3 tricks to spot a tubing mascara, you need to read NOW

6Tubing mascaras all in a row
Tubing mascara all in a row

How to spot a tubing mascara… A teeny update.

Hola! Hello! Are you still there? If you are, I thank you… for your patience, for still sticking around and being patient. Life and turning 40 happened to me! And a blog name change…yikes! More on this coming up soon, no really really soon. I promise!

So if you follow me on the ‘gram ( you don’t? Why not? Go on, go to @running_in_red_lipstick on instagram and show us some love ❤ )you’ll know that I love a mascara. I mean anyone with eyes should really love a mascara. And anyone over 40 should make mascara their best friend. What’s not to love?  The right one will give make you look more awake, give you va-va-voom eyes ( and lashes) and often makes your eyes look lifted and less tired.

The key is the right mascara.

Ok, finding a mascara is like looking for a man on tinder. Or more difficult I’ve been told ( since I’ve never been on tinder I can’t speak for the app- Soz!) If you are anything like me and have oily eyelids… ( hello eye cream, I’m looking at you babe) or rub your eyes ( yep, that too), wear lenses ( urm, box checked), have dry eyes ( you talkin’ to me gurl?), live in a dry or humid climate?( urm yes to the first and holiday to the second) … winning the lottery here! All of the above apply to me, and I know from talking to my friends that they have similar problems too. So the right mascara is often elusive… or seasonally dependant. SIGH! What works in Summer might not work in Autumn etc etc.

Then the world discovers tubing mascara

Tubing mascara: Now what is that?

Marie Claire magazine * describes it as  being “… different from traditional formulas in the way they coat your lashes. Normal mascaras coat your lashes in pigment to darken and lengthen; but tubing formulas wrap polymers around your lashes, coating them in ‘tubes’ of the black stuff. Think of it as a life-proof jacket for your lashes“.  This is the most informative and easy definition I’ve read to describe tubing formula, of course GIYF ( Google Is Your Friend), I’ll leave a few links below. Feel free to let me know if you know of more mascaras in comments.

A little mascara history if you’re interested:
According to Maybelline Co., modern mascara was born in 1913 when Maybelline creator T.L. Williams marketed his sister’s recipe for makeup in Chicago. His sister Maybel used petroleum jelly mixed with coal dust to make eyelashes look more dramatic. Williams adapted the formula in a laboratory and produced a product sold locally called Lash-Brow-Ine, which became a local hit. In search of a catchier name, Williams renamed the product Maybelline, which is a combination of Maybel and Vaseline.In 1915, the company Maybelline was founded as a mail order company. In 1917, Williams’ company produced Maybelline Cake Mascara which was the first compact mascara and was very popular.

Why not use Waterproof Mascara?

A lot of people do. Waterproof formulae can often withstand gale force storms that may make men quake. The problem comes during the removal process. Many of them require a full force stab fest to remove. And since long-lasting coverage doesn’t always outweigh rubbing and scrubbing the beejeesus out of my lashes at the end of the night, I prefer tubing formula. Tubing formulae have been around since donkey’s years. Especially in J or was it K beauty. Then Kevyn Aucoin ” borrowed” the formula to make his iconic Mascara and legend was born. Of course now the high street and high end use it. And it is by no means perfect. It is also not new in K beauty/ or is it J? But when Sali Hughes, my beauty hero, a legendary beauty journalist and bestselling author was given a tube of Blinc, by a beauty PR way back in the day. It became a CULT, and started a trend that we are still grateful for as its now becoming sophisticated and more mainstream.

Ok… Ok lets get to the point, we still are trying to find it. DING!

Whenever I’ve tried to buy a tubing mascara in store or online, If I searched for tubing mascaras especially in store or online- I’d struggle to find it. I always have to have this list with me which is A-okay but hands up if you’ve ever had your phone die on you… midway through a shopping trip ( okay I’m guilty of forgetting to carry my Powerbank) and along with it; here’s your list.

So if you can’t search for it by description ( why oh why?) then these 3 points are the key tricks to spot a tubing mascara in a store or online.

