The Best Tubing Mascaras: Honest Reviews

the best tubing mascaras as reviewed by wardrobe oxygen

11 tubing mascaras reviewed, from drugstore brands to high-end

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. 

The Best Tubing Mascaras

I previously did a 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 eye lashes. 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 and CVS to Sephora 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

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

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 Tubing Mascaras I Tried

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara

Over a decade ago I 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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

Blinc Mascara Amplified

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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

Glossier Lash Slick

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 look of no makeup. 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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

No7 Stay Perfect Mascara

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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

Almay Liquid Lash Extenders

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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

Surratt Beauty Relevée

I bought this during a Sephora sale since it’s one of the few tubing mascaras the site carries and it gets good reviews. 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 time the mascara dries. It’s not bad, it’s just not awesome and definitely not worth the $30 price.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

d.j.v.MIRARAY Fiberwig

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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

d.j.v. MIRARAY Volume Lash

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.

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

DHC Perfect Pro Double Protection Mascara

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 because 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).

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess

Many of you told me to try this product. And I agree, it’s pretty good. It has one of the biggest, bushiest brushes of any tubing mascara I’ve tried. If you wipe the wand the first few uses, you’ll have the best effect. It lengthens, separates, and adds some volume. Nothing to excess, and no millions, but it’s a nice tubing mascara that gets the job done. I think No7’s tubing mascara is a better drugstore alternative, but I know this one is more readily accessible and I like it as an everyday mascara.

Shop Tubing Mascaras:

My Favorite Tubing Mascara

A review of 11 different tubing mascaras, drugstore to department store with photos, which are the best, which are the worst, and photos of how they look on lashes by Wardrobe Oxygen

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions

I wonder why Thrive Causemetics doesn't get as much praise and brands like Glossier; the quality is stellar and the brand has ethics.  Is it because they don't have an affiliate program? Well, I'm here to rave because 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. It’s 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.

I know it can be worrisome to shop from an unknown retailer; Thrive Causemetics doesn’t sell through Sephora, Ulta, or any other major retailer. However, I have shopped now twice from Thrive Causemetics and did an exchange so I can reassure you they have a professional, speedy, service-oriented business. For orders over $35, shipping is free. You usually get your order within a week and often you’ll have a promotion where you can get a free makeup bag (nothing life changing but they’re water resistant and great for throwing in your beach or pool bag and I have my daughter use them to carry stuff in her backpack since it’s wipeable). If you order the wrong color, no problem. Go to their website, enter your order number and set up an exchange. You get a label to return for free and they’ll send you the replacement lickedy split.

On top of this, for every purchase, Thrive Causemetics donates to help women. They have already donated over $25 million in products to 50 organizations that empower women who are fighting cancer, surviving domestic abuse or emerging from homelessness. 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. So far all I have tried is their CC Cream and mascara but as my other products run out I plan to try more.

Do you have a favorite tubing mascara that isn't on the list? Do share it in the comments!

53 Comments

  1. McKristie
    April 18, 2019 / 2:05 pm

    First – I was waiting for this review so THANK YOU!! Second – I gave up on mascara two or so years ago – I have cranky eyes, I tear up often (allergies, empath blah blah) and I keep my skin super hydrated so any mascara bled on me or flaked on me or in general hated me and a lot of times just made my eyes cranky. I tried tube mascara before and had no luck as well.

    So I bought Thrive the day I read the review and have been wearing it ever since. It’s amazing. I am working downtown Chicago right now and between wind that makes my eyes leak, snow and lots and lots of rain, the only thing that happens is my lashes clump when they get wet – that is it. No flaking, smudging, cranky eyes etc. I think I truly am in love.

    Side note – I washed face last night and thought I got all of the tubes off. This morning in the shower I kept seeing things out of the corner of my eye and I swore it was a moth. Nope – I had one tube left on one eyelash, and it was sliding off eyelash with water and heat.

    I know mascara is super personal but man this stuff rocks.

    • April 18, 2019 / 2:50 pm

      Oh I am so glad to hear this! Yay, it makes me so happy when my recommendations help others!

  2. Alison
    April 2, 2019 / 1:12 pm

    I have oily eyelids and allergies so had given up on mascara but I think I will try again! Thank you.

  3. TaniaS
    April 1, 2019 / 1:40 am

    Thanks for this Allie. I haven’t worn mascara in ages as I definitely get smudges, and I hadn’t heard about tubing mascara. Just ordered No.7 online. I’m in New Zealand which makes thrive a bit of an extravagance at the moment. Can’t wait to wear mascara again! I’d love a similar review in eyeliners when you’ve recovered from this!

