top photos: getty images/tutorial photos + post by amy nadine/graphic design by eunice chun

Your boyfriend says he likes you better without makeup… you’re meeting your friends to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity… you’re headed to a study group with class mates… all occasions when you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard! But the problem is you’re not used to seeing yourself without a lot of makeup on and somehow you’ve forgotten that you’re pretty without it. Don’t fret! I get it. I swear my eyes look beady and washed out without eyeliner. But I love the look of just mascara, especially when I want to look effortless, have all the attention go to my lashes or paired with a bright lip. So this is where tightlining comes in. It’s the sister technique to rimming your bottom waterline, but this time you are pressing a gel liner into your upper lashline from directly below it for the ultimate definition, like I had the pleasure of doing on each of the red carpet looks above for Emmy Rossum, Kate Bosworth, Mia Wasikowska and Brittany Snow. It’s particularly great when you don’t want to lose any of your upper lid surface area, but still want to frame your eyes. Here’s how:



  1. Dip the edge of the brush into the gel pot to load it up on both sides.
  2. Reach your opposite hand around, up and over your head to gently lift your upper lid upwards. Then with your other hand, start at the outer corner of the upper waterline and press the brush right up into the roots of the lashes.
  3. Continue stamping it across the lash line until you’ve reached the inner corner.
  4. Add a coat of mascara and you’re good to go.