How to: Tight-lining Your Eyes

Tight-lining is the application of eyeliner in the upper and lower inner lash-line. The result is a more naturally defined set of eyes. This is my fall-back make-up look when I don’t want to seem to be too ‘made up’,  e.g. for family gatherings at home,  for outdoor activities, etc.

How to

While I’ve been tight-lining for a long time, it’s only recently that I’ve found the perfect eyeliner to do this: Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in ‘Zero’ (‘zealous black’–yeah, whatever). This pencil glides all right; it’s so creamy you barely have to touch it to the skin to have it leave a black mark. This is very, very important when you’re playing so close to the eyeballs.

If you want some eyeshadow on, I find it best to tight-line after you’re done with putting on eyeshadow, and right before putting on mascara. If you’re not going to have eyeshadow on, it’s still best to put on some eye primer or base to even out the skin tone around the eyes.

For the example below, I’ve put on some eye primer (I use Sally Hansen Natural Beauty eye primer for this exercise) and the MAC Coral Crepe Paint Pot.

First, I line the upper lash line. To do this, I tilt my head backwards a bit, and open my eyes real wide. Work in short strokes with full concentration. I usually work from the outer corner to the inner corner.

Once you’re done with the upper lash line, you should have a more defined upper eye, yet when you close your eyes, there is no apparent line.

Next, when you’re done with the upper lash line, work on the the lower lash line. I use a lighter hand for the lower lash line so that the result is more natural. Sometimes I use bronze eyeliner rather than black.

The result is a naturally defined set of eyes. Lashes also look darker and thicker, so I seldom use mascara again especially for casual events.


A few notes about tight-lining though. While it’s relatively quick to do, especially after some practice, you need to really concentrate on what you’re doing. I think even more concentration is needed compared to when you’re lining the outer lash line. This is not something you want to do while turning on the radio or fastening a button, trust me (lesson learned the hard way).

Second is a note on the Urban Decay 24/7’s; they’re so creamy I’ve never been able to sharpen them to a pointed end. But somehow, even with a stubble, tight-lining with Zero requires zero effort;  just touch the pencil lightly to your skin and it will leave its mark.

Last is a note on cleaning. It’s obvious the lines are in a harder place to reach, so when you clean your makeup, take care to really take the product off.  A good eye makeup remover or cleansing oil does the trick for me; I just need to message the product close to the inner lash line.

Good luck!

PS: Excuse the slightly blurry photos; it’s harrrd to take pictures and tight-line at the same time! Don’t do this at home :D