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Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara Review: finally volume and length

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If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, or follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m on a journey in regards to mascara. I have strong opinions on what makes a mascara worth buying more than once and I’m always looking for a unicorn.

I want volume AND length. And most mascaras are one or the other. I also want a mascara that does not smudge, and only tubing mascara can truly promise that. (Most traditional mascaras smudge on me since they’re oil soluble, which is why regular eye makeup removers takes them off. Because of this, the super popular volumizing + lengthening mascaras don’t work for me. The only mascara I can wear without smudging is water-soluble, a.k.a. “tubing” mascara.) While tubing mascaras are great for length, they often fall short on volume. But today, I’m here to tell you that I have found a unicorn. I shared a bit more about how tubing mascaras work in this blog post.

For years I was wearing the Thrive Cosmetics Mascara. It was lengthening but didn’t provide much volume. I’d give it a B. However, a few years ago I learned that Tarte had a tubing mascara (and I love Tarte), so I quickly grabbed the Tarte Cosmetics Tartelette Tubing Mascara. And while there are still some things I wish were better, I’d give this mascara an A or A-, which is saying a LOT considering my high standards.

I wear Tarte Tubing Mascara almost exclusively right now, so I thought it was time for a full review. I should also note that since I first shared this blog post, Tarte released a new tubing mascara called the Tartelette™ XL Tubing Mascara that’s supposed to provide MORE volume and length. I just received that one in the mail and haven’t worn it enough for a full review, so this review is strictly about the basic Tarte Tubing Mascara.

Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara Review

Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara

The Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara is Tarte’s first ever tubing formula mascara. It’s made to create flake and smudge-free 24 hour wear that’s super lengthening.

The plastic molded brush applicator has 296 bristles to get help coat every inch of your lashes. It also contains shea butter, caster oil, and plant waxes which help create a bold and long lash. Two coats gives ample darkness, but I often do a third since I like a bold lash look.

What is a Tubing Mascara?

Tubing mascara generally means it contains tube-like polymers which wrap around each individual lash, which creates an enhanced lengthening effect. The difference in regular mascara and tubing mascara is that when you apply a tubing mascara, you’re coating each lash with a ‘tube’ that won’t budge, versus painting layers of pigment onto your lashes, which is how regular mascara formulas works. It’s also why you have to applying multiple tubing coats before the first one dries. It doesn’t layer well.

Tubing mascaras are water soluble, which means the fibers come right off with off with warm water and a gentle swiping motion with your hand or a washcloth. They won’t smear or smudge with the natural oils of your skin and face wash or eye makeup won’t remove them the way you’d expect.

Key Ingredients

One of my favorite things about Tarte’s Tubing mascara is that it contains ingredients that are good for your lashes.

  • shea butter conditions lashes
  • castor oil moisturizes lashes
  • carnauba wax helps create smooth application with lengthening & volumizing benefits


I appreciate Tarte is formulated with clean ingredients and does not contain parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate or gluten.


There are so many benefits to using this mascara other than the look.

  • It’s vegan
  • 24-hr that won’t flake and is smudge free.
  • Ophthalmologist tested, so it’s safe for contact lens-wearers (I wear contacts and have sensitive eyes and have no issues with this mascara)
  • Dermatologist tested, so it’s great for sensitive skin
  • It’s sweatproof making it perfect for all day wear, even when working out. I can wear it to pilates or while strength training, but if I get super sweaty while running, I may have a few tubing stragglers. (For the 2019 Boston Marathon, I wore this waterproof mascara and it did not budge.)


I have the Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara on one eye and no mascara on the other. Impressive, right??  Tubing mascaras wrap each lash, which looks very natural but still provides great length.

Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara results

And a finished look:

Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara results #LTKHoliday#LTKbeauty#LTKunder50

Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara Review

Like I mentioned in the intro, I’d give this mascara an A- or possibly an A. While it’s the best tubing mascara I’ve tried, I’d still prefer more volume and a softer lash feel, but that’s just the nature of tubing mascaras (I’m hoping the XL Tubing Mascara will do that). Since they’re formulated differently than oil soluble mascaras, they just don’t look and feel quite the same. But even with that one downside, it’s still 100% the mascara I recommend if you struggle with smudging like me.

I love so much about the mascara, however.

Not clumpy

It’s SO lightweight. I don’t feel like I’m coating my lashes in pigment, and I don’t have issues with clumping like I did with other tubing mascaras, like Thrive and Hourglass Unlocked. The mascara wand allows me to have full control of the application and it’s sturdy but not too inflexible. Thrive Mascara always felt too stiff and Hourlgass was far too flexible and hard to apply (it felt like the tip might fall off at any moment.) I truly feel like I can coat each lash almost individually, even with tiny lashes under my eye.

