I Have Hooded Eyes, and These Are the Eye Makeup Looks That Work for Me

When I first started experimenting with makeup in my early teens, it was usually after school at a friend's house. We would dig out our makeup bags full of Miss Sporty and Maybelline products and give each other makeovers. One day, we decided to give a strong, winged-eyeliner look a go. As we drew a slick of black eyeliner on our upper eyelids, I noticed that it looked great on my friends' eyes, but on mine, it looked a little bit off. And I couldn't place why. The same went for false eyelashes, which completely overwhelmed my eyes but seemed to suit my friends' eye shapes.

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(Image credit: @eleanorvousden)

It was only when I began to understand different eye shapes that everything clicked. I soon learned that I have hooded eyes. This means that less of my lid space is visible, so I have less eyelid "real estate" to play with when it comes to eye shadows and eyeliner. So if I were to apply an eye shadow color all over my eyelid, you wouldn't be able to see it. This is because when my eyes are rested (and looking straight on), my upper lid hides behind my brow bone. The same goes for eyeliner on my upper lash line. Trying to do a sleek, flicked-out wing can prove difficult.

Hooded eyes are usually down to your genetics, but you may find your eyes become more hooded with age, too. In fact, hooded eyes come in lots of different shapes and sizes. You may have more of your lid visible in the inner or outer corners of your eyes, and you might find that your eyelids look more hooded at different angles, or it may depend on how well you have slept. Whichever type of hooded eyes you have, however, there are so many eye makeup looks that can suit your eye shape. "You can do any makeup for hooded eyes, but it's just about adapting it to your eye shape," says Dominic Skinner, global senior makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics.

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(Image credit: SPOTLIGHT: 16ARLINGTON SS23)

I used to feel frustrated that certain eye makeup looks wouldn't suit my hooded eyes. However, in my time as a beauty journalist, I've come to embrace and even play up my hooded eyes with different makeup looks. Makeup artists have shared tips and tricks with me over the years, so, I've decided to share what I've learned, as well as some great eye makeup looks for hooded eyes below.

Eye Makeup Looks for Hooded Eyes

1. Waterline Eyeliner

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(Image credit: @valeriaferreiramakeup)

If you find liquid eyeliner overwhelms your eyes, try tight-lining—aka applying a soft kohl eyeliner to your upper waterline only. "With a hooded eye, you have a very little amount of eyelid space," says Skinner. "So you don't want to cover that amount of space up. "What you want to do is bring your eyeliner underneath onto the waterline, so you're going underneath at the root of your eyelashes," he says. You can still get that liquid-eyeliner look by winging it outwards at the outer corner of the eye, but it's much softer on hooded eyes.

2. Reverse Eyeliner

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(Image credit: SPOTLIGHT)

When I recently sat down with celebrity makeup artist Lan Nguyen-Grealis, I was convinced that liner wouldn't work for my eye shape. But she showed me otherwise when I sat in the makeup chair and talked me through the common makeup mistakes. If eyeliner looks too heavy on your upper eyelid, try "reverse eyeliner" by applying your eyeliner on your lower lash line. You can make a statement with bright eyeliner colors, but this works equally well with wearable everyday shades like black or brown. 

If you struggle to do a winged-eyeliner look, you can try winging your eyeliner out from the lower lash line instead. "Draw along the lower lash line and wing out," says Nguyen-Grealis. "Then, diffuse the line with an eye shadow brush while connecting it to the very edge of your upper lash line." She explained that this helps to add definition while lifting and elongating your eyes. Set with eye shadow for a long-lasting finish.

3. The Socket Smoke

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(Image credit: @tobimakeup)

When creating socket definition, it might feel odd bringing your eye shadow so high onto the brow bone, but that's exactly what you should be doing, says Skinner. "What a lot of people do is that they try to hide their lid by covering it and smoking it out, but you want to apply your eye shadow in the socket," he says. "Look straight ahead in the mirror and imagine where that shadow should go. Then, tip your head back, and you’ll see that actually where you want it to go is where your brow bone is. This lifts and opens the eye."

