Tightlining the Eyes Tutorial

Tightlining the Eyes Tutorial

I briefly covered the Tightlining technique in my introduction here and as promised, here is a tutorial on how to achieve Tightlined eyes.

Here’s what you will need:

L-R: Water Spray, Mascara, Flat Eyeliner Brush, Liner suitable for tightlining.


You don’t need a water spray as you can just use a tap, but I find it much more convenient to just spray the brush rather than having to pop to the bathroom each time the brush needs dampening.


You don’t actually need mascara if you’re not a mascara fan, but for me I like to finish the look with one coat to bring the eyes out further.

Flat Eyeliner Brush

I use this Laura Mercier Flat Eyeliner Brush as it’s been designed to be used as a Tightlining brush. The type of brush you need is a firm, flat ended brush that is fairly dense.


I also use the Laura Mercier Cake Eyeliner as it has again been designed for this purpose. However, there are plenty of other alternatives including Bobbi Brown’s Gel Eyeliner which I first used before purchasing the Laura Mercier cake. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll be referring to the Cake.

Action shot!
Dampened brush.
Cake eyeliner interacting with the water.

Step 1

If you’re using the cake, you need to dampen the brush. Either run it under a tap or spray it with a water spray on both sides. Then use the brush to dampen the cake. You want to get the consistency right; so it needs to be fairly rich but not so thick that it’s like boot polish. However, the best thing about using this cake is that you can alter the consistency to suit your needs; for example, I use more water when I want a natural line and less water (or I’ll mix the water and eyeliner more rigorously) when I want more definition.

Tightlining the inner corner; notice it looks like I’m lining the upper eye, which I’m not, I’m just lining very closely to the waterline underneath the lashes.

Step 2

The best way I’ve found to apply the eyeliner is to use a hand mirror and look down into it, but at a slight angle; hopefully that makes sense! You then smoosh the eyeliner into the underside of you upper lashes. I tend not to fill in the upper waterline (although you can do that really easily with this technique and it looks gorgeous) as I like to keep things as natural looking as possible. You can either take the line all the way to the inner corner of your eyes for added definition, or just to the outer edge of your lashes to make them appear fuller. The trickiest thing for me is getting the consistency and quantity of liner I have on the brush to the right amount so that it doesn’t then imprint on to my lower water line – not that this is a bad thing as it looks really lovely on the lower lash line too – so if you do end up doing this then it’s very easy to remove it with a cotton bud, just do this as quickly as possible before it sets. Then dampen the brush again and repeat the process on the other eye.

That’s really all that is involved! It’s a slightly tricky technique to master but it doesn’t take loads of practise and I think it’s more about what you personally prefer. You can experiment to find the best technique that works for you and also experiment with the amount you use and the consistency you like best.

Left eye has been Tightlined all the way to the inner corner, whereas the right
eye has just been Tightlined to the end of the lash line.
Finished look after mascara has been applied. Note the little extra that’s imprinted on to the
lower lash line of the left eye; I think it’s a really pretty effect, intentional or not!

Hopefully this all makes sense and proves useful and please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them.



  1. March 28, 2012 / 5:19 PM

    Just curious, could I use almay’s liquid liner for this technique?

    • March 28, 2012 / 5:47 PM

      I would tread carefully with anything too liquid unless you’re really good at application as I would imagine the result would be quite messy. Plus you need to take into account whether a liquid liner will aggravate your eyes too as you’re putting it very close to the incredibly delicate inner eye skin xx

  2. Anonymous
    April 3, 2012 / 6:06 PM

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. What is your opinion of the Laura Mercier tightline activator? Necessary or not?

    • April 3, 2012 / 9:38 PM

      To be honest, from what I’ve read I don’t think it’s really necessary and I may be wrong, but I remember reading somewhere that once you start using the activator you can’t then go back to water, so you’re essentially ruining your eye liner cake which I personally think is a bit rubbish! I don’t see how the activator can improve on water as it works really well with just water xx

  3. Anonymous
    April 3, 2012 / 6:09 PM

    Also . . . I’ve read that the Laura Mercier cake liner stays on so well that it’s difficult to remove. What is your impression of this and what are you using to remove it?

    Thank you!

    • April 3, 2012 / 9:40 PM

      Yes and no; it really does stay on well but what makes it a little tricky to remove is where you’re applying it as obviously you’re going under the lashes. However, I find that as long as I’m using a good eye make-up remover that doesn’t sting my eyes (any of the reputable micellar solutions work really well; I prefer to use either Bioderma or Etat Pur) then I can use a cotton bud to slide off the eyeliner xx

  4. Anonymous
    April 3, 2012 / 8:49 PM

    Thanks so much for not insisting that I “create an account” before I comment. I often want to comment on a blog but am just not going to go through the hassle of an account/password, etc. GREAT JOB! I’ve bookmarked you!! Keep em coming Girlfriend!!

    • April 3, 2012 / 9:40 PM

      No problem at all and thanks so much for bookmarking me and leaving such a lovely comment 🙂 xx

  5. Anonymous
    April 26, 2012 / 6:16 PM

    I’m tempted to buy the LM cake eyeliner for tightlining but have read that the water does something weird to the cake. You’ve had your cake for a while. How does yours seem? Thanks so much!

    • April 26, 2012 / 6:56 PM

      No problem 🙂 I haven’t actually heard that about the water affecting the cake but I have heard about the Activator that LM also sell causing problems with it. I’ve got 4 cakes in total, one I think is about a 8 months old and the others were Christmas presents and none of them have shown any weird reactions to water….but maybe I’ve been lucky? xx

  6. Anonymous
    August 12, 2012 / 6:25 AM

    As long as LM feedback is being generated, I’ve read in the comments section of Sephora and/or Ulta that the activator makes your brush super hard. It also does something to the cake so you end up not being about it. I wish LM would come out with a new tightlining product. I love tightlining and am currently using a variety of waterproof eyeliner pencils.

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