The best tubing mascaras for serial smudgers

I haven’t written about new tubing mascaras in ages, so scarce are they. But the hoo-ha surrounding Hourglass’ Unlocked Instant Extensions, and the woeful disappearance of NYX’s Doll Eye, caused me to revisit. Tubing formulations are unconventional mascaras designed for serial smudgers (if you’re one of us, you’ll know that sinking feeling as you enter a ladies’ room and catch sight of the fuzzy black track marks underlining both eyes, moment of onset unknown). Instead of the usual waxes and dyes, they coat each lash in a polymer tube, drying quickly and staying securely in place until warm water causes them to swell and slide off before bed.

The classics of the genre (Kevyn Aucoin’s The Volumizing, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear, Clinique’s Lash Power, Blinc) all remain excellent, but I want to share some you may not yet know. The new Hourglass is an online smash hit, and I broadly approve. The true-black, vegan formula works best when applied in a single sweep, reaching, lifting and separating every last lash with zero clumping. I don’t quite agree that it passes for extensions, personally, but my lashes are wilfully stumpy. It’s pricey, but lashes feel soft, eyes look wide and on me, it stays put. Almost identical, in fact, to Surratt’s lovely Relevee (£28) except that the Hourglass isn’t constantly out of stock.

Every mascara made by British brand Eyeko is tubing, giving you your pick of brush styles. My favourite by a whisker is Lash Alert (£19), because the slightly curved head makes for the fewest mishaps. But if unsure take advantage of the ingenious trial set of three different mini tubing mascaras (£22.50), and find your ideal match before committing (handy for handbags, too).

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No7 Stay Perfect Mascara (£13) is the only unfamiliar bargain I found. I certainly recommend the formula (good staying power, no clumps) but I’m not a big fan of the spiky, silicone brush type; your mileage may vary, of course.

As much as I can’t be without tubing mascara, new users should manage their expectations. No tubing mascara will give as dramatic a volumising effect as a traditional-type formula can. But for evenings when I want extreme draught-excluder-style eye pelmets, I simply apply a coat of old-school mascara first (top lashes only), allow to dry, then lock down with a final sweep of tubing on upper and lower decks. My patent’s still pending.


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