4. Mini Eyeliner Wing

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(Image credit: @emilychengmakeup)

I rely on this eye makeup a lot for my hooded eyes. If you want to do a liquid-eyeliner look with a wing, then avoid applying liquid eyeliner all the way along your upper lash line. Instead, you can apply it from the very outer corner only, winging out to lengthen and elongate the eyes.

5. Lower Lash Line Smoke

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(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

If I really want my eyes to pop for an evening look, I take a darker eye shadow along my lower lid, which makes the eyes appear larger. I love this look on Karlie Kloss here, who wears a burnt orange smoked-out on her lower lash line and ties her smokey-eye look together.

6. Eyelid Highlight

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(Image credit: @zendaya)

"You want to maximize any amount of skin that you can see between the crease and the lash line," says Skinner. The best way to make your eyelids pop is to opt for a highlighting product. "That could be an iridescent eye shadow that's perhaps the same shade as your skin tone or even one shade lighter. Apply just above the iris in the center of your lid. That amount of highlight will give the illusion of there being more lid space than there actually is," he says. This look really makes your eyes pop and works well worn alone or combined with other eye makeup looks.

"Avoid using bright and reflective eye shadows on the prominent part of the lid [such as above the socket crease or brow bone], as this will emphasize the hoods of the eyes," says Dior pro international makeup artist Jamie Coombes. "Instead, keep these shades to the mobile parts of the lid, as this will provide flashes of color when you blink. Alternatively, add a fine touch of highlighter along the arch of the brow to lift."

7. The Smokey Eye

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want to go for a smokey eye, then good news—your eye shape makes it easier to achieve this sultry look, as SJP shows. Try applying an eye shadow shade all over your lid, buffing it upwards onto the brow bone and out towards the outer edge of your eyes. Run the same eye shadow along your bottom lid, and add mascara to finish. You might find that false eyelashes look too intense on your eye shape, but a couple of well-placed individual lashes on the outer eye can give you definition without looking OTT.

8. Straight Eye Shadow

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Notice that the shape is quite graphic and follows Samira Wiley's natural lid, but the wing itself runs parallel for a graphic shape. In fact, following a straight line when applying eye shadow is key for hooded eyes, says Coombes. "Familiarize yourself with the straight-line technique, blending your eye shadow in a straight horizontal line and not blending out too far," he says. "A tip for this is to place the edge of a sheet of paper from the corner of the nose to the end of your brow and keep the blend within that space."

9. Negative-Space '60s Eye

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

I always turn to Taylor Swift for hooded-eye makeup looks, and this recent look quite literally took my breath away. While it's not an everyday look (but trust that I'm saving this for my NYE makeup look), I'm taking note of placement on the crystals in this '60s-inspired look, which creates the illusion of a socket crease and really opens the eyes. You could re-create this look with softly diffused eye shadow or eyeliner for a bold look.

10. Hooded Eyeliner Wing

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(Image credit: @zendaya)

Depending on your lid shape, you might find that your upper eyelid covers where an eyeliner wing might go. This might be the case if you raise your brows to apply winged eyeliner, only to find when you rest your eyes, the wing doesn't look the same. The best protocol is to mark out where you want the lower part of the wing to go and draw outwards. Then, when connecting it to the upper edge, you'll want to stop when you meet your natural eyelid create and fill in your outer triangle section of the wing. It should look a little like a bat wing when your eyes are open, but when they are rested your wing will look more flattering.

11. Soft Smoke

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(Image credit: @emilychengmakeup)

This is such a pretty and soft makeup look that works for any occasion. Simply run eyeliner underneath your eyelashes and smoke outwards for a simple eye makeup look. As for eyebrows, you'll want to go for soft definition, says Coombes. "Try not to overdraw brows, as this gives a heavier look and closes the eye," he says. "Instead, lightly define brows with two shades lighter than your usual color, and brush the brow hair upward to open and lift the eye shape."

12. Bold Eyelashes 

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(Image credit: SPOTLIGHT)

When in doubt, leave your lids bare and go for a lashing of mascara. A good pair of eyelash curlers will ensure an eye-opening effect and a curling mascara will give all-day hold.

Up Next: I'm a Makeup Novice, But These 9 Natural Eye Shadow Looks Are Easy

This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.

Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor of Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.

Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards and also contributed to Powder, winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards for her work in beauty journalism.

Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.

When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner.