I can recall the very first time that I experimented with liquid eyeliner. I loved the look of a winged feline flick, and so I dug out my trusty Rimmel eyeliner to give it a try. As I glided the nib across my lids, I stood back from the mirror, and quite frankly, it was a mess. I couldn’t understand why the winged eyeliner closed off my eyes and looked disjointed, while on my friend’s eyes it looked seamless and eye-opening. After some investigating, I learned that I have a hooded eye shape, which means that eyeliner can prove difficult.
After speaking with makeup artists, it was clear I was making some makeup mistakes when it came to eye makeup application. The first mistake was not fully understanding my eye shape, which has its own characteristics and requirements for eyeliner application. So what are hooded eyes, and how do you know if you have this eye shape?
“Hooded eyes are hereditary, or you may have excess skin underneath the brow bone,” says professional makeup artist Amalie Russell. They can also become apparent or more pronounced over time as we age. Blake Lively, Samira Wiley, HoYeon Jung and many models such as Karlie Kloss have some form of hooded eyes—they’re just one form of the many beautiful eye shapes.
My second mistake, however, was thinking that eyeliner was off the cards for my hooded eyes. “There are ways around wearing eye makeup to create an illusion so that your eyes appear bigger and larger with eyeliner,” says Russell. Ahead, you’ll find the best tips and tricks on how to apply eyeliner on hooded eye shapes.
When applying eyeliner, it can be tempting to stretch the skin to get an even line, but when your eyes are relaxed, your wing will look different.
“One mistake people do is pull the skin tightly while doing eyeliner, which changes the shape of the eye,” says Russell. I have the type of hooded eyes, which fold over towards the outer edge of my eye. Stretching the skin to apply eyeliner means it won’t sit seamlessly when you let go of the skin and your eyes are rested. Instead, you’ll want to fully relax your eyes as you apply your liner.
This goes hand in hand with tip one. If you’re looking down at a mirror or raising your brows to lift your lids, you may find that your eyeliner looks different when your eyes are rested. Russell recommends keeping your eyes relaxed and looking straight ahead into your mirror to create the wing. By applying your eyeliner this way, you’ll see where your eyes naturally sit and be able to create the most flattering shape.
This technique involves creating a small batwing shape with your eyeliner, so when your eyes are relaxed, you’ll have a smooth wing.
If your lid folds over the crease of your eyelid, you can still do a winged eyeliner look, but it’s all about the placement, say Russell. “The next step is creating a line going straight across over the fold or hooded eyelid so that when eyes are closed or looking down, the eyeliner looks like a hockey stick or check mark,” she says. It may even resemble a little batwing, but when you look straight on, you—and everyone else—will see a precise wing.
If you’ve ever done an eyeliner wing then find you can’t see it, this tip is for you. “The tricky challenge is not being shy about overdrawing your eyeliner,” says Russell. “It might seem like you’re taking your eyeliner very far out, but when your eyes are rested, it will look much more neat and flattering.” So when in doubt, wing it out.
Reverse eyeliner went viral on TikTok and Instagram this year as the alternative to a classic eyeliner wing. Instead of applying your eyeliner on the top lid, you take it underneath the lower lash line and wing it out. I’ve found this way gets me a better result, as the angle of my eye provides a natural path for a flattering wing. For this method, I prefer to use a brown eyeliner pencil rather than liquid for subtle definition and a smoked-out wing that’s softer than a crisp liquid eyeliner wing. You can then give it lasting power by applying an eye shadow in the same colour on top.
If you have hooded eyes, you might find your eye makeup is prone to smudging or moving on the natural fold of your lids. Prepping your lids correctly and choosing the right eye makeup products will ensure your eyeliner stays put. “Always apply a long-wearing, water-resistant primer or eye shadow first, then gel or liquid eyeliner,” says Russell. “If you are a beginner, you can start by tracing with a soft brown pencil or gel eyeliner,” she says.
When choosing eyeliners, look for long-wearing products that will stay put. “Good long-wearing liquid eyeliners are Bobbi Brown, Clinique and KVD Tattoo liner,” says Russell.
Price shown is member price. A good eye makeup primer will help create a base for your eyeliner to stick to and make it more long-lasting.
This gel-eyeliner pencil does not budge. It also comes in a range of flattering hues.
If you want your eyeliner pencil to last for longer, use a small angled eyeliner brush to set it with an eyeshadow in the same hue.
Delivers flawless eyeliner wings every time.
A setting spray will lock everything in place—this one is one of the best.
If you find your mascara often transfers to your lid or brow bone, then try this mascara. Not only does is it smudge-proof, but it won’t come off without a makeup remover, or water at 38 degrees or more—so it’s humidity proof too.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.