The 14 Best Tubing Mascara of 2023

Kevyn Aucoin’s ‘The Volume Mascara’ is a flake-free, smudge-proof favorite.

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Best Tubing Mascaras

Walmart

“Are you wearing fake lashes?” is the five-word question that every mascara wearer wants to hear. Even more so, it’s one they want to answer —- because giving an unheard beauty recommendation is like revealing a good secret. With an eager ear listening, the makeup wearer will bat an (effortlessly lifted) eye, lean forward, and tell you, “Oh, it’s just tubing mascara!”

The next question is, “What’s that?” And if you’re asking the same thing, you’re not alone. As soon as I heard the phrase “tubing mascara,” I thought, “Like, the ones that come in tubes? Don’t they all?” That’s until Professional Makeup Artist Bobbie Riley set me straight.

“A tubing mascara has polymers that wrap around the individual coat and lengthen the lash,” Bobbie tells InStyle. “It lifts, lengthens, doesn’t transfer, and gives the eye a ‘more awake’ look.” She details that, unlike typical wax-based formulas, tubing mascara comes off with warm water with the help of thermal-sensitive technology. That’s right — no more intense scrubbing or buffing with cleanser and makeup wipes and, most importantly, no leftover residue.

So, now that you know the benefits of a good tubing mascara, it’s time to invest in a quality product that meets your lash needs, from lifting to lengthening; volumizing to conditioning; for those prone to oily eyelids or those looking to add a pop of color to their eye routine. While Kevyn Aucoin’s ‘The Volume Mascara’ earns our top spot because it covers almost all of the above, there are plenty of other brag-worthy options.

That said: If you’re new to the world of tubing mascara, come and take the plunge. These picks wash away with water, after all.

Best Overall

Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara

4.2
Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara

Kevyn Aucoin

What We Love: This mascara poses a triple threat — it volumizes, lengthens, and conditions.

What We Don’t Love: It’s pricey compared to other options.

Despite being named the “Volume Mascara,” this glides-on-like-gel tubing mascara covers more than just magnitude. It amplifies the lashes with a rich black coat, moisturizes each lash, and is smudge-resistant, all with an effortless application. That’s why it earns our top spot, and Professional Makeup Artist Elisa Flowers swears by it. “Kevyn Aucoin is a luxury mascara with a drier formula that holds a curl, lifts, and defines the lashes.” And even for those with hooded eyes or smaller bottom lashes, Flowers notes that this still holds: “The applicator brush is super thin so that you can grab each lash.”

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Volumizing, Lengthening, Conditioning

Best Budget

Maybelline Snapscara Mascara

Maybelline Snapscara Mascara

What We Love: It’s transfer-proof when dried.

What We Don’t Love: It stays wet longer than others when applied, so not recommended for an in-a-hurry application.

For a more budget-friendly option, the Maybelline Snapscara delivers a similar color saturation to the Kevyn Aucoin tube (Read: If the intent is to look like you’re wearing faux lashes, this one's for you). This mascara holds a curl all day long and doesn’t transfer, creating a clump-free exaggerated volume. It’s a smooth and creamy formula — one that does, however, take a bit to dry.

Price at time of publish: $8.99

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 2 | Intention: Volume

Best Drugstore

L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes

L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes

Courtesy of Target

What We Love: It’s a two-step product with a primer to nourish and protect the lash.

What We Don’t Love: It can be tricky to cover the primer without over-applying the mascara.

This L’Oreal mascara does double duty: On one side, it’s an ultra-nourishing primer, and on the other, it’s a tubing mascara. It’s the kind of powerful eye product that’ll make you ditch your sworn-by waterproof mascara. This product delivers thicker, stronger, and longer lashes, and you have that nourishing base coat to thank for that. It stays put, but it also doesn’t weigh the lashes down, despite being a two-in-one product. This mascara provides a stay-all-day solution with a perfectly tacky surface for those polymers to adhere to.

Price at time of publish: $9.93

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 2 | Intention: Priming and Lengthening

Best Splurge

Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Tubular Mascara

Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara

Courtesy of Nordstrom

What We Love: It goes smooth, rich, and highly pigmented.

What We Don’t Love: A heavy amount of product goes onto the wand.

Tris McEvoy’s tubing mascara feels air-light, with a luxe and creamy texture. One coat is sufficient for feather-like lashes, while 2-3 coats give a dramatic volume. It’s gentle but at the same time, striking. It delivers a silky lash with impressive volume, without clumping or flaking. This splurge-worthy tube provides the lash with a definition that looks like it could reach your eyelids —  which is also a place where you’ll never find residue. And that’s because this mascara seriously stays in place.

