Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tightlining 101

The other day I posted this picture on Instagram and Twitter, telling you guys that after years of being grossed out by tightlining, I have come around and am now obsessed with it.  Enough of you were interested that I thought I would do a post about this technique.  

Note that this is a 101 course on tightlining, as that is the only level of makeup application I am qualified to discuss (I can, however, do a 600 level course on makeup PURCHASING).  I will link to some informative videos for those of you who want to learn more about tightlining.  This post here is more for the people who are wondering what the heck tightlining even is.  

What exactly IS tightlining?

So let's get into some terminology.  Everyone uses the word a bit differently.  I use it to mean BOTH lining my waterline and getting eyeliner into the little spaces between your lashes, since I do it all at the same time in one quick step.  Some people only mean filling in those little spaces.  Some people only mean lining the waterline.  Some people don't use it as a gerund and instead call the upper waterline the "tightline", which really drives me batty.  

I was really trying to avoid defining the waterline because then I have to say "rim" (ew ew ew), but Elizabeth asked.  So yes.  The waterline is the rim of your eye, the pinkish part above your bottom lashes / below your top lashes that comes in direct contact with your eyeball.  The thing with the tear holes in it.  (omg, between rim and tear holes I can't even.)

For those of you that are still a bit confused, I took some screenshots of Sarah Hawkinson in the act of tightlining because I would probably lose an eye if I tried to photograph myself doing it.  Safety first.  

How I tightline

Like any other makeup technique, you should figure out what works best for you.  I have only mastered the ability to tightline with pencil liners, so that is what I am going to show you here.  

First, I take the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Pencil in Zero or Perversion and line my upper waterline, going back and forth multiple times so it fills in all of the spaces in between my lashes in addition to the waterline itself.  Oddly, I can do this without pulling on my eyelid on my left eye, but have do what Sarah's doing in the pic above for my right.  

In the pic below, I have tightlined the eye on your right.  See how it makes my eyelashes look way fuller in a totally natural, I'm not wearing any makeup way?  As Kelly said, it really is just so subtle and perfect.  

Why so serious?
After the top waterline is done, it's decision time.  You can leave it like this and go for a super natural, subtle look.  Or you can go for the bottom line too.  Do you want a colored pencil for a pop of color?  A nude to cancel out redness?  This is a great option for rosacea - I use Rimmel ScandalEYES in nude.  A white or a brightening pencil to make your eyes pop?  I personally think white is too stark but love benefit's eye bright for that effect.  Note that if you use black, it will narrow your eyes, but lighter colors will widen them.  Either one should make your whites look way whiter though.  

I like the bold look of having black all the way around, so that's what I did today.  My eyes tend to water when I do the bottom waterline, so I really have to just work quickly when I'm in there, then take as long of a break as I need for my eyes to dry up before I go back in. I sometimes wipe off the pencil if it looks too wet, otherwise it will cause little goopies in the lashline.  If that happens, I just make sure that whatever mascara I use has the plastic bristles (like tarte's Lights, Camera, Flashes or Maybelline Clump Crusher).  

Once I'm done tightlining, I generally like to finish it off with a little extra eyeliner on top.  Bold, slutty eyes are my favorite, I can't help it.  I use the eyeko skinny liquid eyeliner since eyeliner pens are the hardest for me to screw up (I plan to graduate to gel eyeliner in the near future though).  Since I have eyes that are starting to mature (sag), I have a bit of skin that is puffed out on each eye starting at about the middle of the eyelid.  I line that all the way to the end and do the tiniest baby wing just to give it fullness and make sure the top and bottom lines are connected.  I am moving away from doing bigger wings as I get older and my skin is less taut.  Sad but true.

In the pic below, the eyeko is on the eye on your right.  

Here is a close up of the final look:

And a less cross eyed, more "real estate agent head shot"-y version:

You may notice that I did not go all the way up to / around my tear duct and in fact left quite a bit of space on the inner corner of my eye.  That is a personal preference thing - I like to either apply the Chella highlighter pencil from the June Ipsy bag, benefit's eye bright, or an eyeshadow in a light shimmery color like UD's Virgin or Sin.  I went with the Chella today because I just wanted to kind of clean up the area and it's the most skin toned option.  

How other (more skilled) people tightline (and stuff)

There are seriously endless options with this technique.  I've shown you my favorites, but here are some videos I thought were very helpful.  

This is the Sarah Hawkinson Get Ready With Me video I pictured above, where she uses a pencil.

This is a TiffanyD video all about tightlining.  She uses a Laura Mercier cake shadow and a gel liner.  I now want the Laura Mercier product.  

This is a start to finish eye look featuring winged eyeliner by TiffanyD.  She doesn't tightline but this is similar to what I do with my eyeko pen (just more wing-y).    

This is a really good gel eyeliner video by Jaclyn Hill in which she doesn't tightline but I think you should all watch it anyway.

So, what do you guys think?  Have you already been doing this for years?  Or does the thought of jabbing a pencil that close to your eye totally squick you out?  I can assure you I was in the squicked out camp for years and it only took like two practice runs before I was a convert for life.  No joke, I was in work for less than an hour today before someone was like "Did you do something different with your eyeliner?  Your eyes really pop!"


Maria Melee said...

Tightlining changed my entire makeup life.

Jessica said...

I like to fill in the spaces between my lashes every day, but my eyes still freak out when I go for the waterline. Perhaps I'm not very skilled:)

Karen Box said...

Never knew there was a word for that. Learn something everyday. Thanks!