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12 Easy Ways to Make Eyes Look Bigger

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Part of the fun of makeup is using it to accentuate certain areas of the face. A swipe of contour can create chiseled cheekbones. A little overlining of the lips can create a perfectly plump pout in no time. And if you're looking to make your eyes appear bigger and more open, there are certainly ways to use makeup to do that as well. Making your eyes look bigger might sound like an impossible task, but there are quick and easy ways to do it within seconds that can become part of your everyday makeup routine.

Below, we're sharing a handful of expert-approved makeup tips for what to do (and not do) to make your eyes appear as open and bright as possible. Doe eyes, here you come.

About the Experts:
Lennie Billy is a makeup artist whose work has been featured in publications such as Vogue US, L’Officiel Lituania, ESPN Magazine, and TIME Magazine. See more of her beauty looks on her Instagram @makeupbylennie.
Alice Dickson is a makeup artist and educator at Glam Candy UK.

1. Start With Skincare

Before you even begin your makeup routine, you can create brighter eyes using the right skincare products. Look for an eye cream or under-eye patches that help to depuff, hydrate, and correct dark circles.

The TULA SKINCARE Eye Feel Amazing Cooling & Brightening Hydrogel Eye Mask is one of our favorite eye care products for bright, awakened eyes. The under-eye patches use probiotic extracts, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and green coffee caffeine to hydrate, depuff, and wake up the entire eye area—all before you've even applied a drop of makeup.

2. Apply False Lashes to the Corners of Eyes Only

According to Alice Dickson, makeup artist and educator at GlamCandy UK, this trick will help eyes look more open. Just make sure to apply them to the outer corners only (you can even add them to both the top and bottom of the lashes, if you’d like!).

3. Apply Highlight to the Brow Bone 

You can use the eyebrows and brow bones to help sculpt the look you’re after. According to Dickson, applying highlighter to the brow bone is one way to get the job done. She loves utilizing easy-to-use products like the ICONIC LONDON Glaze Crayons to easily shape under the brow area. 

4. Cover Up Dark Circles With Under-Eye Concealer

Dark circles can create the illusion of a shadow around your eye area, making it appear smaller overall. To help make the entire eye area appear brighter and illuminated, use a brightening concealer on the under-eyes to even out the skin tone.

Pro tip: Try applying the concealer in the shape of an inverted triangle under your eyes to create a "triangle of light" underneath the eyes. For a full rundown on how to tackle that technique, read our tutorial on how to apply concealer.

5. Blend Your Eyeshadow Up to Your Brow

"My most-used technique to make eyes appear bigger is taking eyeshadow very close to the brow," says makeup artist Lennie Billy. "This gives the illusion that your lid space is bigger and opens the eyes more, especially if you have hooded eyes.”

6. Use Brightening Eyeshadow Shades

Speaking of eyeshadow, the shades you use can make a big impact on how bright and open your eyes look. "When it comes to eyeshadow colors,” Billy says, "using light to medium tone shadows will help your eyes look more open." 

• Pastel colors

• Light shimmer shades

• Light brown shades 

For a range of eye-opening eyeshadow options, look for an eyeshadow palette that features variations of the shades above. The COMPLEX CULTURE Full Time Eyeshadow Palette offers a nice mix of brightening neutrals and shimmer shades for a delicate, doe-eyed look.

7. Brighten Your Waterline

Tightlining the eyes with a dark brown or black liner is great for a boost of drama, but it can also make your eyes appear smaller. For an eye-opening effect, try swapping dark liner for white eyeliner or nude eyeliner like the TARTE Fake Awake Eye Highlight. Billy says she loves to use a nude eye pencil along the upper and lower waterline for bigger, wider-looking eyes.

8. Create Smoky Eye Looks Strategically

"Depending on the shape of the eyeshadow application, smoky eyes can make your eyes look smaller," says Billy. "It's not that if you have small eyes you can't wear a smoky look, but I would recommend you keep the most pigmented part of your eyeshadow lower on your lid and blend it very well from the middle up, so it looks more like a gradient and less like a huge saturated patch of color."

Billy typically avoids creating a black smoky eye on smaller eyes, but if that's your jam, she says, "I would recommend you incorporate dark browns or even gray to lower the intensity of the black shadow. Also, use a dark brown pencil on the waterline instead of black to avoid making the eyes look smaller."

9. Illuminate the Inner Corners of the Eyes

"I always recommend adding a hint of shimmer or light matte shade to the brow bone and inner corners to return light to the eyes," says Billy. Adding just a touch of an illuminating shade is key for making the eyes pop—whether you're rocking a neutral eye look or a smoky eye. 

Try using a brightening shimmer eyeshadow stick like the BEAUTY FOR REAL Shadow STX 24-7 to easily apply product to the inner corner of your eyes. You can also dab a touch of a highlighter like the OFRA COSMETICS Highlighter in Blissful to create the same effect.

10. Curl and Define Your Lashes

This super simple step can really make all the difference. Straight lashes can cast a shadow on the eye area. Curling them up with a lash curler will instantly open up the eye area. Follow up this step with a curling mascara like the BENEFIT COSMETICS Roller Lash Mascara to further curl and define the lashes along both your upper lash line and lower lash line. Dickson also loves the M⋅A⋅C Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara.

Looking for a full makeup tutorial on how to curl your eyelashes like a pro? We've got you covered.

11. Avoid Thick Eyeliner Lines

Creating ultra-thick, Amy Winehouse-style eyeliner lines may not end up doing you any favors if you're looking to create an eye-opening makeup look. Instead, allow those light, illuminating eyeshadow shades to shine by creating super thin eyeliner lines using either a sharpened pencil eye pencil or a fine-tipped liquid liner.

A precision liner like the ILLAMASQUA Liquid Eyeliner is perfect for creating razor-thin lines or an eye-opening cat eye.

12. Shape Your Brows

A little bit of eyebrow shaping can make a big difference. By creating an arched shape, you're essentially lifting the ceiling of the eye area, allowing it to look bigger and more open. You can further open up the area via the brows by trying laminated brows or by using a brow gel that will help your brow hairs stay lifted throughout the day.

Want in on more eye-opening beauty tips with an IPSY Glam Bag? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated June 3, 2022 12:00 AM