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5 Best Drugstore Eyeliners for Tightlining

posted in: Makeup
November 15, 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.

5 Best Drugstore Eyeliners for Tightlining | What is tightlining eyeliner? | How to tightline eyes | 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 gently pushing upwards with your finger, and gliding the liner under your lashes. You can also tightline 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 easily without tugging or having to layer for good pigmentation, so you don’t irritate your eyes. A waterproof pencil is also something you ideally want to look out for, since it will last the longest, but not a requirement if your eyes aren’t typically watery.

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 ($6.99)
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 ($6.99)
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 ($8)
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 ($3.99)
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 ($8.99)
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 soft 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 lash lines and lid, 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!


14 Responses

  1. Julie
    | Reply

    Where did you get that Pink Eyelid lifter? I need that in my life!!

  2. Betty Chow
    | Reply

    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.

    • Miranda
      | Reply

      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!

      • Betty
        | Reply

        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!

  3. Jennifer Justus-Conley
    | Reply

    If your eyes are watery, is it best to use a waterproof eyeliner? Will this stay on better?

    • Miranda
      | Reply

      Yes! Less likely to run if your eyes start tearing up.

  4. Karla Davis
    | Reply

    Im 62 and have been doing this since I was about 17.

    • Silverfox
      | Reply

      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

  5. Stacy
    | Reply

    Miranda, thank you for these suggestions! I went and got the Milani Khol Kajal Liner and I LOVE IT. This was my first time tightlining so I was nervous. Goes on really smoothly!


  6. Sonia Bray
    | Reply

    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.

  7. Pout Painters
    | Reply

    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

    • Yeah I never got into the idea of pushing a glob of mascara into my eye LOL. I definitely agree that duller tips seem to be the safest route, but still long enough that you’re not scratching at your lid with the wood or plastic!

  8. Isa
    | Reply

    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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