The 6 Things You Need to Know About Tightlining Your Eyes

#1: It really is easier than it looks.

Tightlining—they don't call it invisible eyeliner for nothing. It's so sly that celebrity makeup artist Kira Nasrat relied on the technique when she was 12 years old and not allowed to wear makeup.

"I would sneak pencil liner on the tip of my lash line using my mom's black Maybelline eyeliner," she explains. "It was a way for me to accentuate my almond shape eyes without getting caught."

Like many makeup artists, Nasrat loves the is-she-or-isn't-she trick, which consists of applying liner at the base of/in between your lashes. It sneakily makes fringe seem thicker and fuller at the roots while adding subtle definition to the eyes. 

Still, as simple as it is, taking the right approach and using the right product is key. Here's what you need to know:

It's Not as Painful as It Looks

"A lot of people get intimidated by tightlining their eyes because it looks so uncomfortable to do," says Nasrat.

Curling Your Lashes Is a Must

"I make sure I curl the lashes really well when doing a tightline because you want to open up the eyes as much as possible to maximize the effect," says fellow makeup pro Fiona Stiles.

Roots Are Everything

"It's about getting eyeliner as close to the roots of the lashes as possible," explains Stiles. To do so, gently pull up your lids up and look down slightly so that it's easier to see the gaps between the lashes.

Nasrat likes to fill with a pencil by pressing on dots until the lash line looks fluid. She then uses a liquid liner for soft touch-ups and a more defined look overall.

It'll Make Your Smoky Eyes Look Better

While it might be synonymous with more of a no-makeup makeup look, you can use the technique to enhance a smoky eye as it blends the lashes into the look seamlessly, says Stiles. 

Waterproof Is the Way to Go

If you're like us, you're staring at a bright computer screen all day, which means your eyes are bound to tear up. To ensure this doesn't disrupt your tightline game, Nasrat swears by a black or brown waterproof eye pencil as it will stay put no matter how watery your eyes get.

Blinc Life Proof Eyeliner Pencil

(Image credit: Future)

1. Blinc Life Proof Eyeliner Pencil, $20;

2. Fiona Stiles Ultra-Smooth Waterproof Eye-Defining Pencil, $16;

Gel Liner Is Great for Beginners 

If you don't fancy yourself experienced enough with liquid liner, Nasrat recommends Hourglass' Mechanical Gel Liner as its super thin and precise.

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Beauty Editor

Lauren Valenti is Vogue’s former senior beauty editor. Her work has also appeared on,, and in In Style. She graduated with a liberal arts degree from Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, with a concentration on Culture and Media Studies and a minor in Journalism.