How many times have you spent a solid 15 minutes meticulously applying mascara, only to have it smudge and flake into full-blown raccoon eyes after a few hours? If you’re nodding your head, we feel your pain: Even after experimenting with an outrageously large number of supposed “best” mascaras in the last decade, we’ve always ended up with the same frustrating, unimpressive results. But before you go blaming your skin (yes, even if your lids are naturally oily), we’re here to tell you that it’s not you—it’s your formula. And thankfully, there’s a new, truly game-changing solution for all of your mascara woes: tubing mascara.
No, it’s not just a weird new brush trend, but a totally different mascara formulation. Whereas traditional mascaras coat your eyelashes in layers of oil-infused pigment, tubing mascaras use flexible polymers to literally wrap each individual eyelash in a protective, smudge-proof casing, like a tiny cone. While it sounds pretty science fiction-y, it’s just an insanely effective method for getting long-lasting, sweat-proof coverage. And, surprisingly, tubing mascara is generally easier to remove than regular mascara, needing only warm water and light pressure to wash off (though your usual makeup-remover and face-wash combo will definitely do the trick, too). Cool, right?
And though tubing mascaras have been around for a few years, they haven’t gotten much love or recognition until recently. “The answer is tubing mascara,” one makeup expert wrote on Reddit to a fed-up user who kept getting dark marks under her lower lashes by the end of the day. “Trust me, [smudges] will never happen to you again.”
Since tubing mascaras are still kind of under the radar—some, for example, aren’t even labeled as tubing on their packaging—we combed through the threads and found the five very best tubing mascaras that are, surprisingly, super cheap. So click through to find your new favorite product, along with some photographic proof of the mascara in action, so you can see exactly how freakishly good tubing mascara looks in real life.