We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat: there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wearing makeup. Anything goes in the world of cosmetics, and you’re free to do whatever you want. That said, sometimes it’s fun to play into your complexion, exaggerate your favorite feature, or even employ some strategic tricks to enhance your eye color or, in today’s case, play into your eye shape. For eyeshadow application tricks that do exactly that, follow this pro advice.
1. The Eye Shape: Almond Eyes
Almond eyes are a very common eye shape. They get their name because they resemble an almond: a rounded center that slopes into two points on either side. This eye shape allows for a lot of versatility in terms of makeup application.
Eyeshadow Tips for Almond Eyes
“A great way to enhance almond eyes is to wing out your eyeshadow at the outer corners, which will add more visual lift to the face. To do this, use the ‘windshield wiper’ technique to apply your crease color, and then use a deeper color in the outer crease and blend it up and away from the eye towards the temple,” suggests Bryan Cantor, a celebrity makeup artist based in New York City.
“Another simple eyeshadow technique for almond eyes is to use one shade to surround your entire eye in a horizontal oval shape, bringing the color into the crease and out towards the temple. Then come in with a deeper shade on the outer third of your eye on the top and bottom.”
2. The Eye Shape: Upturned
An upturned eye is essentially any eye shape, including round and almond, where the outer corners are lifted. In some cases, the interior corner is even pointed slightly downward.
Eyeshadow Tips for Upturned Eyes
“Since upturned eyes are already lifted, it’s easy to emphasize and enhance this beautiful shape with shadow. I recommend following the natural upper and lower lash line with your eyeshadow of choice to play into the upturn,” says Patrick Ta, celebrity and editorial makeup artist and founder of his own eponymous cosmetics line. You can extend the eyeshadow a bit further out to create even more lift.
Drawing on a long, thin cat-eye is another way to enhance this eye shape.
3. The Eye Shape: Downturned
A downturned eye is the opposite of an upturned eye; instead of the outer corners pointing up they slope down. In terms of eyeshadow application, the general goal is to create more lift since a downturned eye can sometimes read as sleepy. What tends to not work are dark shadows or liners on the lash line of the outer corner, which can accentuate the downward slant of the eye.
Eyeshadow Tips for Downturned Eyes
“When working on a downturned eye shape, I like to start by dusting a light shadow all over the lid and applying a darker shade at the crease. Then I take a much darker shade and, using a thin angle brush, apply from the middle-upper lid on the lash line and brush outward. Right when the eye starts to slant downward, drag the shadow up to where your crease breaks,” says celebrity makeup artist Megan Lanoux. “This shadow look could be defined to give the appearance of eyeliner or smudged to give a smoky effect.” This look essentially draws more attention to the center of the eyelid and outer corner and distracts from the downturn.
Brushing the brows upwards can also help to draw the eye up, and increase the lifting effect, especially when combined with a dramatic, extended wing.
4. The Eye Shape: Round Eyes
The key for round eyes is to elongate the overall eye shape by creating an almond-like or winged effect on the outer half of your eye, Cantor says. What doesn’t work as well for this eye shape is applying color along the entire upper lash line since that accentuates the roundness (of course, if that’s your goal then do exactly that). Applying the same color around the entire perimeter of the eye will do the same thing by creating a visual circle.
Eyeshadow Tips for Round Eyes
“When trying to de-emphasize roundness, try to focus the most intense color on the top lash line only. For the bottom lash line, use a softer shade of eyeshadow or just mascara,” says Cantor. “Also, always try to wing the shadow out and/or up at the edge to elongate the shape of the eye area. Never create a rounded shape in the crease over a round eye, as this will make the eye appear rounder, and don’t start your winged liner in the corner since this emphasizes roundness.”
5. The Eye Shape: Protruding Eyes
A protruding eye, which isn’t especially common, is defined by an eye that bulges or protrudes either slightly or dramatically. The effect is quite distinct and can create a “baby doll” look.
Eyeshadow Tips for Protruding Eyes
If your goal is to minimize the effect of the protrusion or overall largeness of your eyes, one of the best things to do is lean into the darkest shades in your eyeshadow palette. Using matte colors instead of shimmery shades can double down on this effect, as can dramatically lining both the upper and lower lash lines with ink eyeliner and/or smudged liner. To shift the eyes upward, flick the liner up at the outer corners. If you want to emphasize your large eyes, do the opposite by minimizing liner and using light, neutral colors or shimmery shades. A cut-crease can also emphasize the roundness.
6. The Eye Shape: Monolids
A monolid is usually an Asian facial feature and it simply means that the lid itself either doesn’t have a crease, or the existing crease isn’t strongly defined. This shape is a beautiful canvas that allows much flexibility. You can follow the same advice regarding other features outlined here (upturned, downturned, close-set and wide-set), but Ta has a few other bits of advice…
Eyeshadow Tips for Monolids
“With monolid eyes, the most flattering eyeshadow is when the shadow is blended outward following the direction of the lower lash line. You want to slightly wing out the shadow which will help elongate the eyes,” he says. “Monolid eyes also look best when the top and bottom lash line is defined with a dark eyeshadow.”
Dramatic makeup looks also look incredible, like this incredibly thick, sculpted liner.
7. The Eye Shape: Close-Set Eyes
Close-set eyes can be any eye shape – round, almond, upturned, downturned – but sit slightly closer together than what may be considered average. The goal with makeup is to counteract the closeness by creating the illusion that the eyes are slightly further apart.
Eyeshadow Tips for Close-Set Eyes
“The most flattering eyeshadow for close-set eyes is when it’s more defined in the corner crease. I also think it looks best when there is a darker shadow on the outer corner and that blends into the crease of the eye, which really make the eyes pop,” says Ta. Basically, focus the lighter colors on the interior of the eye and get progressively darker as you work your way to the exterior corners. Another trick is to add extra highlight or shimmer to the interior corner, and to focus your mascara on the outer edges of the eyes.
8. The Eye Shape: Wide-Set Eyes
Wide-set eyes are the exact opposite of close-set eyes: they sit a little further away from the nose bridge than average. Amanda Seyfried, Brandy Norwood, and Miranda Kerr are all examples of people with wide-set eyes.
Eyeshadow Tips for Wide-Set Eyes
When it comes to eyeshadow tricks, the goal is often to create the illusion that eyes are closer together than they actually are. One way to do this is to use higher impact colors, darker shades, and shimmery eye shadows on the interior eye while using lighter colors on the exterior. Another trick is to really play up your liquid eyeliner at the corners. Clearly define the inner corner with your liner, perhaps even extending it in a reverse cat-eye.
9. The Eye Shape: Hooded Eyes
Hooded eyes get their name because of the visual “hood” that’s created over the eye itself via the brow bone (and sometimes a little extra skin). Cantor says that those with hooded eyes struggle with light reflecting off the lid in non-ideal places, which means matte eye shadows are a great go-to versus ultra-shimmery picks. Strategic application can also de-emphasize the hood.
Eyeshadow Tips for Hooded Eyes
“For hooded eyes, I like to create a true smoky eye using the deepest shade near the lash line and on the lid, blending it into a mid-tone in the crease, and saving the lightest shades for the inner corner of the eye,” says Cantor.
“Another option is to apply a matte mid-tone from the lash line up into the crease almost to the browbone. This creates the illusion of depth, which is what hooded eyes lack. For added depth, you can then take a deeper matte shade and apply it to the entire mobile lid, making sure that the area where it blends with your crease shade is visible when your eye is completely open.” With shimmer, stick to the inner corner of the eye or near the brow bone.