There are four things to know about tubing mascaras.
One: If you hate taking off mascara (the smudging, the rubbing, the separate remover, the raccoon eyes) this stuff is for you. To take off tubing mascara, all you need is a little warm water. Warm is important. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t) come off with cold water, or rainwater.
Two: The inverse of that is they don’t come off with traditional makeup removers. This complicates things if you’re wearing other eye makeup that needs to be removed with something oil-based. Melt away liner with a balm first, and it’ll impede the tubes’ ability to slip off—instead, they’ll come off in stubborn flakes. Or, take off the mascara with water first, and you’ll have an inky slip-and-slide sitch with your liner. Also, if you show up for a beauty appointment (facial, makeup, lash extensions) with tubing mascara, your pro won’t be able to remove it for you.
Three: True tubing mascaras form little sleeve-like extensions around lashes, which slide off easily and intact when you’re ready. If you fill your cupped hand with warm water, submerge your eye in it, then pinch and gently tug, you’ll find a plasticky black glob of what was formerly your lashes in between your thumb and pointer finger. Some mascaras are labeled as tubing when they’re really not—they need to be removed with a gentle cleanser, and we’re not counting them here.
And four: The tubes solidify, so you’ve got to work quickly while the formula is still wet and make sure to coat each lash thoroughly. There’s a little bit of a learning curve—the wrong application can leave you with clumps or stringy fibrous tips—but it’s not too complicated. They also don’t layer well with other mascaras or themselves, so skip the extra coats.
Now you’ve got the gist! These things are finicky but fantastic. If you find one you love and understand how to fit it into your routine, tubing mascara has the potential to simplify your nighttime cleansing routine by what feels like a million fold. If you can anticipate not having the energy to stand at the mirror scrubbing your lash line, these things help you avoid it entirely. And because they’re so convenient for the work week, they’re a trend that’s catching on. So many brands are throwing their hats into the tubing mascara ring. Below, a few (truly tubing) formulas we have on rotation.
Thrive Liquid Lash Extensions: If you’ve heard of a tubing mascara, it’s probably this one. It’s a cult-favorite because it gives lashes a good coat of dark color, length, and a little bit of volume. That being said, it not the best if you're looking for curl and super defined separation.
Victoria Beckham Future Lash Mascara: The best thing about this mascara is the brush, which is super tiny and precise. The formula is basically weightless, and the result you get from pairing them is fluttery lashes with a lot of definition and length. Not much volume or intensity, though.
L’Oréal Double Extend Beauty Tubes: Is a story of pros and cons. The pros are it’s at the drugstore, builds impressive length when used with the included primer, has a lightweight, very wet formula that lets you use a lot, and it comes off the easiest. The main con is that if you do use the primer it weighs down lashes, and if you don’t, you’re only getting half the amount.
Caliray Come Hell or High Water Mascara: If you can ignore the brand’s cringey millennial-on-Tiktok vibe, this mascara is actually fantastic. The brush has soft fiber bristles with a little bit of slant (better to coat the corners with). And the formula creates length but keeps lashes looking super defined and dark. It even holds a curl. This stuff is so good, it makes sense that the mind behind it formerly founded Urban Decay.
Maybelline Snapscara: One of the few tubing mascaras that actually comes in colors, this drugstore win has a big fluffy brush for baby soft lashes. But folks with sensitive eyes might find it a little sting-y.
Em Cosmetics Pick Me Up Mascara: Michelle Phan’s mascara strikes a balance between volume and length, so it’s a good option if you want a little bit of both. It’s also very black. This would be a good versatile option to use on its own during the day, but also for extra oomph at night.
It Cosmetics Hello Lashes: Most tubing mascaras go for length rather than volume, so this purely volumizing formula is kind of unique. It has a super inky black pigment, so it’s great for making your eyes stand out. But it does get clumpy if you try to build length.
Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara: Another volumizing option! The brush on this Kevyn Aucoin is kind of unique, with super short fibers that hold its wet, rich black mascara close. With one swipe, it darkens and thickens lashes enough to stand up to an evening smoky eye. But, at the end of the night, it comes off clean.
Photo via ITG