Tubing Mascaras Are Your Secret Weapon For Long, Voluminous, Smudge-Free Lashes, so I Tested 11 of Them To Find the Best of the Best

Photo: Caliray / Author
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One thing about me is I can’t leave home without a swipe of mascara. No matter the situation, mascara is the magic wand (no pun intended) that instantly makes me feel put together. And if I’m in a rush to get out the door, I’ll sooner skip styling my hair before I skip mascara. It’s simply a non-negotiable for me. That being said, I treat mascaras like Pokémon—I need to catch (or try) them all. But of all the formulas I’ve put on my lashes—long-wearing, volumizing, and even a few top-sellers—finding one that visibly lengthens and thickens without smudging remained a tall order for me—until I heard about tubing mascaras.

Experts In This Article

What is a tubing mascara?

Instead of coating your lashes in waxes and oils like a traditional mascara, a tubing mascara uses polymers to wrap, or create “tubes” around your individual lashes for an enhanced, lengthened effect that doesn’t budge, smudge, or flake. And unlike waterproof mascaras that are long-wearing but a total pain to remove, “tubing mascara is easily removed by splashing warm water over your lashes and gently pulling and loosening the tubes off,” explains professional makeup artist Lisa Aharon. The warm water softens the polymers around each lash, so once you (gently) massage your lids, they’ll slide off in tiny little tube pieces. And if you’ve ever shuddered at the sight of fallen eyelashes on your cotton pad, a tubing mascara’s easy-to-remove polymers will help keep your precious lashes intact.

How to apply a tubing mascara

When it comes to application, less is usually more with a tubing mascara, according to Aharon. “Personally, I find a light application to work best,” she says. “Wiggling one to two coats from root to end will usually suffice as tubing mascara has great hold!” Because tubing mascaras offer superior hold compared to non-tubing formulas, which means if you’re a habitual lash curler like myself, you can count on tubing mascaras to hold stubborn lashes in place.

As great as tubing mascaras sound, telling them apart from traditional formulas can get tricky— not every tubing mascara will be explicitly dubbed as such (though tubing formulas are becoming more popular). There are, however, two clear giveaways that’ll help clue you in. Most will have a “water resistant” claim vs. waterproof, and will include something along the lines of “removes easily with warm water” in the description.

To spare you the detective work, I tried and tested tubing 11 tubing mascaras and landed on my top 9 that are worth trying.


l'oreal telescopic lift mascara on the left, author photo on the right holding and wearing the tubing mascara
L'Oreal Paris, Telescopic Lift Washable Mascara — $12.00

Originally $15, now $12

The mascara at the center of #LashGate, the Telescopic Lift Mascara has an innovative, double-hooked wand that’s designed to lift lashes at the root and load them up with product on one side, then comb and separate each lash for a defined, lengthened look on the other. With a little application practice and patience, I found that the Telescopic Lift lived up to its lifting, lengthening, and volumizing promises, and actually held up throughout the day without smudging. Because the wand can be a bit finicky, though, I’ll probably reach for other mascaras on this list when I’m rushing out the door in the morning.


  • Lifts, lengthens, and volumizes
  • Doesn’t smudge or flake
  • Safe for sensitive eyes
  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Easy to remove


  • Unique wand takes getting used to
  • Formula might be too wet for some
  • Can get clumpy


L.A. Girl Plush Lash tubing mascara on the left, and author holding and wearing the mascara on the right
L.A. Girl, Plush Lash Mascara — $7.00

True to its name, L.A. Girl’s Plush Lash Mascara delivers full, pillow-soft lashes with absolutely zero crunchiness. The volumizing formula can be easily built up without getting clumpy, giving me the freedom to pump up the volume if I’m in the mood. The precise but well bristled wand managed to catch hold of every single one of my lashes too, giving them some much needed lift and fullness. What’s more, it didn’t flake off like other tubing mascaras I’ve tried—and only came off when I wanted it too, with a little warm water. And for less than $10 bucks? Plush Lash proves you needn’t overpay for a good tubing mascara.


  • Affordable
  • Can be layered without clumping
  • Doesn’t make lashes feel crunchy
  • Adds natural looking volume
  • Easy to remove
  • Doesn’t flake


  • Not very lengthening (on me)
  • Doesn’t hold a curl as well


clinique lash power lengthening mascara on the left, and author image on the right, wearing the tubing mascara and holding it
Clinique, Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula — $23.00

Despite being around since the early 2000s, the Clinique Lash Power Mascara is a criminally underrated tubing mascara. It gives my lashes a natural looking length and definition that lasts, which is exactly what I want on no-makeup makeup days. And the small, precise brush makes application a breeze—allowing me to get up close and personal with every lash. Removing it is easy too, all you need is a little warm water. Just one thing to note: if you prefer a dramatic lash look, Lash Power isn’t it. It’s a true, “my lashes, but better” mascara!


  • Lengthens and defines lashes
  • Precise brush catches every lash
  • Easy to remove
  • Doesn’t smudge or flake


  • Might be too subtle for some


caliray tubing mascara on the left and author image on the right holding and wearing the mascara
Caliray, Come Hell or High Water Volumizing Tubing Mascara — $24.00

If volume is what you’re after—you’re definitely going to get it with Caliray’s Come Hell or High Water Mascara. Equipped with a “teddy bear bristle” wand, the tubing mascara adds serious length and thickness to my lashes. It has a wet, creamy texture that’s infused with argan oil for extra nourishment—but can get clumpy with too many coats, so less is definitely more with this one. Most importantly though, it lives up to its long wearing claims. I can even wear it on my bottom lashes without any flakes or smudging.


