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Makeup for Hooded Eyes Shouldn’t Be a Mystery—Here’s How to Show Off Your Gorgeous Eye Shape

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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Ever follow an eye makeup tutorial to a T and wonder why it just doesn’t look quite the same? We’ve all been there. One explanation might be that everyone’s eyes are different shapes. Just like foundations are made for different skin tones, eye makeup tips and tricks are not one-size-fits-all, either.

Makeup hacks will look different on almond eyes, monolids, round eyes, or downturned eyes than the makeup hacks for hooded eyes or hooded lids. And while your hooded eyes are hella gorgeous, they’re just shaped differently than the model in that eye makeup tutorial you’ve been watching on repeat. The key to pulling off that gorgeous smoky eye like a pro? Simply tweak your methods to work with your hooded eye shape. It can even be as simple as switching up your makeup brushes, or adopting a different technique.

“There are no shoulds (or should nots) when it comes to makeup,” says New York City-based makeup artist Melissa McGoff. “It’s more about placement.” If there’s anything we’ve learned from celebs like Jennifer Lawrence, Selena Gomez, and Blake Lively, the limit does not exist when it comes to the number of stunning eye makeup looks for hooded eyes. Read on for a deep dive into the best ways to apply makeup for hooded eyes and hooded lids with easy how-to tips straight from the pros.

About the Expert: 

Melissa McGoff is an NYC based makeup artist and founder of Kissed By Melissa.
Allie Renee is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist.

What Are Hooded Eyes, and How Do I Know If I Have Them?

First you need to determine your eye shape, and whether or not you actually have hooded eyes or hooded lids.

“An easy way to tell if you have a hooded eye shape is by looking straight into a mirror with your eyes open. If the skin of your upper eyelid drops over your natural crease and sits closer to or on top of your lash line, that’s a hooded eye shape,” says Allie Renee, an LA-based makeup artist. If not, you may have another (equally gorg!) eye shape.

But why do hooded eyes require a different approach to eye makeup? “Because of the folded skin, the eye tends to look smaller,” says Renee. “If the application method for other eye shapes are used on a hooded eye, it can cause the eye to appear droopy and smaller.” Check out our full guide on how to make eyes appear bigger through both skincare and makeup techniques here.

Top Eyeshadow and Eyeliner Tips for Your Hooded Eyes:

Use a Good Primer

“Hooded eyes can easily cause transfer of eye makeup onto the lids, so I highly recommend starting out with an eyeshadow primer,” says McGoff.

Get in Position

As always, it’s all about angles. “The goal is to lift and open up your eyes. To do this, look straight forward in a mirror with your eyes open and relaxed while you do your makeup,” explains Renee.

Use the Right Tools

McGoff recommends using a flat brush to create your crease, a pencil brush for inner corners, and a fluffy brush for blending (check out the how-to’s below). 

Say Yes to Shimmer

Shimmery shades make things look bigger because of the way they reflect light, so I like to place them under the brow bone, inside the corner of the eye, and on the part of the lid that actually moves. This will make the eyes pop,” says McGoff.

Swipe Matte Shadow First

Matte colors are great under the eyes and in the crease to create depth,” according to McGoff. 

Give a Lifted Look

“Much of the time with a hooded eye, the top lid is longer than the lower lash line,” says Renee. To help bring the appearance of the eye up, blend a deeper eyeshadow along the outer two-thirds of the lid and the outer lower lash line. 

Try Tightlining

“For eyeliner to be more pronounced on the upper lash line of a hooded eye, I recommend a technique called tightlining,” says Renee. “To tightline, apply a transfer-resistant eyeliner pencil to the roots of your lashes and upper waterline.” 

Smudge Your Eyeliner (Intentionally)

“Use a pencil brush to smudge and diffuse the liner slightly, so it’s a cohesive soft line across the lid. This technique will not only make the eyes look bigger and more lifted, but it will also make your lashes look fuller,” adds Renee. Another way to achieve this is through winged liner or the reverse cat eye - which will lift the eyeshape outwards.

Keep the Lines Thin

Unless you’re going for a very specific look, it’s important to have a very defined and lash hugging line. “A thicker line will result in the eyes looking very small,” says McGoff. 

Here’s How to Score a Smoky Shadow Look for Hooded Eyes:

1. After your primer, apply your shadow with your eyes open. It’s the best way to really “create your crease”. Where your eye folds is your crease, so you want to apply shadow a bit above that area to really emphasize it. Use a darker matte shadow with a stiff blending brush in this area to really define the eye. 

2. With a flat brush, apply a lighter shimmer color on the lid. The flat brush will help you define and cut through the crease line, resulting in what's known as a “cut crease”. 

3. Using a pencil brush, take the lightest color in your palette and add it to the inner corner of the eye.

4. Blend, blend, blend! Using a clean and fluffy brush, gently blend the colors together so there are no hard lines left behind. Be sure to work upwards to create the illusion of larger eyes.

5. Take a liquid liner pen and create your winged liner. With your black kohl pencil, tightline the upper lash line to create a darker, bolder look. Try MAYBELLINE Eyestudio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil in Sleek Onyx.

6. Using a flat brush, take your darkest shadow to trace about ⅓ under the eye to create a smokey and dramatic effect. Connect the line to the inner eye with a bright luminous color. (MAC COSMETICS and MORPHE are some of our favorite brushes. Choosing the size depends on your comfort level and eye size.

7. Utilizing a nude or white liner, line the bottom of your eyes inside the waterline to increase the eye’s brightness.

8. Curl your lashes and apply a few coats of mascara, depending on the level of intensity you want.

9. And finally, don’t forget your brows. They are even more in the spotlight with hooded eyes. Be sure to keep them groomed and fill them in as needed. Make brows appear more arched by intensifying the highlighter underneath your brow bone, or you can use a light concealer to trace and shape brows. Your brows go hand-in-hand with your eyeshadow look, especially for those with hooded lids.

Want more makeup tips tailored to you? 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
Runa Rhattacharya
Runa Bhattacharya
Runa is an NYC-based writer and Registered Nurse with over 8 years of experience covering beauty and wellness. She’s worked for publications like SELF, Cosmopolitan, and more. She’s passionate about beauty, science, and two careers that she loves!
About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated April 2, 2023 12:00 AM