Price at time of publish: $33

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Volume

Best For Sensitive Eyes

Clinique Lash Power Mascara

Clinique Lash Power Mascara in Dark Chocolate

What We Love: This super-gentle formula is ophthalmologist approved.

What We Don’t Love: The container is smaller than other typical tubes.

The Clinique Lash Power isn’t only impressive because of its smudge-proof formula. It grabs each lash without entangling it into a clump, giving a natural definition to the eye. It’s also allergy-tested, ophthalmologist-approved, and safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers, so not only can you wear it all day, you’ll actually want to.

Price at time of publish: $21

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 2 | Intention: Lengthening and Smudge-Proof

Best Brown

Blinc Original Tubing Mascara

Blinc Mascara

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Love: As a clinically tested, non-irritating tube, this is another option for those with sensitive eyes.

What We Don’t Love: The tube dries out pretty fast.

If you’re looking for a subtle definition, brown mascara is the way to go. While black might be the go-to tubed lash color, brown is the solution for those with lighter tones, looking for something more natural, or wanting to tone down dramatic bottom lashes. This Blic mascara offers a rich dark brown that’s cruelty-free and non-irritating, meaning it’s the ultimate pick for someone who likes being barefaced but wants a little extra something.

Price at time of publish: $26

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 2 | Intention: Lengthening

Best Colored

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

4.6
thrive-causemetics-liquid-lash-extensions-mascara

Thrive Causemetics

What We Love: This one stays on all day without transfer — and is super easy to wash off.

What We Don’t Love: It goes on super lightly.

Touted as a holy grail product by those on social media, the Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extension gives the impression of a lash lift; It’s a clean mascara brand with a tiny-bristled wand that sweeps to define and curl each lash. But while this tube grabs attention because of its impressive performance, they also offer shades equally deserving of praise. If you’re searching for a bold-colored hue, try a brighter and more prominent color, this sapphire shade.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 3 | Intention: Lengthening

Best Waterproof

No7 Stay Perfect Waterproof Long Wear Tubular Mascara

No7Stay Perfect Long Wear Tubular Mascara

What We Love: The wand is smaller than others, offering a closer precision than the rest.

What We Don’t Love: It dries quickly, so it’s hard to layer up.

As a mascara that doesn’t run and comes off easily when you wash your face, this No7 is commonly referred to as a high-end dupe by reviewers. And its quality does hold up: It lengthens the lash in a noticeably-different way, without giving the dreaded “spidery” lash effect. It also doesn’t come off until you want it wiped away. (Trust me — I wore it during a workout class, and it survived.)

Price at time of publish: $9

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Waterproof and Lengthening

Best For Oily Eyelids

Caliray Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing Mascara

4.8
Caliray Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing Mascara

Caliray

What We Love: It feels effortless with a quick, easy removal process.

What We Don’t Love: It’s more of a subtle look for everyday wear.

This super lightweight mascara holds up to its name: “Come Hell or High Water” is a water-resistant formula with long-wearing results. Caliray also happens to be Urban Decay Founder Wende Zomnir and Business partner Jena Dover’s clean beauty line. This product is free of harsh chemicals and is made with eco-friendly packaging. But its aesthetically pleasing packaging isn’t even the best part — it does an exceptional job of lengthening the lashes, not irritating the eyes, and leaving no residue. It’s the ideal option for someone with oilier lids.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: Standard and Mini | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Volumizing and Lengthening

Best Clean

MERIT Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara

MERIT Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara

Sephora

What We Love: The finish has a natural “no makeup” makeup look to it.

What We Don’t Love: If you want a more dramatic look, this isn’t for you.

Mascara-focused brand MERIT delivers a minimal lash look with its Clean Lengthening. It never runs or flakes, while also feels airy, with a texture due to the conditioning serum interlaced in its formula. It contains shine-inducing vitamins and olive esters, so think of this clean mascara as haircare for your lashes.

Price at time of publish: $26

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Conditioning and Lengthening

Best Lengthening

Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

4.2
Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Love: This mascara provides a locked-in lift.

What We Don’t Love: It flakes quicker than the other options.

If you want the appearance of getting lash extensions without actually committing, this Hourglass Cosmetics tube should be your next add-to-cart. It instantly unlocks a fanned-out, robust, yet natural look with a spiky and rubbery brush, which means it’s flexible and can grab each lash to achieve maximum length.

Price at time of publish: $29

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Lengthening

Best Volumizing

MAC Macstack Superstack Mascara

mac-macstack-mascara

Ulta

What We Love: Gives a lustrous and lifted lash look without feeling heavy.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not cruelty-free.

