10 best tubing mascaras for flake-free, smudge-proof lashes

Our tried and tested selection of the best tubing mascaras for flawless lashes all day – with formulas to curl, lengthen, and volumize

composite image of three mascaras included in the best tubing mascaras guide, on a green and pink zig zag background
(Image credit: Sweed, Pat McGrath Labs, SpaceNK)

The best tubing mascaras could be the answer to all of your smudgy-eyed woes. This innovative eye makeup product works to prevent flaking, smudging, and running, giving perfectly long lashes that last all day. The best part is, tubing mascaras can be removed with just water. 

The best mascara is one that can be relied on to keep lashes looking long and full without faltering. However, one of the major downfalls of most mascara is its tendency towards smudging and running. But what if we told you that there is a product that can eliminate these problems for good? Enter the best tubing mascaras, giving the best false eyelashes a run for their money.

"Tubing mascara contains tube-like polymers that wrap around each individual lash, creating an enhanced, lengthening effect," explains Rachael Divers (opens in new tab), award-winning make-up pro and resident makeup artist at Face The Future. "The result is long-lasting, flexible wearing mascara that doesn’t smudge or flake." Not only do tubing mascaras often give a better lengthening effect than regular mascaras, but they are also much more durable for everyday wear, saving you from messy lids or dark under eyes. What's not to love?

How we tested the best tubing mascaras

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

a variety of mascaras included in the best tubing mascaras buying guide on a blue velvet background

A selection of the tubing mascaras we tested for this guide

(Image credit: Amelia Yeomans)

The best tubing mascara should boast several essential properties: flake-free, smudge-proof, long-lasting, lengthening, and easy to remove. We put each of these mascaras to the test to ensure they did exactly that. Each product was worn for a full day to see how it really performs, not forgetting to test that all-important ease of removal. These are our honest thoughts after thoroughly applying, wearing, and removing dozens of formulas, to determine which tubing mascaras are really worth the investment.

The best tubing mascaras, as chosen by our beauty team

sensai black lengthening mascara

(Image credit: Sensai)

1. Sensai Lash Lengthener Mascara

Best overall tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $33/£31
Shades: Black
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Lash catching brush, rinses off with warm water

Reasons to buy

+
Totally smudge-proof
+
Lengthening
+
Ideal consistency

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey

Not only does this have our vote as one of the best lengthening mascaras, but it is also our favorite tubing mascara on the market. We have used this mascara for months now, and it is our go-to for every makeup look. When testing, we found the consistency to be ideal - not too wet or too dry - meaning it applies beautifully. The brush is the perfect size to catch every lash, and it lengthens without adding any clumps. "I love tubing mascara because it’s designed to wrap around every lash, giving precise definition from root to tip," says Divers - and this is exactly what we found with the Sensai mascara. 

When using regular mascaras, we almost always encounter smudging. But with this Sensai lash lengthener, our lashes stay fully intact for the whole day, with no signs of wearing or pesky black undereye marks. The best part is that it can be removed with 38°C water, so it only takes a warm shower and a couple of swipes across the eyes to slide right off. This will be great news for anyone wondering is mascara bad for your eyelashes (clue: it tends to be harsh removal methods that do the damage) If you are after a dramatic lash look, this may not be for you. However, the brand offers a whole range of stellar tubing mascaras (including volumizing and separating formulas) one of which will be sure to impress.

mascara tube and wand of glossier lash slick in brown

(Image credit: Glossier)

2. Glossier Lash Slick in Brown

Best brown tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $18/£16
Shades: Brown and black
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested

Reasons to buy

+
Natural effect
+
Comfortable wear
+
Good for layering

Reasons to avoid

-
Thick formula 

Lash Slick is a cult makeup product that we guarantee any beauty obsessive will have tried - and loved. Designed to give a your-lashes-but-better look, this mascara lengthens and separates lashes to create a baby extensions effect. We are big fans of the original Lash Slick in black, so we were thrilled to see a brown version now on the market. After testing, we can confirm that not only is this one of the best tubing mascaras, but also one of the best brown mascaras out there. When using this mascara, we really noticed how well it coated each eyelash, making for a natural yet doe-eyed effect. It also doesn't budge throughout the day, meaning it is an ideal everyday option for all occasions.

