The Definition is This: Upper and Lower Tightlining to Suit Every Taste

Tightlining isn't a new liner technique. But it sure seemed newly popular at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards. Six looks from intense to kinda subtle, plus seven liners to try.
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Tightlining isn't a new liner technique. But it sure seemed newly popular at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards. Six looks from intense to kinda subtle, plus seven liners to try.
Celebrity tightlining and lining

Celebrity tightlining and lining

How many ways can we tightline our eyes? At the 2013 MTV Movie Awards last night, let us count the ways, from intense to almost delicate.

Kerry Washington: tightlining and lining

Kerry Washington: tightlining and lining

I'm a huge fan of tightlining, which is basically lining the inner rims of the eyes without smudging the line. I always line the inner rim of my upper lid just under the base of the lashes. The technique has been around for years; it's the best trick for making the lashes look instantly thicker. It also makes eyes look more defined than they do when that strip of flesh is left bare (see the difference on Michelle Yeoh here). On Kerry Washington, her upper-lid tightlining is a finishing touch for the smudgy liner along her upper lashes; the generous tightlining along her lower lids balances the drama nicely.

Alexandra Daddario: tightlining and lining

Alexandra Daddario: tightlining and lining

Against her icy blue eyes and pale skin, Alexandra Daddario’s liner looks more edgy, tightlined along her upper and lower lids, and very slightly smudged along her lower lashlines.

Selena Gomez: tightlining and lining

Selena Gomez: tightlining and lining

Selena Gomez is wearing my favourite red-carpet look of the evening. Exotic, right? The tightlining along her lower inner rim has the inky precision I usually associate with gel liner. Tip: See how Selena's winged liner extends the shape of her eyes? That extension prevents the lower-lid liner from making her eyes look small.

Brittany Snow: tightlining and lining

Brittany Snow: tightlining and lining

Brittany Snow’s makeup shows the tightlining technique off clearly against a softly smoky eyes. I love this -- it's a close second for my favourite of the night.

Zoe Saldana: tightlining and lining

Zoe Saldana: tightlining and lining

Zoe Saldana seems fond of winged liner (finished with upper-lid tightlining) paired with cleanly tightlined lower lashlines. She wears this look a lot.

Holland Roden: tightlining and lining

Holland Roden: tightlining and lining

Holland Roden’s is the most subtle example of lower-lash tightlining. It could be grey instead of black, or simply a transference of the tightlining that finishes the winged liner along her upper lids. Tip: line the upper inner rim of one eye, then squeeze eyes shut before the liner has time to set. Repeat on the other.

seven waterproof liners appropriate for tightlining

The hardest thing about tightlining is finding liner that stays put. And of course, what works for one person may not work for another. At least one of the following list should work for most people, even some who wear contacts.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner, $29 CAd, sephora.ca.

MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved, $19 CAd, maccosmetics.com

Maybelline EyeStudio MasterDrama Cream Pencil in Midnight Master, $8.07 CAd, well.ca

L'Oreal Paris Extra-Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner in Carbon Black, $11.09 CAd, well.ca

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner Liquid Liner, $28 CAd, sephora.ca.

Clinique Pretty Easy Eyelining Pen, $24 CAd, sephora.ca.

Clinique Skinny Stick, $21 CAd, sephora.ca.

Do you have a favourite out of the above red-carpet looks? And a go-to stay-put pencil you love best for tightlining?

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Images borrowed from justjared.com and justjaredjr.com.