3 MUA ( Makeup Artist) Tricks to Spot it

  • Looks for words like extension/ extended/ buildable: Either in the name or the description. Often it will say it right in the name ( L’Oreal Extended ) or in the blurb in the box. ( The description in fine print. Yeah, I know… I rarely read it either.)  But just like everything good in life, the devil does really lie in the details.
  • It’s advertised as easy to remove or washes off easily with water: This is really key as tubing mascara unlike waterproof mascara comes off easily with warm water. ( and a bit of gentle elbow grease aka soaking and compressing with a warm flannel) If the above words are not in the description. This is key to knowing you’ve got the right bad boy.
  • It says smudge proof ( often doesn’t say waterproof) If you are looking for a waterproof mascara because… hey you do NOT have to justify your reasons to me. Okay? Anyway, this will often be marketed as smudge-proof. And people can get caught out on a technicality. There is a difference. Hear me out. Waterproof mascara is said to withstand proper water – think swimming outdoors in a thunderstorm and everything in between. And most can ONLY be removed with oil/dedicated makeup removers. Smudge-proof on the other hand can maybe withstand a bit of tears, allergy or bridal. But no more and comes off with warm mascara and a gentle soak. While no mascara is and should damage lashes in the long term. The removal process of waterproof mascaras can be a bit aggressive by some of the heavy handed ( head down-guilty) amongst us. This is why tubing mascaras win over waterproof ones in terms of overall lash health IMHO.

Oh and just to make things a little more interesting for you- here’s a bonus one. If you’re a mascara addict, and have been wearing it since the stone age. It’s a lot wetter than normal mascara and needs to dry between applications. If you’re a Mascara newbie, then good luck as wetter is so relative, and if you haven’t used other types of mascara. Or not many mascaras, then this will be a much of a muchness to you.

 Things to remember-

  • They provide a more natural look. If you want to look like you’re wearing falsies, tubing alone won’t do it.
  • Nothing is set in stone ( and definitely not mascara formulations) So as we speak formulations can be taken off the market- or new ones added!
  • Everything in makeup is relative, and eye makeup especially mascara and eyeliners seem to be more relative than others. None of these may be your jam. Or all or some may be. Please do let me know in comments if you have any faves that I havent tried or listed.
  • Prices are slightly higher. I think you are paying that slight extra bit for the formulation even in the drugstore/ pharma category. So you will find are slightly more expensive than the other mascaras in their brand.

So my top finds are:

( I tested them all under the same conditions: 100% humidity, 5 Mile run and 1 hour gym workout… not all at the same time! But all using the same controls, these babies are my personal faves.)


  1. Mac Extended Play Giga Black Mascara. Firstly let’s start with the name here shall we? I think they were having a bad day or something when this was named! Like from the creators of beauts like Ruby Woo and ‘Shroom ( okay, the latter is not as cool but ya get me?) comes this mouthful that I nearly have to always Google the name of. Why? You couldn’t call it Tubing… but extended play Giga was okay? Alright, rant over. Because that is the only negative thing about this, that I can think of.  (Apart from the price, but we have already cleared this, rightio?) It coats lashes evenly, very little clumping, and does provide a lift and grip. And your lashes look natural. Stunning. Every time. And DEFINED.

Mascara head: Thin brush head

Bristle: Wibbywobbly

  • 2. Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula: BEST FOR SENSTIVE AMONGST US. If one of you wears contacts ( guilty gurrrrrl) or have easily irritated eyes, very dry eyes, this tubular mascara from Clinique is a smart choice. It’s both allergy tested and ophthalmologist tested. Not to mention 100 percent free of any fragrances, or phthalates. This long-wearing formula lengthens lashes, even the little corner ones, thanks to its unique shaped brush. And again, with the defined. It’s the Holy Grail of many. It has a fine thin brush head that grabs every

Mascara head: Thin brush head

Bristle: Wibbywobbly

Fairy Drops mascara
Fairy Drops mascara
  • 3. Fairy Drops Scandal Queen Mascara :This OG mascara with the coolest brand name ( I call dibs on Unicorn lashes gurl) comes from Japan, It was created by a Japanese TV personality and was one if its original imports that called to all eyes on J beauty before it became all the rage. It has a cool, (at the time 10 years and counting)  3 bobbled  head that coats every single lash.  especially small lashes. Straight ones.  Unfortunately and this is one of really unfortunate buying moments where (and the seller is already sending me one as we speak) I have been sent the waterproof and not the original tubing formula. So I can testify to its appearance and cannot personally talk about wear time here. Boo. Maybe an update at a later date?

Brush Head: Wibbly wobbly, to get the shortest hairs .