This mascara's only downfall is the slightly thicker formula that holds more weight than other mascaras we have tried, but this wasn't at all noticeable once dry. "One benefit of tubing mascara is that you don't need to apply multiple coats to get the desired results; you just need the one," explains Divers. This is particularly true for Lash Slick, as that one layer does plenty. "The trick is to get the brush as close to the roots of your lashes as possible and wiggle the wand left-to-right as you pull the spoolie upwards," Divers says - a technique we will follow from now on. 

pat mcgrath labs dark star mascara wand and gold packaging tube

(Image credit: Pat McGrath)

3. Pat McGrath Labs Dark Star Mascara

Best volumizing tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $32/£28
Shades: Black, blue, aquamarine, pink
Mini version available: Yes
Extra features: Sculpting, precise brush, ophthalmologist-tested

Reasons to buy

+
Volumizing brush
+
Comfortable wear
+
Keeps lashes curled all-day

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too dark for those with fair hair

Dark Star is definitely one of the best volumizing mascaras we tested for this guide, providing curled and healthy-looking lashes that won't droop throughout the day. When we first applied this mascara we noticed that it has a drier formula compared to most other mascaras, which worked brilliantly for our hooded eyes - gone are the days where black splodges would appear on our eyelids all day long. 

Though the brush is thicker than some of the other tubing mascaras we have tested, it still managed to catch all of our lashes and ensure each one was long and volumized. We found that the dark black pigment only needs one layer to work its magic, meaning lashes don't feel heavy or crusty. This is definitely one of the best tubing mascaras for those who want big and bold eyes, but don't want to have to apply countless layers of regular mascara to achieve the look. 

bottle and wand of 19/99 lash tint mascara

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

4. 19/99 Lash Tint Mascara

Best tubing mascara for a lash lift effect

Specifications

RRP: $18.20/£14
Shades: Black, brown, taupe
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Precise wand, water-resistant, can also be used for brows

Reasons to buy

+
Provides a lash-lift effect
+
Good for sensitive eyes
+
Multi-use

Reasons to avoid

-
Natural look - not for those who want exaggerated lashes

If you want to achieve that lash lift and tint look without a costly trip to the salon, this mascara will become your new best friend. When testing, we found that the fine wand and tubing technology coats every hair without being thick or clumpy, leaving your lashes looking elongated and dark, akin to natural falsies. Thanks to the tubing formula, it also doesn't smudge, flake, or lose length throughout the day, even on oily skin.

If you have sensitive eyes or are prone to itchiness, the smooth and lightweight formula of this mascara will help to ease those problems. We also found that it hardly requires any elbow grease to remove, so you won't need to spend time scrubbing with the best micellar waters. Divers recommends tubing mascaras for "those who use mascara on a regular basis and find themselves spending a long time trying to remove it, resulting in sore eyes or irritated skin around the eyes." This 19/99 mascara is definitely the most lightweight formula we have tried, which is why we would recommend it to anyone who wants to take extra care of their eyes. 

It is also a multi-use product, so can be used to tame and tint brows with a similar natural effect. If you gravitate towards natural makeup or want to achieve a salon-worthy look in seconds, this is definitely one of the best tubing mascaras out there.

hourglass unlocked mascara wand and gold tube

(Image credit: SpaceNK)

5. Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara

Best tubing mascara for definition

Specifications

RRP: $29/£29
Shades: Black
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Boosts definition, unique film-forming technology

Reasons to buy

+
Buildable
+
Dramatic look
+
Cruelty-free

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive

Hourglass beauty products are some of our absolute favorites, so it was no surprise that we loved using this mascara. From the weighty gold packaging to the slim, tapered wand, this is a luxe product that we believe is worth the price tag. When testing, we found that the formula is the ideal consistency to apply effortlessly without being too wet - a tricky combo to come by. 

