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Tubing Mascara: What It Is and Why You Should Try It

Say goodbye to panda eyes.
  • Leann Garofolo
April 15, 2024

Few things polish off a makeup look quite like mascara. But with so many different options on the market, finding your perfect match can feel a bit overwhelming. You may narrow down your search based on color or finish, but another factor to consider is whether you prefer tubing vs. regular mascara. While both provide lash-lengthening benefits, tubing mascaras offer a few unique advantages you may not be familiar with. Here, we’ll explain what tubing mascara is, what it does, and share the benefits of using this type of mascara. We’re also giving you the inside scoop on the best drugstore tubing mascara from L’Oréal Paris and how to apply it. All the details await you ahead.

What Is Tubing Mascara?

Tubing mascara is a type of mascara that forms extension-like “tubes” around your eyelashes for a smudge-proof, lash-lengthening effect. The main difference between tubing mascara vs. regular mascara lies in the formula. The former contains polymers that create a sort of lash-elongating cocoon around your eyelashes, while the latter coats your lashes in buildable layers of pigment.

Tubing mascaras are a popular option because they provide natural-looking lift and length and, once dry, won’t smudge—even if you have oily lids. Plus, tubing mascara can target each individual eyelash, making it an excellent option for separating and defining your lashes and helping them hold a curl.

How To Know if You Have a Tubing Mascara

If you hastily picked up a new mascara and are unsure whether it’s a standard or tubing formula, there are a few easy ways to figure out what you’re working with.

First, read your mascara’s label. If it lists polymers—the distinguishing ingredient of a tubing formula—on the packaging, it’s highly likely that it’s a tubing mascara. Another way to spot a tubing mascara is to pay attention to how it wears. Regular mascaras can sometimes transfer onto your skin after extended periods due to their infusion of waxes and dyes (blotting your skin and applying setting powder can help prevent the dreaded panda eye). Tubing mascaras, on the other hand, are often resistant to the oils on your face and are less prone to smudging onto your lids or under-eye area.

Finally, look at the way your mascara removes. If it slides right off your lashes in little strands, chances are good it’s a tubing mascara—these formulas remove easily with warm water (no makeup remover necessary).

Is Tubing Mascara Better for Your Lashes?

Tubing mascara isn’t any better (or worse) for your lashes than regular mascara, though the easy removal may be ideal for those with a more sensitive eye area. When choosing between tubing vs. regular mascara, your personal preferences matter most.

Tubing mascara is often a great choice for those with oily skin, as these formulas won’t melt, smudge, or smear the way some standard mascaras can. Anyone craving dramatic lash volume, however, might fare best with a traditional volumizing mascara. That’s because tubing mascaras generally aren’t as buildable as wax-based ones, making them ideal for a more natural, eyelash-lengthening look.

Similarly, consider when—and where—you plan to wear your mascara. Since tubing mascara melts off easily in water, it may not be the best choice if you’re planning to swim or sweat (or if you live in a particularly rainy climate). Waterproof mascaras, meanwhile, can typically hold up to wet conditions—but they can only be removed with eye makeup remover.

Ultimately, tubing and regular mascaras boast unique benefits, and each can have a place in your makeup routine. Try experimenting with a few different formulas or learn how to cocktail your mascara until you find the best fit for you.

L'Oréal Paris Tubing Mascara

Tubing mascaras don’t make up quite as much of the market as traditional ones, but you can still find them wherever you shop for makeup. If you’re looking for a reliable drugstore tubing mascara to add to your cart, try L’Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes. This double-ended mascara features a nourishing ceramide-infused primer on one end and a pigmented tubing mascara on the other. Together, they leave the lashes looking 80% longer and provide all-day, smudge- and flake-proof wear. Plus, the mascara applies easily in just two simple steps. First, fully coat your lashes with the white base formula to prepare them for tubing. Then, sweep a layer of the tubing mascara onto your lashes for a lash extension-like effect that lasts until you wash it off.

How To Remove Tubing Mascara

Removing tubing mascara might just become the easiest part of your makeup routine. Simply splash water onto your face and gently pull the tubes away from your lashes using your fingertips. You’ll notice that they fall right off in small clumps without much effort (rest assured, your lashes aren’t washing down the drain with them). You can also soak a cotton pad with warm water and hold it against your lashes for about 30 seconds. Once the liquid loosens the mascara, you can gently swipe it away with virtually no mess or harsh tugging.

Next: Our Best Volumizing Mascaras for Full Lashes

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