    • April 1, 2019 / 3:40 pm

      Oh gosh, I hope it works out for you! As for eyeliners, I only wear a thin line of brown-black liquid. I’ve never mastered pencils, so don’t think I’m the best person for this. But if I find such a review I’ll add it to the Weekend Reads!

      • TaniaS
        April 5, 2019 / 12:56 am

        Thanks Allie! I’ll look at some liquid eyeliners too, maybe that’s the answer.

        • Bubu
          April 9, 2019 / 6:08 pm

          FWIW I tried and love Bobbi Brown gel liner — it’s a bit sturdier than a liquid, but glides smoother than a pencil. It comes in a pot you can use with a brush or in a stick form.

  4. Jenny
    March 31, 2019 / 10:32 pm

    Thrive CC cream and mascara ordered and delivered within 3 days! Really like them both so far. The no-smear factor is a game changer for me. Thanks so much for the recs and info.

  5. Kris
    March 31, 2019 / 10:24 pm

    You’ve convinced me, I’m going to give tubing mascara a try and already have the Boots in my Amazon shopping cart. (starting small) I’ve tried the mascara with fibers and really didn’t like that.

  6. Sara Axel
    March 31, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    I didn’t know what it was called but I use tubing mascara also, i envy in a purple package for $10. Used to be $5 but still seams to be the cheapest around.

    • Sara Axel
      March 31, 2019 / 6:26 pm

      Kiss is the brand.

  7. Joanne Collins
    March 31, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    Thanks for the reviews! I’m going to try some of these. Love the before/after photos!

    • April 1, 2019 / 5:18 pm

      Thanks Joanne, and I hope you like them!

  8. March 30, 2019 / 10:29 pm

    Used Thrive for the first time today. It is as wonderful as you said.

  9. Chelsea Henderson
    March 29, 2019 / 7:14 am

    I’ve been using Trish McEvoy Curling Lash for almost 20 years but lately have been unsatisfied. I recently tried Blinc and found it was okay but went back to Trish. Well, I just ordered Thrive! You just saved me so much time and money and the frustration of trial and error! Thanks! xo

  10. Jessica
    March 28, 2019 / 7:55 pm

    the Thrive mascara is fantastic. I’ve had multiple people ask me what I’m wearing on my lashes since I started wearing it! I’m on my third tube.

    • March 29, 2019 / 11:39 am

      I didn’t know about this and read up. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t change their wording when they changed their policy of how they donate because they still do far more good than 99% of the beauty companies out there and I would hate to see them fail because of this. I look forward to hearing how this turns out.

      • Gillian Whitcombe
        March 29, 2019 / 9:51 pm

        Agreed – an unfortunate mistake that hopefully they recover from!! 🙂

  11. Lauren
    March 27, 2019 / 9:03 pm

    Clinique high impact curling mascara does a great job with thickening, lengthening, curling, stays put all day, no smudging and warm water removal.

    • March 28, 2019 / 10:20 am

      Thanks for the recommendation, Lauren!

  12. Michelle
    March 27, 2019 / 7:53 pm

    I love Thrive products and that they’re cruelty free. Their brow pencil is also fantastic as is their new brow gel. Soo glad they finally came out with that too.

    • March 28, 2019 / 10:28 am

      I am totally trying the brow pencil once the one I have is used up!

  13. Martha Bunch
    March 27, 2019 / 6:27 pm

    L’Oréal double Extend tubes!!!

    So glossy, flexible, stable, and easy to remove. Have you tried it?

    • March 28, 2019 / 10:31 am

      I did a while ago, I agree it’s good and many in the Wardrobe Oxygen community on Facebook are raving about it! I focused on one-step products for this post but that’s a great drugstore product!

  14. March 27, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    I’ve been using Blinc mascara for years and years and years and years (like almost 20 years!). I’ve never even wanted to try another mascara until now. I’m definitely going to try Thrive. You’ve sold me, lady! xx

    • March 27, 2019 / 4:24 pm

      Glad to help, and I hope you like it as much as I do!

      • March 27, 2019 / 4:29 pm

        I’ve just ordered three tubes AND the coral triple threat colour stick (international shipping, may as well stock up). I adore the ethos of the brand; they are right up my street. Thank you so much for bringing brands like this to our attention. I love knowing my dollars are at work doing some good things when I buy from brands like this. I’m having such a nice read through lots of your older posts, and am thoroughly enjoying myself. I’ve been so busy lately I’m verrry behind on my blog reading. Thanks again, lovely lady xx

  15. Laura
    March 27, 2019 / 3:24 pm

    The Thrive one is so good! I’ve repurchased twice. I have black hair and very dark lashes and it’s so dark, it even shows up on me.

