Tightlining: how to tightline & step by step tutorial

An essential technique for applying eyeliner: tightlining. But, what is it, and how to tightline your eyes?

I explain it all to you in this article and give you my most useful tips! Because tightlining takes some practice before you learn how to do it easily!



how-tightliningPhoto by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

What is tightlining?

In tightlining, you apply eyeliner to the waterline of your eyes. This is the part of your lash line that is as close to your eye as possible.


How to tightline?

What do you need to tightline? The best way to do this is with an eye pencil (preferably one that lasts a long time, like a waterproof eye pencil).

Always be careful when applying your eye pencil!

Apply the eye pencil to your inner lash line, as seen in the video above. By the way, you can also tightline your lower waterline, but this will create an optically smaller eye, be sure to keep that in mind.


    1. Dry your eyeliner first and allow to dry
    2. Dry your upper lash line with a non-fluffy reusable cotton pad
    3. Lift your eyelid slightly with your non-dominant hand (do not pull too hard, be kind to your eyelids)
    4. With your dominant hand, now start tightlining on your upper lash line. This tickles a lot, so it may take some time to do
    5. You can work in dashes and connect them
    6. Do you suffer from very watery eyes? Then choose a waterproof eyeliner or one especially for sensitive eyes
    7. Finish your look with mascara


Help, my eye is tearing up

Your eye often tears up when you tightline. You can prevent this by choosing an eye pencil suitable for sensitive eyes. You can also choose a waterproof eye pencil.

Another tip, which I apply myself, is (before doing my other makeup) I line my eyes while I have my eyes closed. It’s okay to be messy!

Then I remove everything with makeup remover and am left with a tightline! So you see, there are quite a few handy tricks for this. My eyes tear a lot when I try to tightline, which is why I have to do this like this. Also, I always have to sneeze!


Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash

Tightlining with a brush

You can also try tightlining with a brush, but I myself prefer to use an eye pencil. It’s just a matter of preferences.

Why tightlining?

Well, now you know how to tightline. But. Why should you tightline your eyes?

Often, the tightlining technique is used to make your eyes look bigger, and to ensure that you no longer see skin color on your lash line. This is because when you apply mascara, that skin color stands out extra.

It also looks like you have more lashes because of this technique: because the base of your lashes is now much blacker, they appear fuller and more voluminous. Win-win!

Tips to learn tightlining

    • Make your lash fringe dry first. Do not use a cotton swab for this (it gives off too much dust and is therefore bad for your eye), but dab gently with a washable cotton or bamboo cotton pad


    • Use a waterproof eyeliner pencil if your eye tears easily
    • Or choose an eyeliner pencil suitable for sensitive eyes if your eye tears
    • Warm up your eyeliner pencil by first drawing a few strokes of eyeliner pencil on your hand to make it glide more easily over your lash line


    • Never use liquid eyeliner to tighten: this is bad for your eye and burns terribly if it gets into your eye
    • Don’t manage to draw a nice smooth line? No big deal! Make small dashes and join them together later
    • Use a good mirror


  • Don’t use powder to apply to your lash line afterwards, it irritates your eye
  • Tightline only with a sanitary and clean eyeliner! This comes into direct contact with your eyes, so be careful with this. Sharpen and/or sanitize your eyeliner.

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