Like many, I’ve taken to doing the bare minimum for Zoom meetings, from dressing appropriately only from the neck up to wearing just enough makeup that I don’t obsess over my dark circles or ruddy complexion. (Just kidding! I still do that anyway.) Beyond my go-to complexion enhancers—a sheer veil of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and swirl of Glossier Cloud Paint in soft pinky peach Beam—the only additional step I take is a quick smudge of eyeliner, my one true desert island product.
In the past, lining my eyes typically consisted of thick rimmings of kohl pencil on the waterlines, but in lockdown that reads a bit more severe on my Zoom thumbnail than I’d like. However, because I feel naked without eyeliner, instead of skipping it altogether, I shifted to a lighter-handed—and decidedly more inconspicuous—approach: tightlining. The makeup artist–favored eyeliner trick, also known as the invisible eyeliner technique, consists of lining the upper waterline—really getting in between each and every lash and filling in the gaps at the base—to make your lashes appear thicker and fuller at the roots. It’s almost as if you’re creating the illusion of eyeliner à la The Morning Show’s Nestor Carbonell (IYKYK).
“It’s a subtle technique that adds lift without adding a lot of product,” explains New York–based makeup artist Romy Soleimani, who uses the eyeliner trick on clients Tracee Ellis Ross, Natalie Portman, and Cara Delevingne. “It’s never too heavy or cosmetic, and it really elongates and open the eye to bring more drama.”
In terms of choosing an eyeliner shade, it depends on how soft or intense you want to go. If you want a softer effect, choose a cool-toned brown or taupe. “I like grayish browns, because the finish looks like a shadow,” says Soleimani, who likes to create a faint wing with a small liner brush for a “soft and muted” flick effect. To achieve maximum definition, go for a dark brown or black in an eye pencil or liquid liner. “At this time I love it for Zoom, because it lends definition to the eyes so they look more impactful,” she adds. What’s more: If you want to add to the drama, or transition your liner from day to night, tightlining is a great way to start a cat-eye or kitten flick.
While I love eyeliner in all its forms, recalibrating my routine for Zoom has truly revealed the fruits of deft tightlining, from achieving that ever-elusive no-makeup makeup look to setting the stage for a dramatic, smoldering finish. All to say, the time is now to sharpen your tightlining skills.