15 Best Eyeliners For Tightlining Your Waterline (2024), Expert-Approved

Get that natural doe-eyed look with clinically-tested and waterproof eyeliners.

Reviewed by Kerrin Jackson, Makeup Artist Kerrin Jackson Kerrin JacksonMakeup Artist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijani Roy Chowdhury MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (English & Literature), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijita De MA (English & Literature), Certified Style & Image Consultant Experience: 2 years
Fact-checked by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 3 years
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All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process.

If you are wondering how to get that most-desired doe-eyed look without using eye makeup and fake eyelashes, then you are in the right place. With the best timeless beauty eyeliner for tightlining, you can stop wondering already. Tightlining is a simple technique to make your eyes pop out. Tightlining is the art of applying the eyeliner close to the upper waterline and roots of the eyelashes to fill the gaps between the lashes. This creates an illusion of thicker, fuller, and more defined lashes and gives you a wide-eyed look with exceptional results.

It is a simple hack and deserves to be included in your eye makeup technique and routine, especially for the no-makeup days. First, however, you need to choose the right type of eyeliner to get the desired effect. In this article, we have made a list of the 15 most effective eyeliners for tightlining. Take a look.

Top Picks
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Best For Sensitive Eyes:L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner – Blackest Black
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Best Waterproof Formula:Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner – Stingray
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Best Pigmentation:Lune+Aster Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner
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Best Free Of Harsh Chemicals:Vasanti Kajal Waterline – Intense Black
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Best Quick Drying Eyeliner:Skone Insanely Intense Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner
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Best Long Staying Power:It Tightline Full Lash Length Black Primer Eyeliner
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Best Resistant To Fading:Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner – Black Ebony
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Best Blendable:Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil-Smoke
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Best Creamy Texture:Mally Beauty Eyeliner – Milk Chocolate
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Best Sweat-Proof:Clio Sharp, So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner - Black
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15 Best Tightlining Eyeliners That Will Make Your Eyes Pop

1. Best For Sensitive Eyes:L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner – Blackest Black

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4.5
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner – Blackest Black Image: L'oreal Paris

This blackest of black eyeliner comes with a gel eyeliner brush that makes it easy for you to create clean, intense, and precise lines smoothly. This expertly crafted waterline liner has a gel formula and is also celebrity-endorsed. It also gives a high-shine lacquered finish and is dedicated to your service for 24 hours after application. It is tested ophthalmologically and therefore suitable for users who wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes. Additionally, the fade-free formula of this eyeliner secures its place as one of the best tightline eyeliner of this year. In this YouTube video, you will find a detailed review of this product along with the reviewer’s experience.

Color: Blackest Black | Product Dimensions: 1.87 x 0.97 x 7.04 inches | Weight: 1.52 Ounces

Pros

  • Stays long
  • Smudge-free
  • Glossy finish
  • Smooth Application
  • Comes in 5 shades
  • Can be used on the waterline without irritation
  • Ophthalmologically tested

Cons

  • Transferable if eyes are rubbed
  • Removal can be difficult
  • May dry out if the lid is not closed properly

protip_icon Quick Tip
If you find your hand shaking too much while using the liner, try clenching your toes and lower body to steady yourself. To gain more stability, you can prop your elbows up on flat surface.

Product Link:
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product is so liked by shoppers that it has gained over 1,308 great reviews on Amazon.

2. Best Waterproof Formula:Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner – Stingray

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4.3
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner Image: Stilacosmetics

The formula of this smudge-proof eyeliner is a mélange of moisturizing components including Vitamin E and therefore gives you a smooth glide while applying. Though we aim to find the best tightline eyeliner, this retractable eyeliner can multitask as a classic pencil liner and a smudgy eye shadow. Stila Smudge Sticks not only come in a variety of shades, but they also come in a variant of hues such as pop, shimmer, and matte. In addition to being moisturizing, the formula is waterproof and transfer-proof, hence less likely to fade on wear. Check out this video on YouTube for a detailed understanding of the product.

