Tightlining: Everything you need to know about *the* eyeliner hack to master

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  • And it's the quick way to fuller and thicker lashes.

    Tightlining; it’s the eyeliner hack that has spawned hundreds of tutorial videos already and though the name doesn’t necessarily sound too glam, it’s likely that you’ve actually been tightlining your eyeliner this whole time.

    So what actually is ‘tightlining’? Well, it’s a savvy eyeliner technique that make-up artists have been using since the 80s, tightlining is just like waterlining (drawing your eyeliner along your eye’s waterline), but just on the upper lashes instead.

    As the liner is on the inside of the lashes (and often squidged between the gaps too), it’s hidden from plain sight, giving the impression of fuller, thicker eyelashes and wider awake eyes, without any obvious make-up.

    The trick is especially handy if you have small or hooded eyes which can look a bit OTT with heavy liner, or if you need a quick way of intensifying your existing eye make-up to better define your eyes.

    So how do you do it? We’ve broken it all down, step-by-step.

    First, you need to find your preferred tightliner. A waterproof formula is essential, as you’ll be applying it directly to the ‘splash zone’, but whether you go for a pencil, liquid or gel is entirely up to you. It’s a good idea to have a play around with a few different textures.

    Eyeliner pencils can be the easiest to use and control if it’s your first time, and they’ll also dry far quicker. When it comes to liquid liners, look for a felt tip style pen with a thin yet firm nib – you don’t want anything too flimsy that’ll catch you in the eyeball.

    Some make-up artists prefer to use gel liner applied using a small fan brush, as it glides very smoothly and once dry, can have real staying power. Though it’s worth practicing and taking things slow at first – you’ll be operating very close to your eye remember!

    Next up, take a few blinks. You’ll need to keep your eye open for a few seconds at least while applying the liner, and might also have to resist the urge to blink.

    Now for application. The easiest way to apply the liner can be to lay a mirror down on a flat surface, a table for example, and look down into it with your chin raised. That way you’ll have a direct view of where you need to place your liner.

    Hold your pencil, pen or brush with the hand you have most control with, and using the other gently lift your lid upwards, so that you have better access to the inner lashline. Then, gently go for it. It’s a good idea to stop and start if you find that your eyes water, or that you need to blink. Line a little, stop and blink, then line a little more.

    The real beauty of tighlining is that you can keep building the look until you’re happy, without things getting too much too quickly. If you want it to be an especially subtle look, try just applying the liner to the outer corners, rather that all the way across.

    Clean up any smudges with a cotton bud dipped in a gentle eye make-up remover, and you’re good to go!

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