go. It dries as fast as a traditional mascara. It really builds up my lashes making them look dramatically long. Glossy black finish that adds volume without clumps. No flaking, no smudging, no irritation, and it comes off easily with warm water or even my favorite facial cleanser.
I know it's sometimes hard to believe the reviews of influencers, you don't know if they're getting paid or just sharing in hopes to get affiliate revenue (read here to understand how influencers and bloggers make money). Thrive Causemetics does not have an affiliate program and I have never partnered with the brand. I will not make a single dime raving about this product.
This mascara is so good people ask me about my lashes. Me! Someone who has really ordinary lashes! It’s so good I stopped using LashBoost, thereby saving me a ton of money. I am OBSESSED with this mascara.
I know bloggers use the word obsessed a lot, but folks IRL are likely sick of me talking about this mascara. It’s as good as DiorShow but without smudges, clumps, animal testing to sell in China, and it’s cheaper. Total Holy Grail.
On top of being a great mascara, Thrive Causemetics is a great company. They make a donation to help women with every purchase made. Their line of cosmetics is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of sulfates and parabens. The packaging rivals high-end products and they have a rewards program where you earn points with purchases, referring others (I can’t share my code because it goes against their policy of online promotion but once you shop you can share yours with your friends), and just having a birthday.
This process to find the best tubing mascaras was eye-opening (har har, get it?). I realized not all tubing mascaras are alike… but also that not all people desire the same results from their mascaras. While my favorite tubing mascara is one that lengthens, thickens, provides pigment and a bit of a glossy finish to my lashes, others may desire a more natural effect. I hope this review helps you find a great mascara that will give you the look you desire without any smudging or flaking!
What brand do you think makes the best tubing mascaras? Do you have a favorite tubing mascara that isn't on the list? Please share it in the comments and you never know, it may be the next one I review!