It delivers on its promise to be smudge-proof and lightweight, as well as easily removable with water. But what we loved most about this mascara is the dramatic and defined look it gave our lashes, making it our go-to pick for pairing with our best eyeliner on evenings out. With just one swipe you can expect long and full lashes with added volume, living up to the 'instant extensions' name. Divers recommends tubing mascaras for "those who want lash extensions but are also trying to save some money – and time. Aside from fake lashes, tubing mascara is the best option for getting a faux-extension look at home," she says. Out of all the tubing mascaras we tried, Hourglass Unlocked is the one that most delivers on this.

clinique lash power mascara wand and tube

(Image credit: Clinique)

6. Clinique Lash Power Mascara

Best everyday tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $23/£23
Shades: Black, brown
Mini version available: No
Extra features: 24 hour wear, withstands rain, unique brush to catch small lashes

Reasons to buy

+
Small wand reaches every lash
+
Water-resistant
+
Ideal consistency 

Reasons to avoid

-
More lengthening than volumizing

We have always loved Clinique mascaras, and Lash Power is no exception to that rule. The small, tapered wand is perfect for those with shorter lashes, or catching your bottom layer of lashes for maximum impact. This also means that if you do like to wear multiple coats of mascara, you can be precise with your application and prevent clumping.

When testing, we found that it lives up to its claims of being water-resistant, as it didn't budge when we wore it out during a light rain shower. It also didn't smudge on our oily eyelids - something we are always looking for with the best tubing mascaras. We did notice that this mascara is better for lengthening than it is for volumizing, but we loved the effect it gave, which really worked to open up our eyes. Plus, Lash Power comes at a slightly lower price point than some of the other mascaras we have tested, but it still works wonders. For gift-giving or treating yourself, it is a foolproof option.

milani anti gravity tubing mascara wand and gold tube

(Image credit: Boots)

7. Milani Anti Gravity Mascara

Best drugstore tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $11/£14.25
Shades: Black
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Infused with Castor Oil, 24 hour wear

Reasons to buy

+
Nourishing formula
+
Well-priced
+
Hourglass brush for precise application

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as easy to remove as some other tubing mascaras

Think you can't find quality tubing mascaras at the drugstore? Think again. Milani's Anti Gravity is undoubtedly one of the best affordable tubing mascaras on the market, and it behaves just as well as higher-end products. The first thing we noticed when testing was that the wand itself is very similar in shape to Dark Star, and also provides a volumizing effect. However, Anti Gravity's formula is slightly wetter, so is better for layering. This also means that it feels light when applied, and dries down to be almost weightless.

After a full day of wear, this mascara was still completely intact, with lashes holding their length and curl. Its only downfall is that it doesn't slide off quite as easily as other tubing mascaras, so we did opt to use one of the best cleansing balms to aid with removal. However, for the price point, we really can't complain. Plus, the packaging resembles that of far pricier mascaras on this list, so it will look gorgeous in your makeup collection too.

chanel inimitable extreme black mascara tube and wand

(Image credit: Chanel)

8. Chanel Inimitable Extreme Mascara

Best designer tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $32/£31
Shades: Black, brown
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Formulated with vitamin E and mineral powder microbeads for volume and length

Reasons to buy

+
Luxe feel
+
Very pigmented
+
Unique long-wear formula

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

It is no surprise that Chanel makes one of the best tubing mascaras. The Inimitable Extreme formula is not only kind to your lashes, but is also long-wearing and extremely pigmented. The black shade was perfect for our dark lashes, as it gave them some much-needed oomph that made our eyes really stand out against a full face of makeup. We also found that the subtly tapered wand was just the right shape to create both volume and length without making our lashes too exaggerated or unnatural-looking. 

