Everything You Need To Know About Applying Makeup For Your Eye Shape
It's half the battle when it comes to nailing your look.
Ever wondered how your best friend’s eye makeup doesn’t budge an inch while yours always slides and smudges?
Well, we’ve got good and bad news for you. But let's start with the good.
The solve to keeping misbehaving eye makeup in place is to customize both the makeup products you use and your application technique to your specific eye shape. The bad news is that when it comes to wearing eye makeup, we’ve made life way harder for ourselves than it needed to be. But that stops now!
Understanding your eye shape is step one in masterfully nailing both everyday eye makeup and a smoky, come hither style for a night out.
“Catering to your eye shape when you apply eyeshadow and eyeliner will definitely help you enhance your features,” says celebrity makeup artist and KVD Vegan Beauty brand ambassador Daniel Chinchilla, whose clients include everyone from Ariana Grande and Emma Roberts to Olivia Culpo.
Ditch the days spent trying to manipulate your eye makeup into a look that doesn’t work for you and embrace your natural eye curves, as well as the proper application tricks to make them stand out.
To help you get started, we tapped two of the industry’s best celebrity makeup artists to share all their expertise.
“If your outer corners are higher than your inner corners, you have upturned eyes,” explains Chinchilla, who loves to emphasize this shape with a thin coat of eyeliner all the way to the ends of the lids.
“I like to use a liquid liner with a nice pointy tip to help guide the application,” says Jeannia Robinette, make up artist to Angelina Jolie, whose go-to is the ultra inky Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Liquid Liner in a sooty shade. “You can also add a little extra mascara on the bottom lashes. Have fun with it!”
“If you can see the whites of your eyes below the iris, you have round eyes,” says Robinette. “I love to put lots of eyeliner inside the water line to create a cat eye and close up some of the space.”
Although she swears by the super pigmented, yet buildable, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in the deepest matte black shade, it’s important that “whichever eyeliner you use, make sure it has a creamy finish and is longwear,” she explains.
Or you can go for a sultry eye look that skews more sophisticated than showgirl. “Keeping darker shadow tones away from the crease and mainly place it just on the lids,” she recommends. Also, make sure to leave the bottom lash line bare.
A monolid, or an epicanthic fold in medical terms, is an upper eyelid shape without a visible crease line. If you want to create some dimension, just follow these two tips. “Use reflective shadows on lids for a lift, and apply lots of mascara,” says Robinette. “But always curl lashes or add false lashes first. I love the Shu Uemura Curler and Ardell false lashes are inexpensive and easy to use.”
Start off by layering your lids with an eye shadow primer to provide a smooth base and to lock eyeshadow in place to prevent smudging or sliding. Then apply a light-reflecting shadow directly on the lid, starting along the lash line, swiping in vertical movements to bring up the color. Robinette’s go-to shadow for monolids is the platinum cream shadow in the Kevyn Aucoin Emphasize Eye Design Palette in Magnify to “give a nice lift and shimmer” without being too disco for daytime.
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This shape is essentially the opposite of upturned: visualizing a horizontal line across the eye, the outer corners of eyes are lower than the inner corners and often look as if the outer top eyelid is dipping downward to meet the lower lash line.
The trick here is to neutralize the overall “droopy” appearance and as Robinette insists, “lift, lift lift!” to brighten and open the eyes.
In particular, “lifting the outer corners is key,” says Chinchilla. “Keep your eyeshadow light and neutral on the inner part of the eyelid and use deeper tones on the outer corners.” An eyeshadow palette with a range of complimentary neutrals intended for contouring, like Fenty Beauty’s Snap Shadows Mix & Match in True Neutrals, makes it super easy to build out a layered shadow look.
Trace the deeper shadow along the bottom lash line using a taut, angled eyeliner brush. As you get to the outer corner, continue drawing up and out toward your temples for an ever so subtle flick. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a few tries to get the right tail length for your eye, just keep a few Q-tips on hand to clean up the edges.
With hooded eye shapes, a bit of excess skin hangs down over the eyelids, usually the result of “a heavy brow bone” according to Chinchilla, along with a deep set crease making the eyelids barely visible. With age and loss of skin elasticity, eyes of any shape often evolve and begin to take on a more hooded appearance.
If you have hooded eyes, skip the thin, delicate liner, as it tends to melt into the lid or smear. Instead, opt for a heavy layer of eyeliner along the upper lash for extra definition that will light up your eye, says Robinette, who favors Clinique’s Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for its thick but flawless application. Finish with “lots of mascara, always!” she adds.
“Almond eyes are the most universal shape and you can really play them up,” says Robinette.
You can identify whether you have an almond eye shape by checking out your irises. If you can’t see the whites of your eyes above or below the iris because slightly covered along the top and bottom by your lids when you look straight ahead in the mirror, you have almond eyes, the makeup artist explains.
Nearly any liner technique will flatter an almond shape, but for a daytime look, Robinette loves a classic contour style by dusting “a lighter color across your lid and using a deeper color on the outer half of the crease” with a gravity-defying volumizing mascara, like Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes.
If you want a sexier look, go for a cat eye, which will intensify the natural almond shape since they usually taper upward to a point at the outer eye.
To rock sultry bedroom eyes, Robinette recommends using a pointy liquid liner, like the richly pigmented and waterproof (read: it won’t smudge or transfer) KVD Vegan Beauty Tattoo Liner to create a thick, dark line across the top lid and create a sharp wing for extra definition and drama.