Color: Stingray | Product Dimensions: 4 x 5 x 6 inches | Weight: 0.32 Ounces

Pros

  • Color-rich
  • Easy-to-apply
  • Waterproof
  • Smudge-free
  • Variety of colors and textures

Cons

  • Hard to remove
  • Runs easily
  • Resistant to waterline

protip_icon Quick Tip
Use a magnifying mirror and position it below your eye level to improve your vision and fine-tune the wingtip.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 582 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

3. Best Pigmentation: Lune+Aster Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner

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4.1
Lune+Aster Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner Image: Lune Aster

The Lune+Aster Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner is a long-lasting eyeliner that can be the perfect addition to your makeup collection for creating defined and precise eye looks. This long-wearing eyeliner is smudge-proof and waterproof, ensuring that your eye makeup stays in place all day. The smooth, soft, and creamy gel formula glides on effortlessly and with precision, enhancing your eyes. Whether you’re looking to create a subtle everyday look or a dramatic winged liner, this eyeliner has got you covered.

Color: Navy

Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Waterproof
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free

Cons

  • None
L'Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner - Blackest Black
Best For Sensitive Eyes
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner - Stingray
Best Waterproof Formula
Lune+Aster Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner
Best Pigmentation
Color Blackest Black Stingray Navy
Dimensions 1.87 x 0.97 x 7.04 inches 4 x 5 x 6 inches -
Weight 1.52 Ounces 0.32 Ounces-
Rating
Reviews1,308582-
Price$9.99$22$22

4. Best Free Of Harsh Chemicals:Vasanti Kajal Waterline – Intense Black

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4.1
VASANTI Kajal Waterline Eyeliner Pencil - Long-lasting, Waterproof, Smudge-proof, Safe for Sensitive Eyes, Waterline Eye Liner - Opthalmologist Approved and Tested (Intense Black) Image: Vasanti Cosmetics

This eyeliner for waterline has a creamy formula, and therefore, smoothly glides on the surface. The kajal has a velvety matte finish and lasts long despite being applied to the watery rims of the eye. Free of harsh chemicals, this dermatologist-tested kajal waterline eyeliner is safe for sensitive eyes in addition to being one of the cheapest eyeliners. To get that dark color in one precise stroke, you can try out Vasanti Kajal Waterline eyeliner.

Color: Intense Black | Product Dimensions: 0.75 x 5.2 x 0.59 inches | Weight: 0.32 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Dermatologically tested

Cons

  • Might not stay for long durations
  • Might be blotchy after application
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has received 3,161 positive Amazon reviews from its users, stating its numerous benefits.

5. Best Quick Drying Eyeliner:Skone Insanely Intense Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner – Jet Black

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4.4

As the name suggests, this eyeliner stays all day tattooed to the applied area and therefore works wonders for oily eyelids. In addition to being waterproof and smudge-proof, this eyeliner dries fast after applying. Its liquid-felt tip brush gives tight and crisp strokes, making precise and effortless application on the waterline. The Skone’s richly pigmented formula gives an intense color payoff when applied.

Color: Jet Black | Product Dimensions: 0.21 x 0.01 x 0.01 inches | Weight: 0.07 Ounces

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Smudge-resistant
  • Easy-to-apply
  • Stays long
  • Rich color
  • Cruelty-free
  • Dries fast after application

Cons

  • Prone to smear
  • It can give bumpy lines due to the irregular flow of liquid to the eyeliner brush tip.

6. Best Long Staying Power:It Tightline Full Lash Length Black Primer With Peptide Enhancing Serum

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4.4
It Tightline Full Lash Length Black Primer With Peptide Enhancing Serum Image: It Cosmetics

Get most of your eye make-up needs sorted with this one black liner. In addition to being an eyeliner, the It Tightline also functions as a lash primer and mascara. Furthermore, the ultra-conditioning formula of this product contains proteins, biotin, collagen, olive, jojoba, and avocado oil that nourishes and enhances the lashes naturally. This waterproof liner formula ensures that the eyeliner stays on even after 12 hours of party time.

Color: Jet Black | Product Dimensions: 0.21 x 0.01 x 0.01 inches | Weight: 0.07 Ounces

Pros

  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • Lash enhancing formula
  • Long staying
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Might uncurl your lashes
  • Might be flaky after application

7. Best Resistant To Fading:Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner – Black Ebony

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4.4
Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Powder Eyeliner – Black Ebony Image: Laura Mercier

This cake eyeliner glides smoothly across your lash line and stays on for as long as you need to stay out. For tightlining, this dermatologist-tested powder formula works better than other eyeliners in terms of water-resistance. There is no smudging, flaking, or smearing with this tightline eyeliner, making it one of the best eyeliner for the waterline. If you want to know more about this product, check out this video on YouTube. for a detailed review and a reviewer’s experience with the product.