Natural looking finish

One of the benefits of a tubing mascara is that it looks very natural, especially with just 1-2 coats. Since you’re coating each lash versus building up product, your lashes look more natural than a regular mascara. So, if you like a natural makeup look, you’ll love this. Since the mascara uses a polymer that wraps around the lashes, I feel like it gives me a wide-awake effect.


The claims are true. It stays on all day and it doesn’t budge.


My lashes look very long with this mascara. I think part of that is thanks to the eyelash boost serum I’ve been using recently.

How to Apply Tubing Mascara

Apply Primer

If you want even more volume, first apply lash primer. Tarte makes a great lash primer, but if I had to pick a favorite, it’s this lash primer from DIME. It’s a game-changer for mascara, even regular versions. But for the sake of keeping your online order simple, just add the Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer to your cart. I’m SO picky about mascara/primer, but I know most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between DIME and Tarte primers.

Apply the primer just like I would mascara, and while it’s still fresh and moist, apply mascara. Don’t wait for the primer to dry.

Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer
Apply mascara to lashes

Immediately apply mascara on top the primer. I’ll even do one eye of with primer and finish with mascara before doing the other eye’s primer. I find that it works best if the primer does not dry. However, I haven’t been using a primer since I switched to the Tarte Tubing Mascara. I don’t feel like I need it, but I did find it helped with volume a lot with other brands.

After I’ve done my top lashes, I use the applicator to brush a little mascara on my bottom lashes. I use a light touch to keep them looking natural and only do one coat on my bottom lashes.

Apply mascara to lashes
Clean up with Q-Tip

Since tubing mascara is easily removed with water, you can quickly clean up any mistakes with a damp q-tip. Just get it wet in warm water, and then use it to clean up any mascara that’s on your lid. If you let the mascara dry on your lid before cleaning it off, I recommend using a clean spooly to brush it off instead, since it’ll flake right off your skin.

The raccoon eyes effect is very minimal with tubing mascaras.

How to take off tubing mascara

While you wash your face

I don’t usually take showers at night, so I remove my makeup when I wash my face. The easiest way to remove tubing mascara is with warm water. A have to splash my face a few times to get my lashes wet enough for the mascara to begin sliding off.

I apply my cleansing balm and when I’m removing that with a warm, wet muslin cloth, I also remove the mascara. I press the wet cloth into my eyes to loosen the formula while I remove the cleansing balm and then finish by fulling removing my mascara. Read more about my cleansing balm in this full review.

In the shower

If you shower at night, you’ll love how easy it is to remove this mascara. Just let the water rinse over you for a minute or two, and use your fingers to help pull the tubes off. SO easy (and very satisfying).

Is Tubing Mascara Safe?

It depends on which tubing mascara you’re using. Tarte uses clean ingredients, so yes. Thrive Cosmetics Mascara is also safe for most sensitive eyes. Just like anything, it’s important to test a product yourself before using it right away. In general, tubular mascaras are good for people with sensitive eyes.

Where to buy Tarte Tartelette tubing Mascara

You can order it online directly from Tarte, or find it at Sephora, Kohl’s, Ulta, or Target.

If you order directly from Tarte, use code terilyn15 for 15% off your order!

Here’s a photo of the finished result. Awake-looking, long lashes!

Ilia Red lipstick in shade Rococco! #LTKbeauty #LTKunder50 #LTKHoliday

ILIA Red lipstick in shade Rococco! Read more about my ILIA favorites here.

Use code terilyn15 for 15% off your Tarte order

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    4 responses to “Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara Review: finally volume and length”

    1. I have using the Tarte primer all wrong by letting it dry first. I also use the Thrive mascara because I found it was one of the few that didn’t smudge when I’m wearing my glasses. I believe you were glasses. Do you have this problem? Does the Tarte tubing mascara work ok? Thanks.

      • I like Tarte better than Thrive actually! I found that Thrive got clumpy pretty easily after opening it and I don’t have that issue with Tarte. And no smudging with my glasses!

    2. You have me hooked on tubing mascara to avoid raccoon eyes by the end of the day. Thank you! I recently purchased the tarte mascara and although I definitely find it flakes less during the day, I have a harder time removing it at the end of the day than the thrive mascara. Any tips or suggestions?

      • I’m so glad tubing mascaras have helped you!

        I agree that one is a little harder to get off. I use a warm wet washcloth and gently press and massage it against my eyes until it’s all off.

        Try that and let me know if that doesn’t work!

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