Tightlining, or “tight-lining,” despite its action-packed name, is not a new extreme sport. It doesn’t have anything to do with bungee cords, ratchet straps or zip-lining, but along with filling in my brows and curling my lashes, it’s an essential part of my everyday makeup routine.
In tightlining, you line the base of your upper lash line from below, getting down in there between the roots, and I do it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Even when I’m under a severe time crunch and have to start making “tough” decisions on which and what parts of my routine I have to skip, I’ll skip bronzer, highlighter, and if I have to, I’ll even skip blush…as long as I still have time to tightline.
So how does tightlining differ from the typical ways of applying eyeliner? Well, I usually apply eyeliner from above, where I get the tip of the liner down between the roots of my lashes and along the lash line, and in tightlining, it’s the same basic process, but I come at the base of the line from beneath it, where I can really get the liner down in there between each and every lash, and it makes the lash line look nice and thick, and that makes the eyes look bigger.
For tightlining, of all the different eyeliner formulas — gels, powders, kohls, liquid liners, etc. — I like black waterproof twist-up pencil liners the best, and I choose the twist-ups because the tips are usually super thin, which makes it easier to get down in between each of the lashes at the roots. I also like waterproof formulas because they last (and I LOVE Chanel’s Waterproof Eye Liner in 88 Noir Intense for this reason).
Of course, if you feel like black liners are too stark for you, you can always use another shade. Deep blackish gray, brownish black, medium-toned gray, navy or brown all work, too. Whatever darkens your lash lines and floats your boat.
Step 1: Sharpen your pencil
To start, the first thing I do is sharpen my pencil.
I know that sounds kind of “Duh, Karen!” but using a sharp tip really helps. It makes it much easier to get between those lashes at the roots.
Step 2: Placing the pencil at the base
Next, I place the tip of the pencil just beneath my lash line, pointing at an upward angle, and close the eye I’m working on so that the tip of the liner presses up against the base of the lashes.