Color: Black Ebony | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.9 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 0.04 Ounces

Pros

  • Long-staying
  • Intense colors
  • Resistant to fading
  • Easy-to-use
  • Dermatologically tested

Cons

  • Can be uneven during application

8. Best Blendable: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil-Smoke

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4.2
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil-Smoke Image: Urban Decay

The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliner Pencil is a must-have for any beauty lover. With 5 unique finishes, including matte, shimmer, glitter, satin, and metallic, you will surely find the perfect look for any occasion. The ultra-creamy and blendable formula glides effortlessly onto your lids, providing vibrant color that does not smudge or wear off for up to 16 hours. It is highly effective in tightlining your waterline and gives your eyes a defined look. It is infused with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cottonseed oil that help hydrate your lids. Additionally, this liner is cruelty-free.

Color: Smoke (deep gray - matte finish) | Product Dimensions: 6.02 x 0.55 x 0.55 inches | Weight: 0.04 Ounces

Pros

  • Smudge-proof
  • Waterproof
  • Ultra-creamy formula
  • Easy to apply
  • Variety of shades
  • Cruelty-Free

Cons

  • None
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has received 890 reviews from customers on Amazon, indicating its popularity and reliability.

9. Best Creamy Texture:Mally Beauty Eyeliner – Milk Chocolate

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4.3
Mally Beauty Eyeliner – Milk Chocolate Image: Mally Beauty

Tired of the same old black for tight lining your lashes? Don’t worry, Mally Beauty Eyeliner brings you a range of shades to choose from. Specifically, the Milk Chocolate color that gives you a nude look to your eyelashes. When you tightline with a color like that, your eyes seem defined and bigger but without the visible traces of an eyeliner. Additionally, this eyeliner is waterproof and smudge-proof, giving the wearer ample time to party with that smooth texture and no-makeup look.

Color: Milk Chocolate | Product Dimensions: 0.92 x 0.92 x 5.28 inches | Weight: 0.19 Ounces.

Pros

  • Creamy texture
  • Waterproof
  • Blends well
  • Comes in a variety of colors

Cons

  • Prone to smear
  • Washes off easily

10. Best Sweat-Proof:Clio Sharp, So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner – Black

No products found.

Define your eyelashes flawlessly with this creamy smooth pencil liner. The liner is of high pigment quality in addition to having a self-sharpening tip that makes it very easy to apply on the waterline. The waterproof, sweat-proof, and smudge-proof features further promotes the perspective of using this liner as tightline eyeliner.

Color: 01 Black | Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 4 inches | Weight: 0.64 Ounces

Pros

  • Long-staying
  • Waterproof
  • Smudge-proof
  • Available in other colors

Cons

  • Might be crumbly
  • May irritate if your eyes are sensitive

11. Best Tear-Proof:Mireneese – Black

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4
Mirenesse Lash Whip Mascara - Black Image: Mirenesseusa

A multitasking eyeliner, this product is perfect to achieve that fuller and thicker lashes look. In addition to being amazing to tight line eyes, this product works as a lash primer and mascara. The unique brush of this liner reaches even the shorter lashes, making sure that they are coated from root to tip. Proper application of it not only defines your lashes but also lifts and extends them. What makes it a prime candidate in the category of best eyeliner for tightlining you ask? Its amazing quality of being both tear and smudge-proof.

Color: Black

Pros

  • Promotes natural lash growth
  • Cruelty-free
  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • Tear-proof

Cons

  • Can be clumpy
  • Strong smell
  • Pointed applicator might hurt your eyes if you are not careful while applying.

12. Best For Waterproof: JOAH Make Her Gel-ous Gel Eyeliner

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4

The Joah Make Her Gel-ous Gel Eyeliner has a high-quality, long-wearing formula that delivers intense and bold color in a single stroke. This eyeliner is perfect for creating a dramatic and defined look, and it glides on effortlessly. Its self-sharpening pencil ensures a precise and smooth application, making it a convenient and hassle-free product for any makeup routine. It comes in a range of versatile and complementary shades, allowing you to find the perfect shade to match your eye color or to create a dramatic look.

