Our 7 Steps for How to Tightline Eyes

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Tightlining is a new makeup technique that makes your eyes appear bigger and your lashes look thicker. Beginners can follow some simple steps and tips to tightline eyes and to prevent eyeliner from smudging.

Though the idea behind tightlining is to achieve a natural look, there are ways to jazz up tightlined eyes.

It’s advisable to follow some safety precautions when using this technique to ensure the health of your eyes. This make up technique may not be suitable for everyone and is probably not the best idea to use it frequently.

What Is Tightlining?

Tightlining refers to the makeup technique where eyeliner is applied on the lash line itself. The idea behind tightlining is to create bigger and wider eyes without looking ‘made up’.

Tightlining requires you to carefully dab a bit of your eyeliner on your lash line where your lashes are. This is tricky because obviously your lashes are in the way. It’s also known as the invisible eyeliner as it makes you appear as though you’re not wearing any makeup, yet it still makes your eyes look bigger.

Unfortunately, tightlining isn’t the easiest of makeup techniques to master. You must have a steady hand and ensure that the liner doesn’t smudge because even a single mistake would mean spoiling the whole effect.

It’s because of this reason that many beginners feel intimidated to even try this technique. Some people may also be put off by the notion that it may be painful. In reality, all it takes is a bit of practice and if tightlining is done properly, it’s painless.

Type of Eyeliner for Tightlining

Try a pencil, gel or cream liner and choose one which is waterproof. The lash line is sensitive and often gets moist from tears. After putting in all the work to tightline your eyes, you wouldn’t want your hard work to vanish in a matter of minutes.

If you’re using a pencil liner, make sure it’s not too sharp. It may be best to use a twist up liner as it tends to be gentler on your eyes.

Seven Steps to Perfectly Tightlined Eyes

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Step One

Wash your hands as you’ll be touching your eyes and you don’t want to transfer any bacteria into them.

Step Two

Dry your lash line. Take a cotton swab and swipe along the lash line so that you remove any moisture. This’ll help the eyeliner to stay on longer.

Step Three

Gently pull up your eyelid. Look up (tilt your head a little backwards and raise your chin). Use a Q-tip to push your eyelashes against your brow bone. This helps you to keep your lashes in place. You may use a finger but please be gentle. Take note that a finger may exert too much pressure, and this can cause creases.

Step Four

Gently press your eyeliner on the outermost corner of your upper lash line. The lash line refers to the moist rims near your eyelashes. When you blink, they touch each other. Run the liner two to three times (this depends on how dark you’d like the colour to be) across your lash line.

Step Five

It’s best not to trace the liner all the way into the inner corner of your eye as you run the risk of making your tightline appear unnatural. The idea behind tightlining is to give the appearance of not wearing any makeup at all.

Step Six

Try not to blink while applying the liner if you intend only to tightline your upper lid. If you do so you may end up with eyeliner on your lower lash line as well. Tightlining your upper eyelid alone makes your eyes looks bigger.

Step Seven

Touch up between the eyelashes. Using the same eyeliner, dot the spaces gently between your lashes. Alternatively, you may also use an eyeshadow of the same colour as your liner. If you’d like to use an eyeshadow, it’s best to use a brush with an angled edge as it’ll help you to be more precise.

Two Ways You Can Jazz up Your Tightlined Eyes

You can choose to curl your eyelashes with an eyelash curler. Curling your lashes helps to brighten as well as widen your eyes which further enhances your tightlined eyes. Another way would be to make your lower lashes stand out as well. You can do this by running the eyeliner just below the lower lash line. This may not be a good idea for everyone as it makes eyes appear smaller.

Alternatives to the Traditional Tightlining Method- Girl4

If you want bigger and wider eyes without going through all the trouble of tightlining, there are alternative solutions. You could always curl your eyelashes and apply a coat of volumizing mascara. Or you can apply a very fine layer of thin gel eyeliner on the top lid. Do take note that using either one of these methods will result in eyes that look more made up compared to tightlined eyes.

How to Smudge Proof Your Tightlined Eyes

Tip One

Choose the right type of liner. Gel liners are the best as they rarely smudge and stay on for longer periods of time. The alternative to gel liners is wax liner which is the pencil form of gel liner. It stays on longer and unlike gel liners, tends to be darker. It requires constant sharpening though and may not last as long as a gel liner.

Tip Two

Dab some mattifying powder on the liner to prevent smudging.

Tip Three

Apply a thin layer of concealer using a Q-Tip on your eyes before applying the liner. Choose one which is the same tone as your skin. This helps the liner to stay on longer.

Tip Four

Use an eye primer before applying liner.

Tip Five

For added protection, you can always put on some clear makeup sealer

Tightlining While Wearing Contact Lenses

Doctors would probably warn you not to tightline your eyes while wearing contact lenses as it increases the chances of catching an eye infection. However, there are some solutions to this problem.

You could opt to wear daily lenses as a fresh pair of lenses would reduce the chance of an eye infection. If you don’t use daily lenses, ensure that you clean your lenses frequently. It would be best if you could clean them daily using a multipurpose solution. Ensure your contact lens case is cleaned to, as they tend to harbour bacteria. Users of contact lenses should opt for oil-free eyeliners and mascaras. Lid wipes are a good idea for contact lens users as they help to remove all of your eye makeup.

Ensuring Healthy Eyes When Tightlining

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Tightlining may not be a good idea for everyone. People with sensitive or dry eyes and those who wear contacts may want to think twice before using this technique. The fine particles in the eyeliner will end up in your tear film causing discomfort in your eyes or they may stick to your contacts affecting your vision. In more serious cases, it could also cause eye infections especially if your eyeliner contains bacteria.

If you do have sensitive eyes or wear contacts but still love this makeup technique, exercising some simple precautions will ensure that your eyes remain healthy. One of the simplest tricks is to only tightline for important or special occasions. This’ll give your eyes enough time to recover and will reduce the chances of irritation.

Always ensure that the eyeliner you’re using is clean. You could sharpen the tip before using but make sure it’s not too sharp as it may hurt your eyes. When you sharpen the tip, you always line your eyes with fresh eyeliner and this prevents the chances of infection. If you feel that sharpening your liner is a hassle, you could always clean the eyeliners tip with a bit of rubbing alcohol. You might want to wait till the alcohol has evaporated before applying the liner on your eyes to prevent any stinging.

A very important tip to keep in mind is the expiry date of your eyeliner. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to discard all eye makeup after three months of use. The longer you keep your eye makeup, the higher the chances that you’ll end up with an eye infection.


Tightlining has become a very popular makeup technique as it enhances your eyes in a natural way. It makes your eyes look brighter and bigger and makes your lashes appear to be thicker.

Though beginners may feel intimidated, there are some simple steps and tips that you can follow to achieve the perfect tightlined eyes. Smudging is a common issue faced by people who use this technique but there are some ways to overcome this problem. Tightlining may have to be used with caution for people who wear contact lenses, with sensitive or dry eyes but overall, it’s a safe makeup technique.

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