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How to Find the Best Makeup for Your Eye Shape

Finally get the open, lifted eyes you've been wanting.

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Monolids don’t have a natural crease, but you can fake one with makeup, says Jessica Mae, founder, creative director, and makeup artist of WarPaint International Beauty Agency. Blending eyeshadow into the area with a soft, round-domed crease brush will create the illusion of a crease on this eye shape, she says. You can play around with colors, but sticking to a warm neutral tone, like light brown, in a matte finish is a safe bet. “You have to be careful because it can quickly look clown-like,” says Mae. Eyeshadow sometimes rubs off fast from a monolid, so be sure to use a primer so makeup lasts longer, says celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert Tomy Rivero. Don’t add eyeliner to your waterline, which can make eyes appear smaller, he says.

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Hooded lids

With hooded lids, your eyelid doesn’t show much when your eyes are open. Avoid using light colors on your eyelid, and opt for a dark, warm-toned matte shadow instead, says Rivero. Add a brown or taupe on your brow bone, and blend. “You don’t want separation of lightness from the lash line to the top of your hooded lid, because when you blink it’s very apparent there’s a gap,” he says. “This creates a smoky definition…so it starts looking like a shadow look instead of overlapping skin.” To keep your makeup from swallowing up your entire lid, stick with thin eyeliner, says Mae. She recommends a technique called tightlining, which involves getting your eyeliner as close to the inside of your upper lash line as possible. Use a kohl pencil or cake liner to draw a thin line on your upper waterline, then wiggle liner between your lashes to accentuate the effect. Check out these other ways makeup can transform your features.

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Almond eyes are one of the most versatile eye shapes, so you can be creative and bounce between neutral and dramatic looks. One particularly flattering look is to create a gradient with eyeshadow, says Rivero. Start with your darkest color close to your lash line, then use a medium tone in your crease and a light hue on your brow bone for definition. “It creates the illusion that the lash has a lot of presence, and is more flirty,” says Rivero. You could also try a winged eyeliner that isn’t necessarily a cat eye, he says. Start from your inner tear duct, then gradually thicken the line as you work your way to the end of the eyes.

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“Round eyes are going to draw your attention no matter what,” says Rivero. To avoid looking cartoonish, he recommends using a matte eyeshadow on the inner and outer corners of your eyes, then adding an iridescent one in the center to make your eyes pop. You can also make a round eye shape look longer by bringing your eyeliner up at the corners instead of following your eye’s natural shape down, he says. If you’d rather highlight big doe eyes, though, use light to your advantage. Apply highlighter to your inner corners, and run a nude or white pencil liner over your waterline to cancel out any redness and make your eyes seem even whiter and brighter, says Mae.

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Focusing on bottom liner will draw downturned eyes up a bit. Start three quarters of the way into your lash line, then use a soft pencil liner or eyeliner brush with eye shadow to draw a line to your outer corner. “As you get to the edge of the eye, give it a little bit of a slight flick,” says Mae. “Not a full wing or cat eye, but ever so slightly extend that line out a little bit.” It will look like your eye is headed upward, she says. Harsh lines from black liquid liner will accentuate your eyes’ downward turn, so stick with browns and neutrals, says Rivero.

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Prominent eyes might not need any extra attention from heavy makeup, so stick with a soft pencil in neutral tones like gray or dark brown, says Mae. Just make sure browns look earthy instead of ruddy, which could make your eyes look sickly and swollen, warns Rivero. You might be tempted to build on mascara instead of playing with eyeshadow, but that could backfire. “The mistake is they end up using way too much mascara, so it clumps the lashes and draws way too much attention,” says Rivero. Use a black-brown or gray mascara, highlighted with a tin liner as close to the lash line as possible, he says.

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Deep-set eyes

Thick eyeliner will make deep-set eyes disappear. Start with a thin line at your tear ducts, building up the thickness toward your outer corner. “You will lose your lid entirely with thick liner,” says Rivero. “Whatever you do won’t even show because all we’re looking at is your eyeliner.” Dark, smoky looks and high-shimmer shadows can make your eyes look sunken, but blending a neutral matte eyeshadow into the crease will soften them up, says Mae. Rivero recommends sticking with semi-matte colors, which will catch the light without the overly bright look of metallics.

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Harsh, dark colors can make close-set eyes look even more closed-off and small, but a classic smoky eye can make your eyes look bigger, says Rivero. Use a light color in your inner corners, then blend into a medium tone into the middle. Keep your darkest color to the outside of your eyes. “Anything really dark is going to look like the eyes are tiny and really close together,” says Rivero. “You want to create light in the inner tear ducts to separate the bridge of the nose from the middle center of the eye.” Fan that darkest color from your crease to your temple with a fluffy brush to increase the effect, he says. Avoid dark colors on your waterline, which will close eyes off, and put dark liner under your lash line instead, says Mae.

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Wide-set eyes are lucky because they have the space to pull off different looks. “You can blend 300 colors because you have the room,” says Rivero. One of his favorite looks is to start with a dark tone on the lash line, then radiate up into neutral colors, finishing with a sweep of shimmer under the brow. Dark colors can make other eye shapes look too small, but wide-set eyes can pull off the look, says Mae. “You can go so far as to take that top liner and take it into the inside corner,” she says.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.