All Of Our Best Tips For Applying Makeup When You Have Hooded Eyes

Everyone's eyes are unique, and the differences create both challenges and opportunities for presenting your own eyes to their best advantage. In the case of hooded eyes, the challenges are multiplied, but don't let that stop you from constructing your own personalized, stunning makeup routine that showcases your fabulous eyes in their best possible light. According to Cosmetics à la Carte, a person has hooded eyes if their eyelid crease isn't showing when they look directly in front of them. This comes down to surplus skin hiding the crease, which can minimize the appearance of the eyes. To determine whether your eyes are considered hooded, hold a mirror parallel to your face and gaze at your reflection to see if you're able to view the creases on your own eyelids when you have your eyes opened. If the crease can't be discerned, your eyes are likely to be hooded. 


Makeup for hooded eyes can be tricky, but there are strategies you can use to make the makeup application process easier and more effective. If you aren't confident that you're making the most of your hooded eyes, choosing more flattering makeup looks, prepping your eyes properly before application, and using a few tried-and-tested strategies can enhance those peepers and make them appear their sparkling best. 

Don't skip the primer

People with hooded eyes may experience more problems than usual with preventing their eyeshadow and liner from shifting and smearing, thanks to the surface area of their lids being smaller. You might also find it difficult to keep your eyeshadow application smooth and flawless. Makeup artist Anthony Nguyen tells Coveteur, "Eyeliner and shadow can be challenging on hooded eyes because, depending on application, it may not be as visible or flattering when eyes are open versus closed." Primer is the best solution, because it "helps shadows stay put." Although it's sometimes possible to get similar results from using loose powder or concealer as an underlying base for your eyeshadow, we recommend using a dedicated primer for best results. You can apply your primer as high as your brow bone.


Eye primer offers you additional benefits beyond just the extra adhesion. By using primer, you can prolong the duration of your eye makeup. Primer also provides you with a uniform, consistent starting point for enhanced eye makeup application. 

Don't let your eye makeup get too dark and heavy

Overly dark, heavy makeup doesn't do hooded eyes any favors because it can give the illusion that eyes are deeper set than they really are. "With hooded eyes, it's really important not to overdo the darkness around the eyes," professional makeup artist and founder of Aleph Beauty Emma Peters explains in her makeup tutorial, adding, "What we want to do is focus on defining the eyes, not deepening them." Dark eye makeup can make hooded eyes appear sunken into the head, and this makes the eyes look heavier and less appealing than they really are. 


One possible remedy for excessively dark eye makeup is to avoid using nothing but stark black cosmetic products. Instead, opt for eyeliner and mascara in medium-brown shades that define the eyes without creating the illusion of extra, unwanted depth. For occasions when you feel compelled to use some black cosmetics, mix it up so that you have black only in limited areas and not all the way around your eyes. Also, avoid using multiple dark shades of eyeshadow; keep your eyeshadow choices light and bright.  

Make your lashes a primary focus of your eye makeup look

When you're creating eye makeup looks for hooded eyes, it's ideal to place the most emphasis on your eyelashes. Emma Peters at Aleph Beauty explains that lash emphasis can create an illusion of pulling additional light into the eyes, which results in the appearance of bright, wide-opened eyes. To accomplish this, you can also apply light-reflecting products directly behind your eyelashes. However, be aware that lustrous cosmetics should not be applied in the crease of the eyelid because this could draw attention to any wrinkles that may be present in the area. Use a multi-purpose, light-colored, earth-toned pearlescent powder or any shimmery eyeshadow to achieve this reflective effect. Follow it up by applying volumizing mascara to both top and bottom lashes.


Taylor Swift, who has hooded eyes, provides plentiful inspiration for maximizing your mascara application. Speaking to Stylecaster about the products she uses for enhancing her glamorous lashes, she says, "My favorite is [CoverGirl's] LashBlast mascara. I went to four magazine shoots in a row and all the makeup artists were using it, so I've been using it ever since." Swift also relies heavily on liquid eyeliner to achieve her long-lashed look. Keep in mind, too, that for those times you don't want to mess around with mascara, you can always apply false lashes.

