When it comes to long-lasting mascaras, there’s no denying that waterproof formulas take first place. And while they may not budge during a dip in the pool, on a humid summer day, or during a marathon viewing of The Notebook, the downside is that they can be admittedly hard to remove. You’re going to need a dedicated waterproof eye makeup remover for sure, and even then, it often requires more than a little bit of elbow grease to fully take off these budge-proof mascaras. All of that harsh scrubbing can end up taking a toll on your delicate lashes, often making waterproof mascaras almost not worth it. Enter tubing mascaras, which originally started in Japan, gradually made their way stateside, and have continued to grow in popularity over the past few years.

Unlike traditional formulas, which paint your lashes with pigment, these use polymers that essentially shrink wrap each individual lash with tiny tubes. The result? Not only a long and lengthened effect, but increased staying power to boot. Tubing mascaras won’t smudge, but will also come off with only a little bit of warm water and a washcloth or cotton pad. (FYI, if you’ve never tried these, you will see the little tubes coming off, but don’t worry, those aren’t your actual lashes.)

We conducted hours of research on the best tubing mascaras, evaluating them on their formulas, benefits, and shades. After considering dozens of brands and consulting with a makeup artist, we landed on the following best in show.

Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara

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Consider this the OG of the bunch. As a general rule, tubing mascaras are usually best for adding extra length, simply based on the way in which they work and how the tubes wrap around and extend each lash. But when you want both length and added fullness, reach for this option. Not only does it contain the fibers, it also has bold pigments to help thicken and separate lashes. Added jojoba oil keeps your fringe both soft and shiny, and the super skinny brush makes swiping and application easier than ever. We also love how it never leaves you with raccoon eyes, a major win in our book.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Adds volume, lift and length
  • Clump-free
  • Removes easily
  • Coating is a bit thick

Price at time of publish: $35

Benefits: Infused with volume-building fibers to thicken, separate, and lengthen lashes | Size: 0.18 oz. | Shades: Rich Pitch Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Doll Eye Mascara

NYX Professional Makeup Doll Eye Mascara

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This is one of the most affordable tubing mascaras out there. Using both natural oils and nylon fibers, it instantly lengthens lashes. And for when you need added staying power, it also comes in a waterproof version, as well as one that adds more volume. Bonus points for the addition of vitamin E, which helps condition lashes to keep them soft and fluttery.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Instantly lengthens lashes
  • Comes with a tube for more volume
  • Conditions and softens lashes
  • Nothing to scrape excess product

Price at time of publish: $21

Benefits: Unique blend of natural oils, vitamin E and nylon fibers extends eyelashes to almost faux proportions | Size: 0.28 oz. | Shades: Extreme Jet Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Runner-Up, Best Budget: Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes Tubing Mascara

essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes Smudge-proof, Volumizing Tubing Mascara

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Another great budget pick is this tubing formula from Essence (a brand famous for their mascaras). For only $5, you get a mascara that defines and volumizes, while coating each individual lash in its extremely water-resistant formula for a wear that won’t smudge or flake throughout the day. It’s easy to remove with just warm water (and without heavy rubbing).

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Can last all day without smudging
  • Affordable
  • Volumizes and defines the lashes
  • Can dry up quickly

Price at time of publish: $5

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Benefits: Lasts without smudging, flaking, or running | Size: 0.3 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Volumizing: Blinc Original Tubing Mascara

Blinc Original Tubing Mascara

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While most tubing mascaras are ​choice for lengthening, this adds volume, too, and is available in both black and brown. You can also layer multiple coats until you achieve your desired effect, just make sure to swipe them on within two minutes of one another. Once the formula sets, it sets, so you don’t have to worry about smudges or flakes.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Can layer multiple coats
  • Smudge- and flake-free setting
  • Adds volume
  • Glue-like consistency

Price at time of publish: $26

Benefits: Water-resistant for maximum hold and conditioning | Size: 0.17 oz. | Shades: Black, Dark Brown | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Conditioning Formula: DHC Perfect Pro Double Protection Mascara

DHC Perfect Pro Double Protection Mascara

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This super-lengthening Japanese formula contains beeswax and vitamin E, which condition the lashes while you’re wearing it and also give them an alluring sheen. We especially love the mini wand, which has fine but soft bristles to effectively coat lashes in the formula. It’s also a long-lasting formula that never clumps while applying (which can be a problem with some tubing mascaras).

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Flexible wand reaches tiniest lashes
  • Infused vitamin E adds sheen and conditions
  • Smear-free
  • Can be a bit flaky

Price at time of publish: $19

Benefits: Conditions and strengthens the eyes with infused beeswax and vitamin E | Size: 0.17 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Drugstore Option: L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara

L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Lengthening Mascara

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This two-step formula promises up to 80 percent longer-looking lashes. The dual-sided tube contains a base coat infused with conditioning ingredients such as ceramides and panthenol; swipe this on first to both protect and strengthen lashes, while also creating a base for the tubes to come. Next, apply the tubing top coat (there’s no need to wait in between) for impressively long lashes. We commend how well it stays on, without smudging, even on lower lashes.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Easy to remove
  • Long-lasting
  • Lengthens lashes up to 80 percent
  • Glue-like consistency

Price at time of publish: $14

Benefits: Lengthens the eyelashes up to 80% | Size: 0.33 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Sensitive Eyes: Clinique Lash Power Mascara

Clinique Lash Power Mascara

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As anyone with sensitive eyes will tell you, mascara can quickly become more trouble than it’s worth. Happily, this lengthening formula is both allergy-tested and ophthalmologist-tested, fragrance-free, and won’t irritate contact lens wearers. With unique thermal technology, it also touts an impressive 24 hour wear-time. Plus, the thin and slightly tapered brush makes it easy to reach your bottom lashes, as well as the tiny ones on the inner and outer corners of your eyes.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Long-lasting 24-hour wear time
  • Lengthens even the tiniest of lashes
  • Holds up for watery eyes and oily eyelids
  • Not for volume

