As we all know, the right mascara makes a huge difference. ven if you’re going for a no-makeup makeup look, just a few swipes of a quality mascara will polish your look- making your lashes look longer, thicker and darker…and *cough* more awake.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m a mascara snob. I don’t think I’ve ever found a mascara that has met every.single.one of my requirements, and I’ve tried dozens. However, in the last few years, I have made one helpful discovery: I love tubing mascaras. For years, I struggled to keep my regular mascara from smudging or transferring onto my skin and I couldn’t figure out why. It turns out, I need a water-based mascara instead of an oil based option. And lucky for me, water-based (or tubing) mascaras are much easier to find these days.
What you might be surprised to learn is that there are many different formulas of mascaras. Since they’re all a little different, it’s important to know what you are purchasing. Most people are familiar with waterproof vs. non-waterproof mascara, but there are actually many other types.
There’s fiber mascara–– a dual-phased mascara with a white fibrous primer that is topped with a finishing black cream formula (However, the fibers can become loose and fall into your eyes when it’s time to remove it, though, so you have to be mindful to wipe thoroughly with a washcloth). There’s also curling mascara, which is great for straight lashes. This has a formula and brush that work to curl and lift your lashes, which also elongates them (sort of like using a lash curler).
Tubing mascara is similar to both fiber and curling mascaras in that it works to thicken, lengthen, and curl your lashes, but because the tubing formula actually has polymers instead of fibers that wrap around each individual lash, it doesn’t flake off in your eyes or smudge. I started using tubing mascaras because regular mascaras smudged on me no matter what kind I tried – whether they were from the drugstore or a high-end company. In this post, I’m explaining why tubing mascara is different from others and a roundup of the best tubing mascaras on the market. I’ll share details about the ones I’ve tried, the ones on my list to try, and which is my very favorite.
The reason tubing mascara is called “tubing” is because of its unique formula containing polymers that wrap a “tube” around each lash, creating a very even coat. Celebrity makeup artist Gilbert Soliz explains tubing mascara as, “liquid lash extensions.” Regular mascaras require multiple coats, which tend to weigh down your lashes (and also tends to clump if you’re not super patient with application!) so it can also be hard to get a wide-eyed look given the weight.
Since the tubes from tubing mascara grab each lash and lifts, it creates a lengthening, wide-eyed effect. Tubing mascaras are also more rubbery, so they don’t smudge, hold amazing curl, and are long-wearing. This might make you think that tubing mascara would be difficult to remove at the end of the day, but the opposite is actually true.
Most tubing mascaras are actually water-soluble, which means they come off with just a little bit of warm water, and gentle pressure. (I use warm water and a washcloth to gently wipe mine off at the same time I remove my makeup with this cleansing balm.) As you wipe away the mascara, you are wiping away the “tubes,” which fall away easily, without leaving a runny black trail of mascara on your sink (actually VERY satisfying).
They also smudge more easily if you have oily eyelids (which is my issue!).Tubing mascaras are great for people with sensitive skin and eyes, oily lids, or allergy-prone eyes because the tubes do not smear or run on your skin or in your eyes after they’ve set (moi!).
Okay, now that we have some background, let’s chat about various brands of tubing mascaras. Here are the most popular tubing mascaras on the market, including my favorite.
My #1 pick. This mascara is made with moisturizing castor oil, conditioning shea butter and carnauba wax that volumizes and lengthens. It’s cruelty-free and vegan (love that) and he best part…it doesn’t need very many coats to lengthen your lashes (even though I like a bold look and use 3, and I often use this lash primer with mascara). It also never clumps.
This one is my personal favorite because its ingredients are actually good for your lashes and it just looks GOOD. It’s lightweight and keeps lashes looking natural. I use it almost exclusively now. The wand is also easy to use and applies without clumping, and the formula is neither too wet, nor too dry like others I’ve tried.
