Tightlining the Eyes – A Brief Introduction

I mentioned on Twitter how I’m really pleased to have come across an eyelining technique called tightlining and a few people got in touch to find out more. It’s a tricky technique to explain with words, but I’m going to try! Next week I’ll do a pictorial but in the meantime, I’ll elaborate on what tightlining is so that hopefully you can give it a go.

There seems to be a bit of confusion in regards to the difference between tightlining and lining the waterline. They’re both very similar, but my understanding of lining the waterline is that you would use kohl and apply a line to the inner skin on the eye – literally the thin line that is in the eye as demonstrated on Kim Kardashian here:

As you can see, Kim has both eyeliner on the area just below her waterline as well as kohl applied in the waterline, meaning you can’t see any skin colour at all.

Whereas tightlining focuses on lining the lash line yet in a very precise way.  You can take tightlining onto the waterline, but it isn’t actually necessary to achieve a gorgeous finish. Tightlining has many advantages including the fact that it’s a very natural look and can be used on the upper and lower lash line, but the most significant is that it’s a very good way of filling in gaps along your lashline which makes lashes appear fuller and more even.

Tightlining can be done with a pencil, gel or even powder and Laura Mercier has created a cake with the intention of it being used as a tightliner.

Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner

The technique involves applying eyeliner into the lashes.  On the lower lashline you would work the eyeliner into the lash line rather than drawing a line underneath as you would with a standard eyeliner technique, but the upper lash line is a little bit different and takes a bit of practice!  To tightline the upper lash line, you would need to apply the eyeliner underneath the lashes as opposed to above.  The best way I’ve found to do it is to place a mirror directly beneath you, gently lift your lashes upwards by placing your thumb on your lashes and your first finger on your upper eye and then use a brush or pencil to fill in a line amongst your lashes.  Basically, your focus is to merge with the lashes rather than create a separate line.  If you do this underneath all your upper lashes, the result will be a very natural line that will accentuate your eyes and lashes, yet still look very natural.

As I said at the beginning, this is a tricky technique to articulate and this is only a brief introduction, but hopefully it’ll give a bit more of an insight into what’s involved.  It takes a lot of practice and you need to tread carefully (as ideally you don’t want to get any liner on your eyeball!) but it’s such a gorgeous finish that it’s worth persevering.  



  • paula
    October 16, 2011

    I think it looks fabulous,but very tricky.Id love to try it but im clumsy and heavy handed and as I wear contacts Im sure it would irritate my eyes.Im gonna try on lower eye though,thanksId never heard of this before xxx

  • BeautyGeekUK
    October 20, 2011

    You’d think so but I have sensitive eyes and it doesn’t irritate them; however I’m not sure about the implications for contact lens wearers xx

  • willmer01
    November 5, 2011

    love this will have to give it a try i am still getting the hang of doing liner but practice makes perfect and kims eyes look amazing : ) Thanks for the advice x

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