Mascara that won't smear
February 15, 2017 11:51 AM   Subscribe

My mascara is forever leaving unpleasant black smears below my eyes. Do you have this problem? Is there a drugstore-tier mascara that won't do this?

I used to use Clinique Lash Power which did not do this, but I'm on a budget now and looking for something at a lower price point, more drugstore than Sephora.

I don't really care about volumizing or lengthening since my lashes are pretty long already, I mostly just use mascara to make them darker.
posted by noxperpetua to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
You are looking for "tubing" mascara, which surrounds each eyelash in a mascara tube which then slides off when you wash your face with hot water. That's the category that Clinique Lash Power falls into. Here's a list of drug-store tubing mascaras.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:55 AM on February 15, 2017 [12 favorites]

Of the list that arbitrary&capricious linked to, I've tried the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes and the Cover Girl Remarkable ones, as I am looking for the same thing you are. The CG is not a true tubing formula - it's much better than most mascaras in terms of not melting, but it can melt slightly. The LOreal one is a true tubing formula and does not melt/smear at all; but the reason I am still hunting is that it isn't quite black enough for me. I like it BLACK black (which the CG is, but arrghh.) The search continues, although the CG one is what I use when I use it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:10 PM on February 15, 2017

I just buy waterproof mascara to stop this. I don't have any specific recommendations but start with that.
posted by getawaysticks at 12:10 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

2nd-ing L'oreal Double Extend tubing. It's good stuff. I also skip the primer bc it makes my lashes too long.
posted by greta simone at 12:40 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've had pretty good luck with Boujois Volume Glamour Ultra Care.
posted by neushoorn at 12:43 PM on February 15, 2017

Tried and true Maybelline Great Lash OG formula, Black, never had a smear issue. I also use a lash primer before applying mascara (L'Oreal brand).

Be sure you are not getting moisturizer or anything else caught up in the under-eye area to potentially cause smearage. It may be that it's not the mascara's fault. It may be that stuff on your face is leaching up to the lash area and deteriorating the mascara so that it breaks down and smears.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:53 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

L'Oréal Voluminous. Seriously, you can't do better! I found it specifically for a tropical vacation, and even went swimming with it on and no smudging or flaking. It also looks really natural on, which makes it the gold standard for me. Caveat: make sure you have a great makeup remover on hand, I like bioderma sensibo, or else a good cream eye makeup remover. Also seconding to make sure you let any eye cream sink in, or a final dusting of powder over under eye concealer before you apply mascara.
posted by Champagne Supernova at 1:06 PM on February 15, 2017

Waterproof Maybelline Great Lash. Stays on until I remove it.
posted by Constant Reader at 1:19 PM on February 15, 2017

I'm incredibly prone to raccoon eyes, and have tried all kinds of mascara - higher-end stuff like Dior, Lancome etc; tube; waterproof, non waterproof, etc. My very favourite is Max Factor's Masterpiece Max, which isn't available in Canada, but is in the UK and maybe the US. Second right now is Maybelline's Lash Sensational Luscious Full Fan Effect. Not sure if I have the waterproof version, but it does require an extra step to take it off, and you've got to scrape the stuff off the applicator before application to avoid clumping, but I've had zero smudging with this, and decent volume and length. (Black packaging, not pink.)

(I use Avene's Antirougeurs Redness Relief Dermo-Cleansing milk to remove it before using a foaming facial cleanser.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:30 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like No7 Stay Perfect mascara; available for about $10 at Target and Ulta, among other places. I prefer it to L'Oreal Double Extend because it has a full-length wand. The L'Oreal has two short wands, one for the primer and one for the mascara.

You already know this, but for others who may not: if skin oils are causing your mascara to smudge, waterproof mascara won't help because it's oil-based and breaks down when it meets up with oil. Tubing mascaras aren't waterproof, but they won't come off unless you apply water and rub with your fingers or a cloth.
posted by wryly at 2:10 PM on February 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

As a fellow long-lashed and smudge-prone person, I have had the best luck with Cover Girl Lash Exact.
posted by désoeuvrée at 5:03 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have this problem with every mascara, including Sephora level and even other CoverGirl waterproof mascaras, except CoverGirl Lashblast fusion, the waterproof version.
posted by hellogoodbye at 5:03 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've had the same problem that just started in the last year, cause unknown, though I did switch to waterproof mascara to try to fix it. This tip just appeared in my RSS feed last week and while it's not a perfect fix I've found it makes a fairly substantial difference. Swipe lower lashes up to remove the excess, let them dry, then swipe down again to get them back in place.
posted by mireille at 5:18 PM on February 15, 2017

I'm like you, my lashes are long but they're blond at the tips so I like mascara to darken them. I have switched brands a lot and the thing I keep coming back to is the Voluminous Million Lashes. It stays on well without being waterproof and hard to remove!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 5:21 PM on February 15, 2017

I alternate between covergirl clump crusher and covergirl fibers and have no problems with smudging, but I'll echo the posters before me who said make sure your moisturizer/under eye cream/foundation/whatever is used sparingly around the eye so that it doesn't break down the mascara.