This mascara is polymer-based mascara, which is water-resistent throughout the day, yet slides off with just warm water when you’re ready to remove it. It’s free of phthalates, sulfates, and gluten, and it is also vegan. To use this mascara, just start at the base and wiggle the wand in a zigzag motion. This mascara is popular for many, but for me, it didn’t give me enough volume. If you like a more natural lash look, this a good choice.
If you’re looking for a great mascara wand – look no further. It’s flexible and made with three different types of bands that lengthen and define each lash. The formula is “clean,” cruelty-free and vegan and uses Aquaflex Technology, which is usually used in hairstyling. This technology defines curled hair (or lashes) and gives lasting curl and definition all day.
The vitamin B5 and castor oil help to keep lashes soft, moisturized, and stronger. This is an Allure best of beauty winner, so it comes highly recommended. Also, not necessarily important, but the branding is SO cute. It’s on my list to try! If you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This is my second favorite tubing mascara, and I used it for years before trying the Tarte mascara above. Made with shea butter and castor seed oil, this product is 100% vegan and cruelty free and is available in three different colors.
It’s great for sensitive eyes (made without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic fragrance) and safe for contact lens wearers, even tested and approved by dermatologists and ophthalmologists.
If you’re one to leave your mascara on overnight sometimes, this mascara won’t leave your eyes irritated the next day. For me, it was too wet for the first few weeks that I used it, making it difficult to build and it also dried out quickly and got clumpy. I felt like it only had a few weeks where the formula was perfect, but I did like it until I found a better option.
MAC is great if you want defined lashes because it has a smudge-proof, carbon-black formula. The petite brush has bristles that are dense and short so they are able to grip every lash, making this formula especially great for lower lashes. Makeup artist Lavonne claims this mascara is an “industry pro standard.”
Because MAC works to lift, coat and separate, however, it isn’t as successful in adding a lot of volume. The formula is just a little too thin.
If you want very long lashes, this mascara is a great option. Using film-forming technology, this mascara adds length, lift and definition. It is vegan and cruelty free. When using, you just want to pull the brush out straight from root to tip.
I do like this, but just wasn’t as impressed as I was with Tarte. I felt like the wand was too flimsy which made it difficult to get the right pressure to apply and lift.
This mascara is super unique with its twistable cap that expands and contracts the wand’s bristles. The brush is customizable to your exact lash preference. You can extend the brush for length and contract it for volume.
The unique formula, that includes hydrolyzed collagen and allantoin, also helps protect and care for eyelashes that have been burdened by constant makeup wear. You only need one application for stunning lashes, but it can be a little difficult to remove, requiring more than just warm water. (A bonus: The packaging is adorable!)
With a “rich pitch black” color and volumizing formula, this mascara is a favorite for many. The tiny bristles grip your lashes and intensify the volume. Jojoba oil then works to keep your lashes soft and shiny.
The only negative is that this mascara creates gummy-like tubes, making it more difficult to remove. The product can dry out in the tube rather quickly, as well.
If you’re looking for a mascara to really curl your lashes, this product is for you. The bristles have wavy brush fibers that allow you to coat and curl every lash. For extra curl, apply starting from the base of your lashes and working your way up. The application AND removal is smooth and easy. I personally haven’t tried this mascara, but reviews say it provides medium volume that’s not feathery.
Inexpensive ($5 on Amazon!), yet effective, this mascara helps your lashes look thicker, more defined, and longer. It doesn’t flake or smudge and takes just a single coat for application. It does apply wet, though, so it can take a little more time to dry than most.
If you have the same smudging issues as me, tubing mascara is your answer. It’s been such a game-changer for me, and I absolutely love how easy it is to remove. In fact, when I use a regular mascara (for a special occasion when I want a ton of impact), I’m always annoyed that it smudges after a few hours and then always groan and complain when I have to take it off since it feels like SO MUCH WORK.
If you’re choosing one to try first, I recommend the Tarte Tartelette Mascara (full review here). It’s my all time favorite at a great price, and I have a coupon code for you to use ;). If you order directly from Tarte, use code terilyn15 for 15% off your order.
If there’s a tubing mascara that’s not included in this post that I need to try, let me know in the comments!!
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