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Question: How many times have you ever-so-delicately applied eyeliner only to step back and realize those skinny rims have somehow managed to make your eyes look smaller?

We feel you.

Now, what if we told you that you could create the illusion of big, open eyes and thicker, fuller eyelashes just by shifting those very same lines by a few millimeters? Beauties: Let us introduce you to tightlining and waterlining, two must-do eyeliner techniques of the season.

Tightlining is the act of filling in all those little gaps in between the roots of your eyelashes—rather than above or below—with eyeliner. Makeup artists also refer to it as invisible eyeliner as it’s hidden from plain sight, giving the impression of a natural liner look and super thick lashes, even before applying mascara. The trick is especially handy if you have small or hooded eyes which can look a bit OTT with heavy liner, or if you need a quick way of intensifying your existing eye makeup to better define your eyes.

So how do you do it? We’ve broken it all down, step-by step.

  1. First, you need to find your preferred eyeliner. If you don’t want your line to disappear in the blink of an eye, opt for a waterproof formula like Lise Water Intense Waterproof eyeliner in Blackest Black.
  1. Next, hold your liner and, with your other hand, gently lift your top lid by pressing one finger on the outer corner so that you have better access to the inner lash line. Bury the tip of the pencil deep into your lashes at the outer corner of your eye, wiggling it back and forth as you move to darken the roots. 
  1. Then, move on to your bottom lashes by holding the pencil just below your inner rim—but not at the waterline—and lightly dash the pencil into all the spaces between your lashes until you’ve created a robust lash line free of bald spots.

When it comes to waterlining, you’re using eyeliner on the inner rims so that you’re covering the skin that is closest to your eye. Admittedly, this can be a daunting technique to master, but when done well, this technique draws attention to your eyes, making them look bright, dramatic and sexy.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Gently pull down your lower lash line and, with the same waterproof liner, apply small strokes directly to the pink, watery part of your eyelid that touches the inside of your eye (also known as your waterline).
  • Line your top waterline by lifting the outer corner of your eye and tracing the liner back and forth under your lashes. Go over it a few times, stopping before you reach the inner corners. 
  • Finish with a swipe of liquid liner like Lancôme Grandiôse Liner to accentuate your bottom lashes. Then brush on some mascara (we like Smashbox X-Rated Mascara), top and bottom.
The real beauty of both of these techniques is that you can keep building on them until you’re happy or combine them for a sultry, smoky eye look that is perfect for a night out.