Perhaps the most buildable mascara on our list, the MAC MACstack tubing mascara gives a long and full look. Not only that, it’s immune to smearing despite serving up a blunt color. Makeup Artist Bobbie Riley recommends it as a top choice for anyone looking for major volume. “I layer it on top of my natural lash or even a strip/cluster, and it completely coats the lash, lengthens, and adds a natural but beautiful amount of volume,” she says. Two other makeup artists even recommend it as the best mascara you can buy from MAC, so safe to say, it’s pretty good.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 2 | Intention: Lengthening and Volumizing

Best Conditioning

Victoria Beckham Beauty Future Lash

Victoria Beckham Beauty Future Lash

Victoria Beckham

What We Love: This mascara's fluttery and fanned appearance gives your lashes.

What We Don’t Love: You have to use a good 3 or 4 'coats' of mascara to achieve any thickness or volume.

NYC-Based beauty editor Megan Decker tells InStyle this is her “favorite mascara, period” because it makes her lashes look “longer, darker, and more fanned out, yet still read as natural.” The formula “never clumps” or “leaves black soot” under her eyes, like many mascaras tend to do, especially during a hot day. “It’s easy to apply and even easier to remove — the black tubing just slides off with my cleanser,” she adds. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and made with shea butter and vitamin-based conditioning formula to nourish your lashes, so “for anyone with light or sensitive eyes or skin who likes the no-makeup vibe,” says Megan, “you’ll be impressed.”

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: Standard | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Lifting and Lengthening

Best Lifting

Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara

5
Tarte Tartelette Tubing Mascara

Sephora

What We Love: Your lashes will defy heights.

What We Don’t Love: You might have to curl them first to avoid clumping.

Brand loyalty to any mascara felt wrong for someone who has been a self-proclaimed “faux eyelash girl” their whole life. That’s until Tarte sent me their tubing mascara formula to try out — and once I did, I haven’t felt the need to glue a strip to my lash line since. This tube is a rich, pigmented black mascara that gives even the sparsest lashes volume. Each lash smoothly lifts to heights unseen by a curler, from the root to the tip.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size: Standard and Mini | Number of Colors: 1 | Intention: Lifting and Lengthening

What to Keep in Mind

Color

Elevate your eye look by choosing a vibrant hue for your tubing mascara. Whether on the bottom lashes for a pop of color or if you’re into a bolder full-lash moment, opt for a monochromatic blue from Thrive Cosmetics or a burgundy from Blinc. Most tubing mascaras come in a standard black, but plenty offer brown. Unfortunately, unconventional colors are harder to come by.

Intention

You know how you’re supposed to set an intention during a yoga class? Like, when your instructor asks you to think, “Right now, what does my body need?” The same idea applies to mascara — expect sub “body” for “lash line”. Every unique eye needs a just-as-unique formula depending on your shape, sensitivity, lash, or eye color. Most tubing mascaras reveal their aim right on the label, whether lengthening, conditioning, or a 100 percent natural product.

Your Questions, Answered

How does a tubing mascara work?

Tubing mascaras are similar to waterproof but are water resistant instead of waterproof,” Professional Makeup Artist Elisa Flowers tells InStyle. A tubing mascara formula has polymers surrounding the lash, creating a tube. “The tubes add length, definition, and volume to each lash,” Flowers adds. 

What are the benefits of tubing mascara?

According to Flowers, you should add a tubing mascara to your beauty shelf because of how well it lasts: “Lashes stay coated without smearing, flaking, plus tubing mascara’s formula is water resistant. You can get caught in the rain, rub your eyes, have a sweaty workout, have allergies — maybe even cry at a movie. Still, no raccoon eyes!  Tubing mascara is also smudge-proof, meaning it doesn’t smear and transfer all over the eyes. Plus, it won’t dry out eyelashes like harsher waterproof formulas.” 

How do you remove a tubing mascara?

The good thing about tubing mascara is that it doesn’t come off until you want to take it off. “Typically, I would use cotton, lukewarm water, or micellar water, hold it against the eye for 30 seconds to a minute and wipe it away,” Celebrity Makeup Artist Bobbie Riley tells InStyle. “You can also use Sensi’Eyes by Makeup Forever” — a waterproof, sensitive eye cleanser —- “and remove with a q-tip,” says Riley.

Why Shop With Us

Philadelphia-based freelance writer Morgan Sullivan has written for multiple publications, including Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, and Elle, focusing mainly on beauty, fashion, and health topics. For this story, she interviewed NYC-Based beauty editor Megan Decker and professional makeup artists Bobbie Riley and Elisa Flowers, who told her their favorite products as well as tips for proper application.

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