Color: Espresso

Pros

  • Comes with a built-in sharpener
  • Wide color range
  • Smooth application
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Not for drawing fine lines

13. Best Smear-Free Eyeliner:NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner – Black

This highly pigmented eyeliner is perfect for achieving that dramatic, intense look you desire. The formula is long-lasting and is easy to apply with one smooth glide. In addition to Black, NARS Eyeliner comes in a variety of colors with the claim that it does not cake or smear after application.

Color: Noir: satin black | Product Dimensions: 0.95 x 1.06 x 4.85 inches | Weight: 0.5 Ounces

Pros

  • Stays for 12 hours
  • Rich color
  • Smear-free

Cons

  • Tends to smudge
  • Soft tips tend to break while sharpening.

14. Best Flawless Silky Finish:NYX Always Keepin’ It Tight Eyeliner – Black

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4.1

This slim, retractable eyeliner gives the flawless silky finish to your desired natural look. Made with waterline in mind, this eyeliner is qualified for the serious job of tightlining. NYX Always Keepin’ It Tight Eyeliner is quite a candidate when it comes to securing the look of long and thick lashes for you.

Color: Black | Product Dimensions: 0.79 x 1.06 x 5.66 inches | Weight: 0.14 Ounces

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • Smudge-free
  • Long-lasting
  • Comes in different colors

Cons

  • Not easy to apply
  • The tip tends to break off easily.

15. Best For Natural Look:Esqido Gel Eyeliner – Black

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3.8

This gel liner is perfect for you if you plan to rock a natural look throughout the day without any worries. This liner is rich in color. Its ultra-smooth application takes only one stroke to draw the clean tightline. It seamlessly blends with your fake lashes when applied to the inner eye, and the built-in sharpener ensures that the drawn line is on point.

Color: Black | Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.75 x 0.75 inches | Weight: 0.39 Ounces

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free
  • Easy to clean
  • Waterproof
  • Highly pigmented

Cons

  • Can bleed
  • Can be hard to apply
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Now that you have a list of the best eyeliners for tighlighting, here’s a buying guide to help you understand how to pick one.

A Buying Guide To Help You Choose the Best Tightline Eyeliner

What Is Tightlining Eyeliner?

Theoretically, any regular eyeliner can be used for tightlining. However, in practice, the eyeliner you use for your upper waterline should be skin-friendly, waterproof, and smudge-proof. The chosen tightline eyeliner should also be applied evenly and without any blotches. Tightlining can define your eye’s beauty, whilst creating the illusion that you are not wearing any eyeliner at all. In case of doubts, help yourself to the scores of tightline eyeliner tutorials available on the internet before trying it out at home.

What’s The Best Eyeliner For Tightlining?

Typically, there are 3 types of eyeliner that are commonly available: pencil eyeliner, liquid eyeliner, and gel eyeliner. All these categories have their own pros and cons. For instance, a tightlining eyeliner pencil can be resistant to make an even mark on your waterline, while the success rate of a liquid and gel eyeliner is dependent on the makings of the application brush. Tightlining with liquid liner can require more practice than gel or pencil eyeliner. Therefore, it is not enough to narrow down your perfect tightline eyeliner to the kind of eyeliner you are comfortable with. To choose the best eyeliner for tightlining you need to indulge in the minute details. To help you decide on the best tightline eyeliner for you, we present our review of the best 2021 eyeliners for tightlining.

How To Select The Right Tightline Eyeliner?

Though you may have always been a pencil liner girl, it is okay to step out of your comfort zone and try out other bases such as gel and liquid formulas. Explore the textures to find out what suits your requirements the best. Tightlining makeup constitutes putting a foreign substance in the inner lid of your eye, which is quite a sensitive area. Make sure that your chosen tightline eyeliner is safe for your skin. Not to forget the essentials, the selected eyeliner should be waterproof, smudge-proof and long-lasting so that you can flawlessly carry your natural look throughout the day without having to retouch your eye make-up every other hour.

How To Tightline?

Step 1: Curl your lashes and dry your upper lash line with a soft tissue. These easy steps make application easier.