And man, I admit I'm surprised at all the waterproof recs. I was always cautioned not to use waterproof mascara every day because it can be really bad for your lashes, though I don't have sources to back me up. Have I been misled all these years?
posted by darkchocolatepyramid at 6:08 PM on February 15, 2017

I realise that this isn't technically answering the question, but I get my eyelashes dyed for this reason. It's not super cheap, but might be worth considering.
posted by kjs4 at 6:16 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Curling my lashes before applying mascara reduces smudging for me.
posted by Monday at 7:47 PM on February 15, 2017

I keep coming back to Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion, and I try everything.
posted by padraigin at 8:51 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yep, tubing mascara. I use and love Kevyn Aucoin's "The Volume Mascara". Alternatively just go get your lashes tinted every 4 weeks or so — or do it yourself, I like 1000 Hour.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 10:18 PM on February 15, 2017

Tubing always flakes on me. I've never found a mascara that didn't smear, waterproof or otherwise. The solution that I have found is using makeup primer (like Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer) both above and below my eyes. Realize this is not exactly answering the question, but this is the only thing that helps for me.
posted by ch1x0r at 11:25 PM on February 15, 2017

I use whatever and then set it with powder using a big round brush. Works great.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:52 PM on February 15, 2017

Wow! Thanks for this question--I'm so excited to try some of these. I'd never heard of tubing mascara. I have super oily skin and I've never found one (not even waterproof, with primer AND powder) that doesn't turn me into a raccoon in an hour. CVS, here I come!
posted by pangolin party at 12:02 AM on February 16, 2017

No matter what I do, I can't keep my mascara where it's supposed to stay. I have my eyelashes dyed. Costs about $30 and I get it done once every two-ish months. It might be a last resort but it's pretty awesome.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:03 AM on February 16, 2017

You can even dye your own lashes at home, just be really careful not to dye around your eyes, otherwise you'll have permanent panda look. (Ask me how I know...)

That said, I have never had Japanese mascara fail on me, so if you can get your hands on one of those, try them. Japanese summers are hot and humid, so those babies are really put to the test there.

Edit: You'll need an oil cleanser to remove them, though.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 3:23 AM on February 16, 2017

This was always a problem for me with every mascara until I started using this mascara from Elizabeth Mott. It's not drug store cheap, but you can get a 3 pack of travel size for $18, which works great for me since mascara tends to dry out before I finish a tube anyway.
posted by gennessee at 3:39 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can't in to say Beauty Tubes on bottom lashes and Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof on top.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:35 AM on February 16, 2017

Yes, I used to have this problem with every single mascara I tried, and eventually I realized it was because I was using coconut oil for my facial moisturizer. Even using a very small amount and giving it plenty of time to absorb still made my mascara smear later in the day.

I switched to using it only in the evenings and the problem went away. So...check if any of your other products could be affecting it?
posted by anderjen at 6:28 AM on February 16, 2017

That said, I have never had Japanese mascara fail on me, so if you can get your hands on one of those, try them. Japanese summers are hot and humid, so those babies are really put to the test there.

Edit: You'll need an oil cleanser to remove them, though.

Yes yes yes. I bought waterproof mascara from my local Japanese market and I literally couldn't remove it. I went back to the store to ask someone to read the package for any instructions and I had to buy its matching remover.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:55 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tubing mascara is the shit y'all.
posted by Brittanie at 6:18 PM on February 16, 2017

UPDATE, not that I'm the OP, but updating nonetheless: based on wryly's suggestion above I tried the Boots No 7 Stay Perfect and it is fantastic. This may be the one that turns me into a daily mascara wearing person. Cost $10 at Target, great very small brush that works even on bottom lashes, no clumping, and a true tubing formula that DOES NOT MOVE on me. My eyelids are so oily that professional makeup artists have despaired.

In celebration, I will share with you all my secret for getting this stuff off cheaply and easily, with no nasty fibers to irritate the eyes and without laundering a bunch of washcloths. Gather round! Here it is: I keep a packet of unscented baby wipes by the vanity. They cost maybe $1.79 for a pack of like 70. When it is time to, say, wipe of the crud from oil cleansing; or in this case get the little wriggly mascara worms off, I just take a wipe, rinse it with warm water, use it instead of a washcloth, and drop it in the trash when it's gross. You're welcome, babies. You're welcome.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:35 PM on February 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

Blinc tubing mascara. I get the travel/trial size on eBay. A bit cheaper and I need to replace them every 3 months or so anyway when they get dry. I still get a few little black flakes under my eyes, but they are dry, wipe off easily, and don't smear pigment.
posted by fozzie_bear at 9:14 PM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Maybeline great lash has been my go to for years now. Always get the waterproof and you shouldn't have any issues with smudges.
posted by LoriABrown at 10:59 AM on February 17, 2017

Thanks for the advice-- I had no idea tubing mascara was even a specific thing. I bought the Loreal Beauty Tubes and I've been wearing it smudge-free all week. I solidly recommend it to anyone else with this problem.
posted by noxperpetua at 4:32 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

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