Price at time of publish: $25

Benefits: Stays put for 24 hours | Size: 0.6 oz. | Shades: Black Onyx and Dark Chocolate | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Natural Formula: Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

thrive-causemetics-liquid-lash-extensions-mascara

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Vegan, cruelty-, paraben-, and sulfate-free, this uses a long list of natural ingredients to improve both the look and feel of your fringe. Buildable fibers add faux lash-like length, while Korean plant extracts strengthen lashes. It also contains an orchid stem cell complex to help encourage lash growth (yes, please), and a combination of vitamin B5 and sodium hyaluronate to moisturize, which is why it glides on oh so smoothly.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Flake-Free Tubing Technology™ gives voluminous lashes
  • Powered by plant stem cell technology
  • Comes in three shades
  • Can be hard to apply

Price at time of publish: $24

Benefits: Infused shea butter and castor seed oil condition lashes during wear along with stem cell complex for healthier-looking lashes | Size: 0.38 oz. | Shades: Rich Black, Deep Blue, Brown Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Humidity-Proof Formula: Surratt Beauty Relevée Mascara

Surratt Beauty Relevée Mascara

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Celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt’s eponymous makeup line is largely inspired by Japanese technologies and innovations, so it’s no surprise that he created a tubing mascara. Choice for muggy summer days, the humidity-proof formula contains microfibers to extend lashes, along with a slim and angled brush that helps lift and fan them out simultaneously. Also nice: The packaging is recyclable, which is not often the case with cosmetics.

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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Infused microfibers add more volume
  • Slim, angled brush simultaneously lifts and fans
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Can clump

Price at time of publish: $34

Benefits: Humidity-proof Japanese tubing formula hyperextends lashes | Size: 0.2 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Curling Formula: Tower 28 Beauty MakeWaves Lengthening & Volumizing Clean Mascara

Tower 28 MakeWaves Legthening + Curling Clean Mascara

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Although this mascara is marketed for its lengthening and volumizing properties, it also cups the lashes upward and seals the curl, resulting in a lifted eye look. The brand notes its Aquaflex® Technology works in the same way hair styling products do, with memory hold that lifts and locks lashes into place while remaining soft, not crunchy. It’s one of the safest for sensitive and allergy-prone eyes, and makes lashes look wispy and feathered without the need for falsies.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Unique brush and packaging
  • Gentle for contact lens wearers
  • Holds a curl all day
  • Can flake over time

Price at time of publish: $20

Benefits: Humidity-proof curling technology, moisturizes and strengthens | Size: 0.3 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Strengthening Formula: Velour Lashes Pretty Big Deal Peptide & Tubing Mascara

Velour Lashes Pretty Big Deal Peptide & Tubing Mascara

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Velour Lashes is known for its glamorous false lashes, so it makes sense they would create a nourishing, lengthening mascara formulation. This inky-black mascara doubles as a lash serum, with a peptide complex and antioxidants to keep lashes feeling soft. The angled brush lifts and extends lashes to a feathery, natural-looking finish without clumping or smudging.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Contains peptides
  • Angled brush
  • Lengthens
  • Not for volume

Price at time of publish: $26

Benefits: Peptide complex, tubing formula | Size: 0.3 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Long-Lasting: MERIT Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara

MERIT Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara

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If you’re looking for a tubing mascara that’ll last through a long work shift or even a day traveling, we recommend this formula from Merit. While it won’t give you the most dramatic lashes in the world, it’s still able to define and lift the lashes for a separated look with no clumping. We also love the fact that it has a nourishing formula with fatty acids and olive oil to hydrate and condition the lashes.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

  • Defining and separating formula
  • Conditions lashes with with fatty acids and olive oil esters
  • Doesn’t smudge
  • Not as dramatic as other formulas

Price at time of publish: $26

Benefits: Nourishes the lashes to lengthen, define, and separate | Size: 0.3 oz. | Shades: Black | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

FAQ

  • What are the benefits of tubing mascaras?

    Tubing mascaras add length and volume to your lashes while resisting smudging, running, and flaking. A bonus? Tubing mascara can be removed painlessly and doesn’t even require makeup remover. Avoid irritation and harsh chemicals by gently washing your lids with water.

  • How do you apply and remove tubing mascaras?

    Tubing mascara can be applied like traditional mascara—simply run the wand from the root to the end of your lashes over and over so that they are amply covered. To remove, you can use a standard makeup remover. However, you can also wash with water and a washcloth, cotton pad, or just clean hands.

  • Do tubing mascaras expire?

    Unfortunately, your tubing mascara won’t last forever. Given the potential for microbial growth and the risk of eye infection, the FDA suggests you replace your tubing mascara three months after purchase.

    This is especially important for tubing mascara made of only natural ingredients as it might lack preservatives, making it more susceptible to microbial growth. If your tubing mascara feels dry or as though it’s expired before the three-month mark, you should replace it.1

  • Should you use a primer before applying a tubing mascara?

    Yes, depending on the look you’re going for. Since most tubing mascaras are geared toward adding length, you might want to use a primer to help thicken your lashes as well. Using a primer in conjunction with a tubing mascara can help you achieve lengthened, volumized lashes.

  • How do you keep mascara from clumping in the tube?

    All mascara formulations have the potential to clump in the tube, and if you’re finding your tubing mascara is getting clumpy, there are a few tricks you can try. Be sure to replace your products regularly, as mascara can dry out and clump over time. If this happens, though, you can add a drop of oil to the tube to help refresh it and squeeze a few more uses out of it.