As someone with hooded eyelids, I know the struggles of mastering eye makeup firsthand. My lack of lid space (aka the length between my lash line and bottom of my brow) makes applying cut crease eyeshadow (the trend that accentuates the crease of the eye with makeup) seemingly impossible. When I concentrate shadow on the center of my lid, it almost always ends up smudged near my brow bone. And creating a symmetrical winged eyeliner look that doesn’t hide in the folds of my lids takes multiple tries.
I love a good YouTube or TikTok tutorial, but even when I follow the instructions perfectly, my results don’t look like the influencer’s. It was time to call in the pro makeup artists. The key is to adjust any makeup look so that it works for your eye shape, which can help avoid avoid frustration and smudges, explains Nick Lujan, makeup artist and director of artistry and education at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. Here are makeup tips for different eye shapes that will help make your eye makeup application a success.
How to determine your eye shape
A few factors determine eye shape, including size, how much the eyes protrude from the eye socket, and the direction the inner and outer corners point, explains Lujan. “The size and shape of the eye socket area also determine the shape of the crease,” he says.
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The easiest way to decipher your eye shape: Compare yours to this helpful guide, which spells out the different eye shapes and their distinctions, says makeup artist Ehlie Luna. Or find your celebrity eye twin. “Check out how makeup artists work with that particular celeb so you can steal their tricks and save yourself some of the guesswork,” Luna says.
Makeup tips for almond eyes
Your eye shape: The iris (which is the colored part of the eye) will touch the top and bottom of your eyelids when looking straight ahead, says makeup artist Allison Kaye.
What the pros suggest: “Almond eyes can create any eye look easy because the inner and outer corners are on the same horizontal plane,” says Lujan. One of his favorite tips to make this shape pop is to apply a light eyeshadow color (think: Urban Decay 24/7 Moondust Eyeshadow in Cosmic) on the inner corners of the eyes.
Also, “to make almond eyes appear bigger and more open, avoid applying eyeliner or eye shadow all the way around your lids,” he says. “Keep the outer corners makeup-free.”
Liner notes: “Winged liner and your almond eyes are a match made in heaven,” says Luna. The outer corner of the eyes are naturally lifted, which makes creating symmetrical wings easy because the angular shape acts as a guideline. To accentuate your shape, draw eyeliner so that it’s thinnest on the inner and outer corners and slightly thicker on the middle two-thirds of the lash line, says Kaye.
Makeup tips for round eyes
Your eye shape: A telltale characteristic of round eyes is that the whites of the eyes are visible above and below the iris.
What the pros suggest: “False lashes that are longer in the middle and shorter on the corners will help enhance your doll-eyed look,” Kaye says. (Avoid lashes that are full from the inner to the outer corner; they might look too heavy or give the illusion of smaller eyes.) You can also do this using a volumizing mascara, like Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara. Focus application on the center of the lashes for a subtle doe-eyed effect.
Another eye-opening tactic: Apply a light shimmer shadow (think champagne, blush, or copper) on the center of the lid and then sweep it to the inner corners to make your eyes sparkle, Lujan says. “Light reflective eyeshadows make prominent areas stand out even further,” he adds. We love Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow for this tip because it includes four shimmer shades in each palette.
A matte smoky eye with darker hues on the outer corner of the eye is another great way to elongate the eyes. If a smoky eye sounds intimidating, know that it doesn’t have to be black, Lujan says. Try medium-tone matte browns instead. The Kevyn Aucoin Contour Eyeshadow Palettes are perfect for this.
Liner notes: For a sultry look, apply a dark-colored eyeliner on the waterline of the inner and outer corners of the eyes, then extend the ends toward the temples for a cat-eye effect, says makeup artist Judi Gabbay.
Makeup tips for hooded eyes
Your eye shape: If you have hooded eyes, then you’ll notice that the crease of the eye is under a fold of skin when your eye is open.
What the pros suggest: Before applying eyeshadow, smooth on an eye primer. It’s a non-negotiable and the only way to avoid inevitable smudging or transferring, Kaye says.
To make lids look more lifted, apply a matte neutral eyeshadow, like gray or brown, to the eye socket area to give the illusion of a higher crease. This is the skin just beneath the brow bone and is visible right above your crease. “Keep your eyes open and look straight ahead into a mirror as you apply eye makeup,” Luna says. “If you close your eyes, the shadow will likely get lost in the folds once you open your eyes.”
Liner notes: Just as with eyeshadow, apply eyeliner with your eyes open while you look straight ahead. Keep your line thin to give the illusion of more lid space, says Gabbay.
Makeup tips for monolids
Your eye shape: Monolids don’t have a crease, so the upper eyelid covers the inner parts of the eyes.
What the pros suggest: To create more dimension, blend a matte neutral brown shadow, like Mac Cosmetics Single Eyeshadow in Brun, in the eye socket, which creates the illusion of a crease, Lujan says, “then apply a shimmery eyeshadow to the middle of the lid, just beneath the neutral brown shade, and under the arch of the brow to highlight.” Or you can also skip the brown entirely and instead apply that shimmery shadow all over your lid as a wash of color.
Liner notes: “I like to do winged eyeliner for this shape to accentuate the inner or outer corner—or both,” Luna says. Be sure to curl your lashes if you want your eyes to appear more open and bright, Gabbay says.
Makeup tips for downturned eyes
Your eye shape: The inner corners of your eyes are higher than the outer corners of your eyes. Princess Diana is the iconic example.
What the pros suggest: An easy way to accentuate and open up this shape is to create a lifted effect. To do this subtly, apply eyeliner or a dark shadow on the lash line, following the natural shape of your eye. When you get to the outer corner, slightly smudge the liner or shadow in an upward direction, Gabbay says.
Also, when you apply eyeshadow in general, place the lighter color toward the inner half of your eye and the darker color toward the outer half, Kaye says, “then blend up to the brow bone to make the eye look lifted.”
Liner notes: Winged eyeliner is a great way to lift the corners of your eyes. To find the correct angle for your wing, place the handle of a makeup brush diagonally across your face so that it touches the bottom corner of the nostril and the outer corner of the eye, says Lujan. Then sketch your eyeliner along the handle.
Makeup tips for upturned eyes
Your eye shape: Upturned eyes have outer corners that are higher than the inner corners of the eyes.
What the pros suggest: When applying eye makeup, follow the upward angle of your eye shape, blending or smudging it up and out. “Otherwise you’ll take away from your gorgeous natural cat eye,” Gabbay says.
If you like falsies, opt for a strip with shorter lashes on the inner corner and longer lashes at the outer corner. You can also do this with mascara by concentrating product on the outer corner. Opt for lengthening formula, like Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara.
Liner notes: “I like to line the entire upper lash line, and the inner corner for a cat eye effect,” Luna says. A great eyeliner that glides on the lid is Treslucé Intenso Gel Liner.
Genesis Rivas is the Beauty Editor at Oprah Daily, where she covers hair, makeup, skin, nails, and more. Before joining the Oprah Daily team, she wrote for several publications, including InStyle, Real Simple, and Shape. When she’s not testing, researching, and writing fun and educational beauty content, you can find her dancing and eating her way through New York City. Follow her on Instagram or TikTok