‘Tightlining’ - sounds more like something you’d find in a circus line-up rather than on a beauty website, right? However, this easy yet effective eyeliner tip is one optical illusion that plays a trick on the eyes in more ways than one when it comes to feigning a more voluminous lash line.
So what exactly is it? “It means bringing the eyeliner right into the lash line of the top lashes to create an illusion of dense dark lash roots,” says makeup artist Kenneth Soh . “You can also do it on the lower lashes and in the waterline of the eye too. If done properly, it enhances your eyes and creates a fuller, wider eye look.”
A technique that has been used behind-the-scenes for years, it’s a must for anyone looking to perfect the art of natural makeup. “It’s a really effective and quick way of getting definition round the eyes without making you look like you've got makeup on,” says Kenneth. “We used to call this the ‘Invisible Liner’ a few years ago when I was doing shows. It’s perfect for creating that wide eyed natural look we are all after!”
Here are Kenneth’s top makeup tips for how to tread the tightline tightrope trend like a pro.
How to tightline
Step 1: First up, ensure you find the perfect tool. “Choose a black waterproof, flake-proof pencil. I like a twisty mechanical pencil with a fine nib," says Kenneth. If you're using a regular pencil eyeliner though, "Sharpen the nib to create a hygienic, clean and precise tip,” he advises.
In terms of texture, avoid oilier-based pencils. “Don't use a liner that's soft and smudgy, it'll just get messy and end up looking smokey,” cautions Kenneth. As an alternative though, felt tip eye pens also make for a pigmented, precision-friendly pick for getting your tightline on point. “Especially sharp-tipped ones,” Kenneth recommends.
Step 2: “Bring the nib right in between each lash at the roots and wiggle it to dot and deposit a dense line as close to the eye as possible,” says Kenneth. “You should aim for a neat clean line that shouldn't look like eyeliner but more like dense dark lashes. So don't go crazy and end up with a flicked thick liner.”
Step 3: This technique’s distinguishing feature is the detail paid to underneath the upper lashes in order to create a seamless finish. “I bring the pencil under the lashes to that little crescent of flesh under the lash before the actual eyeball,” says Kenneth. “I find that if you don't line that, it defeats the purpose of lining and will actually make your eye look smaller. So run the pencil under the lash line too. Don't rush though and don’t do this while on the move, for obvious safety reasons...”
Step 4: Minimise distractions by cleaning up your handiwork afterwards - the focal point should be all about the ‘invisible line’ in this instance. “Using a fine tip cotton bud dipped in an oil free cleanser like a micellar, run the bud over the skin of the lid above the lashes to clean up any smudges and to keep the liner ‘tight’ and only in the lash line,” advises Kenneth. “Try using MUJI Thin Cotton Buds , £2.50, and Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution , £10.50, for tidying up smudges.”