    Another new good one is Maybelline Snapscara, which doesn’t exactly come off in threads (so maybe it’s not a true tubing mascara?) but it does wash off incredibly easily with warm water. And it’s super cheap.

    • March 27, 2019 / 4:25 pm

      I saw that one, I haven’t tried it yet but I am tempted!

  16. Alicia
    March 27, 2019 / 1:44 pm

    I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on that Thrive one forever. Thanks for the push!

    • March 27, 2019 / 4:26 pm

      I hope you like it as much as I do!

  17. Melissa L.
    March 27, 2019 / 1:08 pm

    Thank you. I’ve been using the Almay since your orignal post, but it’s seemed less awesome with subsequent purchases. Tube mascara was a game changer. I am going to try No. 7 and Thrive.

    • March 27, 2019 / 4:30 pm

      I wonder if the formula changed? It’s amazing how it went from good to terrible. I hope the other products work better for you!

    • Trystan
      March 28, 2019 / 4:00 pm

      Same – the Almay started out fine & then went downhill, getting gloppy & taking forever to dry. So disappointing!

  18. Sandra
    March 27, 2019 / 12:45 pm

    Oh, thank you for a such a detailed review! I bought the DHC after your previous review and I like it. So far my favorite has been Blinc Amplified. Every mascara smudges on me except for the tubing mascaras I’ve used. Tarte’s Lights Camera and whatever is the only regular mascara that hasn’t smudged on me but haven’t used it in summer. I’m so exctied to try the Thrive one because it popped up in my Insta feed a few weeks ago and almost bought it, but at the price, I was hesitant. I just ordered it! Actually I just spent a pretty penny on a bunch of other stuff. I hope I like them all!

  19. Devon
    March 27, 2019 / 12:14 pm

    Is the L’Oreal one you tried actually a tubing mascara? Their website doesn’t describe it as one. I use L’Oreal beauty tubes and love it but I may try some of these others as well.

    Thanks for the reviews. I really feel like tubing mascara changed my life! I used to get terrible smears under my eyes no matter what mascara I tried but those days are gone.

    • March 27, 2019 / 4:50 pm

      I ordered it after recommendations on other sites for tubing. It may not be a traditional tubing mascara but it acts as one as it coats the lashes, washes off with just warm water, and doesn’t smudge. I haven’t tried Beauty Tubes, I wasn’t able to find it at any local stores.

      • Devon
        March 27, 2019 / 6:14 pm

        Interesting! Thanks for the clarification!

  20. March 27, 2019 / 11:56 am

    Had to laugh at the “you look tired” without lashes! Mr. LBD has said that every time I go without mascara for the past 37 years. Same answer to no avail! Agree with you 100% mascara makes a difference. -Laurel

  21. Jeanette
    March 27, 2019 / 11:55 am

    Thank you! This is so helpful! I stopped using lash boost too and have been looking for an alternative. I cannot wait to try!

  22. March 27, 2019 / 11:36 am

    I smudge EVERY mascara after a few hours. I love Blinc and No.7, but they don’t give a really dramatic look. My solution has been to use Too Faced Better than Sex Waterproof, let it dry completely, and then coat with Blinc when I want less natural lashes.
    I just ordered a tube of Thrive. If it can replace my two mascara process, I will be forever grateful. I just wish I didn’t have to wait for it…

  23. Christina
    March 27, 2019 / 10:40 am

    I have used DiorShow mascara for years! The last two tubes I purchased were just not cutting it – lumps, flakes, and smudges by midday. I’m assuming they changed their formula or I have changed, either way, I wasn’t spending that kind of money on a product that made me look like Courtney Love after a bender (although she wears it well). A few months ago I tried tubing mascara for the first time. After online searches and reviews, I gave No.7 a try. Life changing – no more smudges and easy to remove! I’m definitely going to give Thrive Causemetics a try. If you think it’s better than No.7, I suspect I’m in for another life-changing experience:) Thanks for doing all the hard work.

  24. Emily
    March 27, 2019 / 10:33 am

    OMG I have been waiting and waiting for this post! Thank you so much!!!!!

  25. Martha
    March 27, 2019 / 9:38 am

    Thank you! I just ordered the Thrive (and a lipstick!) My tube of DHC is all used up.

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