If you Google "waterlining," as I have done, you’ll find overwhelming results for a kind of extreme sport known by this name, involving slightly slackened tightropes stretched high across large, placid bodies of water with a brave, blonde, sinewy soul attempting passage. Daring, serene, and intensely focused. All the things I’m not.
The only kind of waterlining I practice is lining the inside of my lower eyelid, also known as the waterline. It’s about as daring as I get. I actually thought it was kind of intrepid of me until I Googled the term. Ah well.
My regular eye routine can sometimes be a little bit basic. I like to think of it as Minimal Runway or Au Naturale, but, really, it’s basic. Like, no one’s ever stopped me on the street, gasping, "Oh, my God—you thought to pair brown mascara with a smidge of brown eyeliner at the corners of your eye? Can I take a picture of you for my blog? Is there a YouTube tutorial on this? Wow, this is groundbreaking! [Calls mother] Hey Mom, you’re not going to believe what I’m looking at right now. I’m sending you a picture—you’re gonna plotz!"
So, no, I’m usually not very glam. But! Add one swipe of liner on the waterline, and I am the Glammest of Them All.
Waterlining makes you look sexy because it gives your eyes this sense of about a 30 percent squint. Now, I know you may not think of squinting as sexy, but this isn’t grandpa-driving-in-a-hailstorm squinting; it’s not pained-parent-being-asked-for-money squinting, nor is it biking-through-a-gnat-cloud squinting. Those are more full-tilt, looking-at-the-sun squints, eyes almost closed. The waterline squint is just a slight puckering up of the eye, the way Angelina Jolie looks at Brad Pitt during the entirety of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It’s the hallmark of a composed and confident sexuality. Not gaping, involuntarily wide eyes that give away their interest. The difference between a knowing look and an awkward stare? About a 30 percent squint.
I’ve been waterlining with Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner, whose color does indeed stay pretty well. The eyelid line being eponymously watery, some reapplication may be needed. And OK, I’ll admit—the liner is in Charcoal, which is still a bit toned down. So, basic glam? Still the most adventurous I get…
(Also pictured is Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Eyeliner in Pewter, which comes out as a bluer-based charcoal, if you’re into that.)
Photographed by Trace Barnhill.