5 Best Drugstore Eyeliners for Tightlining

    Originally posted October 7, 2015. Updated May 2019.

    Tightlining changed my life. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but it has dramatically stepped up my eye makeup game for sure.

    If you’re not in the loop, the art of tightlining consists of applying eyeliner to your upper waterline, which is the part of your eyelid underneath your eyelashes. While it may seem like such a minimal step, it can actually give your eyes a more professional and pulled together look.

    Tightlining can give your eye makeup a much more professional and pulled together look. Click through for my top tips on how to tightline and the 5 best drugstore eyeliners for the job! | Slashed Beauty

    Tightlining gets rid of the space between your lashes and the whites of your eyes. This ends up making your lashes look much fuller, and your eyeliner look more precisely applied. In the photos above, literally the only difference between the two pictures is that I had tightlined in the bottom version. See how it makes my makeup look more complete?

    The easiest way to tightline is to lightly lift your lid by pushing up with your finger, and gliding liner under the lashes. You can of course also apply eyeliner to your bottom waterline, although doing both the top and bottom can actually make your eyes look smaller.

    The real trick to tightlining is finding the right eyeliner to get the job done. You want a formula that will glide on super easily without having to layer for good pigmentation, so you don’t irritate your eyes. Waterproof is also something you ideally want to look out for, since it will last the longest.

    Five of the best drugstore eyeliners for tightlining that I’ve found are:

    5 Best Drugstore Eyeliners for Tightlining | Slashed Beauty

    1. CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner
    This formula is on the stiffer side, but still does not take much pressure to build up on the waterline. I like the twist-up tip so you don’t have to worry about sharpening. The tip is also on the smaller side, so it’s perfect for getting right under your lashes without worrying about poking your eye. It’s not waterproof, though it lasts throughout the day. This is also one of my favorites for the upper lash line to smoke out due to the built-in smudging tip.

    2. Milani Supreme Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
    This is a good in-between formula, not stiff but not too soft either. While the formula isn’t waterproof, it definitely lasts. I love the rich black shade that applies opaque, and the twist-up tip is convenient.

    3. NYX Professional Makeup Slide On Eye Pencil
    NYX makes some of my favorite eyeliners, and this is no exception. This is a waterproof formula that won’t smear or smudge throughout the day– perfect for both the upper and lower waterline. The formula is very creamy, but it’ll stay in place once it’s set.

    4. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil
    Here’s another smudge-proof, waterproof formula that is one of my go-tos for tightlining! This formula is pretty soft so it glides on easily without any tugging. It takes a little while to set though, so try not to blink too hard right after application or it might transfer.

    5. L’Oreal Infallible Longwear Eye Pencil
    This one’s my current favorite. It’s waterproof with a creamy formula that goes on dark and opaque in one swipe, perfect for ticklish eyes, since you don’t have to layer. I will admit this one can be a bit hard to remove since it’s so long-lasting, but it’s great for all day looks– up to 24 hour wear!

    All of these have a really easy formula that doesn’t take a lot of pressure to apply. Each one has been able to last all day on me, which is hard because my eyes are known to be watery! Aside from tightlining, these also work well on the actual lash lines, whether you like a more precise line or you want a smoky eye look, so you won’t have to switch between too many products just to finish your eyes. I’m all about that multi-tasking life, so this point is really important for me.

    You definitely don’t have to stick to black when tightlining; using different colors can be a cool way to make a look more exciting, as well. Most of the pencils mentioned above have color options to spice up your look. You can also use nude eyeliner, or a dramatic white, to make your eyes look bigger.

    If you try out tightlining, let me know how it went in the comments below!



    1. ive never tightlined but have always wondered how you remove it or do you just let it wear away? i have sensitive eyes so using remover seems like it would bother my eyes.

      • Normal makeup remover wipes usually break down the product for me! I just wipe them over my eyes like normal and it does the trick. I also have sensitive eyes!

        • Thank you so much for responding. I often wondered how it gets removed since your eyes are typically closed when removing other eye products and how it would get between your eyelids. I guess that’s why I never tried tightlining but i love the look of it!

      • I’m 62 as well and my mom showed me how to do this at 16. She had been doing it for years. It ‘s not such a new thing. Only thing new is different formula liners

    2. Really nice job and great your article post i like your article nice information i never apply eye liner properly but i follow your eyeliner tutorial i apply proper thanks for sharing.

    3. I have been trying to get this down. Since I learnt not to flinch, blink excessively and hold still while doing my eye makeup, it really helped. I now use the ELF pushup eyeliner brush and that works pretty well since the sharp tip of pencils scare me. For the waterproof problem, Linda Halberg suggested waterproof mascara but it kinda irritates my eye. The gold looks fab on you 🙂 -Sadaf

    4. I cannot, for the life of me, gun to my head, tightline. Not only do I look like a complete idiot when doing it, I ALWAYS manage to stab myself in the eye. The 2 times I didn’t blind myself, it was a hot mess. You could still see my skin and as soon as I blinked a couple times, the eyeliner went all over my bottom water line.

      • Don’t worry, Isa, it took me FOREVER to finally get it down and I swear I still look like a crazy person when I do it 😛 One way that I like to do it if my eye is feeling super twitchy is by angling the pencil up under my lashes, basically closing my eye and then running the pencil back and forth. Give it a try!


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