Step 2: Choose your preferred tightline eyeliner— pencil, liquid, or gel. If you don’t have a favorite, decide according to the look you are going for.

Step 3: Lift your eyelids from the brow and apply the tightline eyeliner on the upper waterline. If you are having trouble drawing a straight line, put dots at the roots of your eyelashes, and join them with one single stroke.

Step 4: Set the look with some powder or nude eye-shadow to avoid it from smudging. If you see clumps, you have applied too much of it.

Kerrin Jackson, a 4-time Emmy-nominated film and television makeup artist, says, “Tightlining is a fun way to create a bolder look for your eyes. If you struggle with applying it, or you have a shaky hand, rest a powder puff on your face, underneath your hand when you apply the liner. This will help support your hand and also prevent making a mess as you go. While tightlining is an effective technique to create drama on your eyes, it is important to remember to clean your makeup off at the end of the day as makeup residue can get left behind in your eyes and it’s vital to remove it all to look after your eyes.”

Infographic: Tips For Precise And Long-Lasting Tightlining

The secret to achieving a precise and long-lasting tightline starts with finding a top-notch waterproof eyeliner formula. You also need to follow a few tips and techniques that will help you steady your game and master the art. Check out the infographic below to learn more.

Tips For Precise And Long-Lasting Tightlining (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

There are always days when we wake up too late to follow our regular makeup regime or are just in the lazy mood to keep it high. However, we don’t want those puffy eyes to be the reason for unwanted curiosity. Following the easy steps of tightlining on your eye will not only help you get rid of the puffy look but also define and enhance your lashes. It makes your eyes look bigger, giving you a natural doe-eyed appearance. Thanks to the right tightline eyeliner, you will have the appearance of longer and fuller lashes. For sensitive eyes, opt for the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Eyeliner – Blackest Black that delivers a smudge-free and glossy finish. Embrace the vegan choice with the Lune+Aster Dawn to Dusk Gel Eyeliner that is also long-lasting and waterproof. For quick drying convenience, choose the Skone Insanely Intense Tattooed Waterproof Eyeliner – Jet Black. The best eyeliners for tightlining your waterline will make your eyes appear more wide-eyed and well-defined. The reviewed products in the curated list are smudge-free, long-lasting, easy to apply, and do not cause any irritation. Some of them also have clinically tested formulas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use liquid eyeliner for tightlining?

Yes. Many liquid eyeliners are dermatologically tested and clinically proven to be safe for sensitive skin. You can pick a waterproof eyeliner for tightlining that dries fast for easy wear.

Is tightlining safe?

Too much of anything can have negative effects. Stick to moderation and pick out the days when you think tightlining is essential to your look.

Is this tightlining for everyone?

Tightlining is a make-up choice like any other. If you choose a no-makeup look, but you still want your eyes to look defined and bright you may opt for tightlining.

Is gel eyeliner good for tightlining?

Yes, gel eyeliners are highly pigmented and with the right brush, they can be used to tightline your eyes.

Does tightlining make eyes look bigger?

Yes, tightlining enhances the eyes and makes them look bigger.

How do you get eyeliner to stay on your waterline?

Start by using a cotton q-tip along your waterline to absorb excess moisture. Use a thin brush to rub some eyeshadow along the waterline and then use the gel eyeliner to tightline the eyes. This way it will stay on longer.

How do you tightline without smudging?

Use a waterproof, gel eyeliner to tightline the eyes without smudging. While applying it, curl your toes to prevent shaky hands; eventually your hands will become naturally steadier.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author Srijani Roy Chowdhury is a beauty and lifestyle enthusiast who loves experimenting with different kinds of makeup products. She believes in using the best eyeliner for tightlining your waterline to achieve the desired doe-eyed look. She has thoroughly researched these eyeliners and sifted through online reviews to help her readers pick the best ones. Tightlining fills the gaps between the lashes and creates an illusion of defined lashes even when flaunting a no-makeup look!


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Kerrin Jackson

Kerrin JacksonMakeup Artist

Kerrin is a 4-time Emmy-nominated film and television makeup artist. She has worked on TV shows, such as The Walking Dead, The Mandalorian, and Our Flag Means Death, and films, such as Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars - Attack of the Clones, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, The Hobbit Trilogy, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead...read full bio

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