Tightlining: The Best Makeup Tip for your Eyes

Several years back during my very first makeup lesson I learned the absolute best makeup tip for eyes. It’s called tightlining. One of my girlfriends asked me about it a few months ago, so I had to share with her (and you) how to achieve this super easy, but makes a huge impact, tip. 

Tightlining Title Pic

So what is tightlining? Tightlining is adding color (usually black or dark brown) to your lash line, essentially filling in all the gaps between your eyelashes. It’s not eyeliner, which usually lies above or below your lashes. Tightlining is a line of color directly aligned with your eyelashes.

To start with all you need is black eye shadow and a flat makeup brush. I use Stiletto from this Too Faced palette and this MAC brush. The brush, as a side tip, is fantastic and works well for lining and smudging my eyes. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend adding one to your collection.

Tightlining Tools

Lots of ladies use eyeliner pencils or cream/gel eyeliner to get the same look, but for me I find eyeshadow works best. I have more control over how much I add to the brush (usually I start with a little and gradually add more), and I find the process a lot easier. 

So once you have your tools in place, add some eyeshadow to the brush, and tap it slightly to shake off any excess. 

Tightlining Brush

Now press the brush along your upper lash line. The “pressing” part is important. Using a side to side motion with the brush will just result in powder falling either into your eye or onto your face. So press the powder all along your lash line until you reach the end of your eyelashes or the corner of your eye, whichever you prefer.

Tightlining Step 1

You can use two techniques while using the brush. You can either go from underneath your lashes, folding them up slightly as you press along your lash line (see below).

Tightlining Step 2

Or you can go from above your lashes, folding them down slightly as you press along your lash line (see below). I actually do both to ensure I’ve covered the entire lash line. Play around with both and see which one is more comfortable for you.

Tightlining Step 3

For the lower lash line (once you’re finished with the top), instead of adding more powder to your brush, I use whatever is leftover. It will give a softer, more natural look. Now, using the pressing motion, line the lower lash line the same as you did for the top.

Tightlining Step 4

You can see from below the look is quite different between the before and after, and all I did was add a bit of color to the lash line. I haven’t added any detail to my eye like darker eyeshadow, eyeliner, or mascara. So imagine the impact you’ll achieve once you’ve added the rest of the eye makeup!

Even still, for a natural, no fuss look, you could leave the look as is. It’s still quite pretty all on its own.

Tightlining Before After

Once you’ve practiced a bit, tightlining will take you 30 seconds. Easy, peasy lemon squeezy, like my daughter says;)

Have you tried this look before? 

What else I’m wearing – eyeshadow: Pink Cheeks | nail color: Formula X Intensity

Bre Signature Glitter



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    I’ve never tried this before, but I love the way it turned out on you, so I will be trying it today! Such a pretty, subtle look! Thanks for sharing!

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    Hello! Came across this blog post which I find very informative. Did you try other types like gel liners? (Eg gelpresso – gel liner in a twist up pencil form)

    I tried the powder tightlining and it looks great, only it falls into my eyes (yes, I read – after I tightlined – that I have to press it on instead of doing the side to side motion)

    Is the powder…bad for eyes after a while? Cos it stung when I rinsed it out after..

    • 10

      Hi Danni, try using hypoallergenic make-up like Almay or Physicians Formula. I have tried the gel liners for tightlining, but still prefer powders because I can control it a little better. I find the gel liners tend to run a bit more as well. Definitely experiment though, you’ll find something that works for you!

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