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  1. Nyx Doll Eye Mascara : The second drugstore brand that made my cut. This is great if you want a a more waterproof tubing formula. The brush is not fat, so its great for those amongst us that get a mascara brush sidle past in our eyeball because of fat brushes, and short lashes. Plus it says waterproof. Though its not as waterproof as traditional formula… its pretty good. If this is your first time trying a tubing formula, and don’t want to go far budget wise, get this.


  • 4. Glossier Lash Slick: The much awaited and long teased mascara is like everything Glossier. Pink. Cool and modelled by their effortless gen Z and millennials models who flit around putting on a dab of this, a touch of that. This having said, Lash slick is great if you like natural looking lashes. So if you dont want that full on false lash effect. and yes there are some amongst us who dont want that. Often they can look a little full on in traditional corporate jobs. This is where Lash slick steps in. Like everything that Glossier offers, this is on brand. Your lashes look like yours, but better. And it really is a doddle to take off.

Brush Head: Slick, Small, quite easy to use for smaller eyes, or on the g

Milk Kush mascara
Milk Kush masara
  • 5. Milk Kush Mascara This Mascara is the only newest offering in the beauty world and the second vegan one in the list, so if you’re after a vegan formula, this is what you should be going for.In a (innovative opinions my opinion) bold move Milk ( the new beauty disruptor) makeup added oils and plant based waxes. This is quite a milestone as most mascaras use beeswax or some form of it. So this is quite a eco and bee friendly direction for a brand to make. That an add cannabis to a mascara. yep you read it here lads. Your lashes will be guaranteed to get high. Ok kidding – CBD or Cannabidiol, the latest buzzword in the beauty world doesn’t contain more than 3% of the substance (THC) that gets you high. I love the Fat brush of the mascara wand. And my lashes do get a natural lift, but not sure about the claim of CBD helping in this formulation. Anti Inflammatory, Jumping onto a trend? You decide.

Brush Head: Big, Bushy. ( Stop. You know what I mean!)

Processed with VSCO with fv5 preset

  • 6. L’Oreal Paris Double Extend Tubes the only double formula in the bunch, The white end has the polymer fibres that you coat each and every lash with. Then use the other side to coat the lashes with a formula that adds volume and all that mascara jazz. This is a drugstore offering and these double type bottles were all the rage ( circa early 2000′ s) but now with everyone wanting and expecting their makeup/ skincare to be dinky, cute, sleek, travel friendly and very little faff. So if you are one of those people, then this is NOT for you. This however is still a great mascara, and if it aint broke and all that!

Other noteworthy ( read ICONIC) formulae

Blinc Mascara ( The OG, the most famous one that started the buzz) , Kevyn Aucoin The Curling Mascara (This was the east to west transition way ahead of its time!), Trish McEvoy High Volume Mascara, DHC Mascara Perfect Pro Double Protection( yet again, whats with the name peeps?), Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Formula. (the name, SIGH!), Primark False Lash Queen

To cut a long (again keeping with the name theme here lads) story short!

If you are a serial smudger, but still want that sort of lifting action that lasts longer than the best curling tool can ever give you- Tubing Mascara’s are your answer. If you are a tad rough with the removal of makeup. Firstly. I’m going to find out who you are and totally snitch on ya to your mumma lads! Just kidding, but just saying it’s 2019 and we should know better. No? Ok to those of us who (occasionally) get heavy handed with eye makeup removal and regularly scrub our mascaras out- A ) The makeup Police is watching you (  b) Tubing formula’s are your baby. They come out easily with warm water. No scrubbing, no stabbing at your eyes, no harsh tugging of the delicate orbital area. If, whatever reason one is not looking for a false lash effect. ( Gasp! apparently said people exist?!) Guess what? Often I am one of those people… My Corporate day Job often requires makeup to be on the discreet side. I save the jewelled eyeshadows for the weekend. And my false effect mascara ( Essence if you’re interested) for girl’s nights out! I wear my tubing formula in the day time.

Have you tried a tubing mascara? Let me know what you think- or just pop in to say hi- Love Elle xx


Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post; pr samples have been kindly gifted by the company, but this has not affected my opinion, nor swayed it . And where gifted this is signposted as AD for clarity and transperancy  Please check the ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you may have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.

*Read more at https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/make-up/tubing-mascaras-583143#esS0uXDoVL28Myb8.99

Maybelline history reprinted from Freebeauty events



Published by Lav Mell

Beauty Musings, Makeup reviews, Skincare lover, I am a self confessed makeup and skincare magpie and this is my little corner of the blogiverse.

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