obsessive tester

The Best Tubing Mascaras for Volume, Length, and Easy Removal

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Hanna Flanagan

For more of the Cut’s favorite fashion, beauty, and home finds, sign up for the weekly Cut Shop Newsletter.

If you’re tired of using several cotton pads just to remove your eye makeup (and giving yourself raccoon eyes in the process), it might be time to try a tubing mascara. They provide all the benefits of a traditional mascara — like definition, length, curl, and volume — with just one or two coats, so you don’t have to worry about buildup, weighed-down lashes, or irritation around the eye area. Not sure where to start? Keep reading for answers to your most pressing tubing-mascara questions and the best ones to add to cart.

What’s the difference between tubing mascara and regular mascara?

Unlike traditional mascaras, which coat each lash with wax- and silicone-infused formulas, tubing mascara contain polymers that wrap around each lash like a tube (hence the name). “Tubing mascara coats the lashes completely, encasing the lashes within the formula,” celebrity makeup artist Emily Gray Higgins explains. “They are gentle on lashes, as opposed to traditional waterproof mascaras that are extremely difficult to remove — I avoid using them like the plague! You just can never get it all off, which is also hard on the lashes. Tubing mascaras can easily be removed with water and soaking the lashes.”

What are the benefits of using tubing mascaras?

Not only are tubing mascaras more lightweight than traditional mascaras, they’re also smudge-proof, more long-lasting, and great for sensitive skin. But for Higgins, the No. 1 selling point is the easy removal. “That part alone is worth it,” she says.

How do you prevent clumping with a tubing mascara?

Higgins suggests working in small sections. Start at the base of the lashes and “wiggle your way up,” she says. “I also find it helpful to have a lash comb on hand to help separate the lashes after application.”

The Overall Best Tubing Mascara

$20

I was excited to try this mascara after reading so many positive reviews, and I’m happy to report that it lives up to the hype. The short, firm bristles make it easy to coat the lashes from root to tip and inner corner to outer corner — without getting mascara all over your eyelids and making a mess. I also love the fact that the formula is infused with ingredients like shea butter and castor oil, so it hydrates and conditions my lashes throughout the day.

The Best Lengthening Tubing Mascara

This mascara has never failed me, which is why it’s one of my longtime favorites. No matter how rushed I am (or how shaky my hands are from drinking too much coffee), the application is always seamless and mess free. It offers all the things: definition, length, lift, and a fanned-out finish.

The Best Volumizing Tubing Mascara

This cult-favorite tubing mascara is water-resistant, dermatologist-approved for sensitive eyes, and formulated with an orchid stem-cell complex to support healthy-looking lashes. Even though I was a bit disappointed in the lengthening effect, I loved how much volume this product provided. It’s available in black, brown, blue, green, and pink.

The Best Affordable Tubing Mascara

If you have naturally straight lashes, you’ll love this $5 tubing mascara. It provides so much curl, volume, and length with just one swipe. My only complaint? The formula is pretty wet, so I had to use a lash separator to break up some of the clumps.

The BestTubing Mascara for Natural-Looking Lashes

Merit has mastered the art of clean, minimalist makeup — if that’s your vibe, you’ll definitely want to add the brand’s tubing mascara to your rotation. It made my lashes look soft, fluttery, and defined but still fairly natural. I’ll continue to reach for this product on light makeup days when I don’t want heavy mascara to overpower my look.

The Best Tubing Mascara for Dramatic Lashes

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is Tarte’s brand-new tubing mascara: If you want big, bold, look-at-me lashes, the Tartlette XL will deliver. It definitely lives up to its name! Keep in mind that the formula dries down quickly, so you’ll need to work fast if you want to shape the lashes and break up any clumps. (On the plus side, though, this also means it won’t flake off or smudge throughout the day.)

The Best Cruelty-Free and Vegan Tubing Mascara

Higgins loves this option from Catrice Cosmetics because it’s affordable, cruelty-free, and vegan, “which is a rare find in the tubing-mascara category,” she says. “This formula can last up to 24 hours, but as it says in the name, the formula is easy to take off at the end of the day. Perfect for people who have a hard time with mascaras running down their face throughout the day.”

The Most Long-Lasting Tubing Mascara

This tubing mascara never flakes, smears, smudges, or runs (no matter how much your eyes water). As one reviewer wrote, “nothing else holds up like Blinc.”

Our Experts:

The Best Tubing Mascaras of All Time