When testing, we loved that this mascara easily rinsed off with warm water. One of our least favorite things about regular non-tubing mascara formulas is the lengthy removal process, so we felt extremely satisfied knowing that this would be no issue. The best part is, it is still moisture-resistant, so works well for those with watery eyes or contact lens wearers.

no7 stay perfect rose gold mascara tube

(Image credit: No7)

9. No7 Stay Perfect Mascara

Best affordable tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: £13.95 (UK only)
Shades: Black
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Formulated with nourishing jojoba

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible brush
+
Sweat, tear, and humidity proof
+
Curls and lengthens

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as glamorous as some others

If you are just discovering tubing mascaras and want to make sure that they work for you before you commit to a more expensive brand, No7's Stay Perfect formula is the perfect one to begin with. In fact, we think it performs just as well as more expensive tubing mascaras, so there is really no going wrong here. When testing, we noticed that our lashes stayed looking curled and full for hours on end, with no need for touch-ups or reapplication. 

As promised, we found that it pulls away with warm water, meaning you won't need to spend minutes furiously scrubbing your eyes over the sink. We often get itchy eyes throughout the day, but we found that this formula kept our eyes comfortable with no irritation. The slim, straight wand was just the right size to catch every lash without causing clumps, but still added just the right amount of volume. If you are wondering how often should you replace your mascara but don't want to fork out on designer brands each time one expires, this budget-friendly option offers a fantastic alternative.

sweed cloud mascara blue tube with cloud print and mascara wand

(Image credit: Sweed)

10. Sweed Cloud Mascara

Best vegan tubing mascara

Specifications

RRP: $31/£24
Shades: Black
Mini version available: No
Extra features: Contains nourishing vitamin B5, water resistant

Reasons to buy

+
Gentle on sensitive eyes
+
Lightweight
+
Volumizes and lengthens

Reasons to avoid

-
None, this is excellent

Divers recommends tubing mascaras as an affordable, time-saving alternative to lash extensions and we certainly noticed a faux lash effect when testing this Sweed Cloud Mascara. Our lashes looked extremely long but without too much thickness, making for a nicely wispy falsies look.

We noticed that this is another fairly wet formula, however, the packaging ensures that no excess product comes out on the wand - just enough for each eye. We found the wand to be the ideal shape for grabbing our lashes, and the nourishing, glossy formula left our lashes feeling light and comfortable. If you like your lashes to be the star of the show in any makeup look, this is the mascara to go for. It adds significant length and curl, and doesn't smudge no matter the weather. Despite the slightly higher price point, it is worth every penny.


Is tubing mascara the same as waterproof mascara?

No, in fact they are quite different! Waterproof formulas are designed to withstand a soaking, meaning they are often stubborn to remove and can be pretty drying on the lashes. Though tubing mascaras have water-repellent properties and are very good at withstanding moisture such as sweat and humidity, they are not totally waterproof.

Divers agrees that the protocol of how to remove waterproof mascara is the main thing that sets it apart from tubing formulas. "Unlike waterproof formulas that take gentle persistence and a good eye makeup remover to remove every trace, tubing mascaras require just a cleansing cloth and warm water to help them easily slide away," says Divers. "That’s probably one of the best benefits - there’s no need for rubbing or tugging at the sensitive, delicate skin around your eyes when you need to remove it.” 

Are tubing mascaras better for your lashes?

"Combining the benefits of the shiny silicon-based formula which is easier on lashes, and the fact that you don't have to tug at your skin to remove it, I would say overall it is gentler on the lashes and also kinder to the skin around the eyes," explains Divers. For this reason, we would recommend tubing mascaras to everyone - especially those with sensitive eyes.

Amelia Yeomans
Staff writer

Amelia joined woman&home after graduating with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2022. She specialises in lifestyle journalism and throughout her undergraduate degree she wrote for a variety of student publications, where she developed a love for all things style, beauty and sustainable fashion. She has previously written for titles including OK! Magazine, New! Magazine and Notion before she started her career as a lifestyle journalist with woman&home after completing an internship with the brand.