  • Volumizes and lengthens lashes
  • Enriched with lash conditioning argan oil
  • Natural bristles coat every lash
  • Doesn’t smudge or flake


  • Can get clumpy with too many coats


Merit clean lash tubing mascara on the left, and author image holding and wearing the mascara on the right
Merit, Clean Lash Mascara — $26.00

Merit’s Clean Lash Mascara does it all. It lengthens lashes, it’s buildable without getting clumpy, and it contains lash-conditioning ingredients like nourishing fatty acids and olive oil esters. The fluffy applicator catches and defines every lash for a full and fluttery look. The only issue is—it’s almost too hard to remove. I’ll carefully massage my lashes with warm water (and my face wash in some cases) and will almost always have some remnants left behind. On the flip side, though, the tubing mascara truly is budge-proof—which means I’ll continue reaching for it for long nights out or big events.


  • Lengthens lashes
  • Buildable without getting clumpy
  • Contains lash conditioning ingredients
  • Fluffy bristled wand defines every lash
  • Doesn’t smudge or flake


  • Hard to remove


tower 28 tubing mascara on the left, the author on the right holding and wearing the mascara
Tower28 Beauty, Make Waves Lengthening + Volumizing Mascara — $20.00

The Tower28 Mascara quite literally made waves in the beauty community when it launched in 2019, and now I understand why. The curved synthetic wand is composed of 3 flexible bands to ensure that no lash gets left behind, no matter your lash type. I also loved that the curved wand gave my lashes some much needed curling help—a savior for rushed mornings when I don’t have the time to fuss with a lash curler. The buildable formula gave me a separated, lengthened lash look that still served plenty of volume (a rare feat in a tubing formula). What’s more, it managed to stay put throughout the day, even when applied on my lower lashes.


  • Safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers
  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Lengthens and volumizes lashes
  • Doesn’t flake or smudge
  • Easy to remove


  • Formula dries out quickly


victoria beckham beauty future lash tubing mascara on the left, and image of the author on the right holding and wearing the tubing mascara
Victoria Beckham Beauty, Future Lash Mascara — $30.00

A high-end lash serum and tubing mascara in one, ultra-sleek tube, Future Lash is full of lash boosting ingredients like nourishing shea butter, hydrating panthenol, and niacinamide to combat breakage. Plant-derived polymers wrap around every lash, adding natural looking length and volume, while the curved wand helps enhance my lash curl with every swipe. This is a mascara I can layer without fear of spidery, clumpy lashes. The fluttery lash look it provides lasts all day without flaking, and it comes off just as easily as it goes on, with the help of warm water. The only downside is that the fancy feel and ingredients—sadly—come at a fancy price.


  • Contains lash boosting ingredients
  • Curved wand helps enhance your curl
  • Lengthens and thickens lashes
  • Doesn’t flake or smudge
  • Easy to remove


  • Pricey


tartelette tubing mascara on the left, image of the author on the right, wearing and holding the tubing mascara
Tarte, Tartelette Tubing Mascara — $25.00

I’ve been a longtime fan of Tarte mascaras, so needless to say I had high hopes for the brand’s first-ever tubing formula—and thankfully, it delivered. The Tartelette Mascara features a tapered, synthetic wand that’s covered in bristles (269, to be exact) that seamlessly coat every lash for sky high length. It can be layered on for a more dramatic effect without clumping, and I can typically achieve the long, fluttery look I want with no more than 2 or 3 swipes. And while I didn’t put the Tartelette Tubing Mascara to the 24-hour wear test, I can say that it held up all day without smudging or flaking (even when applied to my lower lashes). Another bonus? It’s infused with strengthening castor oil and conditioning shea butter to support longer, stronger lashes.


  • Lengthens and defines lashes
  • Tapered wand catches every lash
  • Doesn’t flake or smudge (even on bottom lashes)
  • Can be layered for more drama without clumping
  • Enriched with conditioning castor oil and shea butter


  • None! :)


thrive causemetics liquid lash extensions tubing mascara on the left, and image of the author wearing the mascara and holding it on the right
Thrive Causemetics, Liquid Lash Extensions™ Mascara — $25.00

Arguably the mascara that put tubing formulas on the map, Thrive Causemetic’s award-winning Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara is undoubtedly worth the hype. While I don’t think I fooled anyone into thinking I got lash extensions, the tubing mascara added substantial length to my lashes, and the tapered wand delivered on definition without getting spidery. For a peak lengthening effect, I wiggled the mascara on from root to tip—and even after hours upon hours of wear, I noticed that Liquid Lash Extensions helped my stubborn lashes maintain their curl without transferring or flaking as the day wore on. What’s more, it contains a conditioning blend of castor oil, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 to support stronger, healthier looking lashes. It comes in brown and blue shades too!


  • Lengthens and defines lashes
  • Safe for sensitive eyes / contact wearers
  • Ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested
  • Enriched with conditioning and strengthening ingredients
  • Doesn’t smudge or flake (even on bottom lashes)
  • Easy to remove


  • None! :)
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