Accent the inside corners of your eyes with eyeshadow

At the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift was photographed rocking cat-eye makeup with noticeable light-colored highlights at the inside corners of her eyes. Makeup artist Shreni Patel explains why you might want to mimic this look when you apply your own eye makeup, telling, "Applying an inner corner eye highlight shade to the eyes really brightens and opens up the eye, even if you're not wearing any other eyeshadow." 


According to popular Korean beauty brand Elizabeth Mott, there are three different approaches you'll want to consider if you're hoping to make this look your own. The first product you can use is a hint of shimmery champagne-colored eyeshadow. If you choose this option, make sure you don't overdo it; a little touch is all you need for achieving that radiant highlighted effect. Pale-toned eyeliner pencil and facial highlighter are also viable products to consider using for this purpose.

Concoct your own crease

People with hooded eyes typically do not have well-defined creases visible at the upper boundaries of their eyes. If this is your situation, and you want to make your eyelid creases appear more prominent, you have the option to create the illusion of well-defined creases using eye makeup. One possible approach for creating a more prominent eyelid crease is to use a round eyeshadow brush to apply non-glossy beige mineral eyeshadow into the crease. Mimic the shape of your natural eyelid crease, but position the faux crease prominently in a spot above the existing, hidden one.


You can also create a realistic-looking faux eyelid crease by using a pencil eyeliner to sketch one above where yours naturally exists. Aim for making this line semicircular to give the illusion of uplifted eyes. Sugar Cosmetics recommends using a round spoon positioned over your orbital cavity as a guideline for where to apply your makeup.

Accentuate your waterline with light-colored eyeliner

People with hooded eyes frequently have trouble achieving an arresting, wide-eyed look. Light-colored eyeliner applied at the waterline is a well-known makeup hack for making your eyes look bigger. This quick fix works as intended for people who have hooded eyes because it not only makes the eyes look lively and awake; it also distracts attention away from eyelid droopiness. By comparison, sooty, pitch-black eye makeup isn't recommended because it can make hooded eyes come across as looking smaller, closed off, and more tired. When the goal is to be perceived as looking bright-eyed and wide awake, individuals who have hooded eyes or droopy eyelids can accomplish this by lining the eyes with light-colored eyeliner at the waterline.


The exact best color for this purpose will depend on your complexion, your preferences, the ensemble you're planning to wear, and the current makeup trends. It's ideal if you can start your search in person at a store with a cosmetics counter, where you can ask a salesperson to show you options for the lightest-colored eyeliners they have in stock. Shades like white, bisque, beige, porcelain, or champagne could all work well.

Customize smokey-eyed makeup for hooded eyes

Smokey-eyed makeup is supposed to be dark, sultry, and dramatic, but this poses problems for people with hooded eyes because it isn't ideal for them to be made up with overly dark makeup. Our best tip in this situation is to blend any darker eyeshadow with lighter colors, such as beiges and browns, and smudging your eye makeup to avoid stark lines. 


According to L'Oreal Paris, you can create a smokey-eyed look that flatters hooded eyes by sweeping neutral-colored eyeshadow onto your eyelids using an ascending motion, in addition to any darker shades that you want to use. Apply and then promptly smudge gel eyeliner all around your eyes. Smudging is the key to making eyes look wide open; if you skip this step, you risk minimizing their appearance and making your eyes seem closed off. Complete your smokey-eyed makeup look with sweeps of mascara on both upper and lower lashes.

Engineer a flattering cat-eye look

Laura Mercier posits that hooded eyes don't need to be hidden; they need to be enhanced with techniques like cat-eye makeup, which make them more beautiful than they already are. However, those with hooded eyes need to modify the cat-eyed makeup that other eye shapes wear to make this style of makeup more attractive. The biggest change is that those with hooded eyes should begin their wing lower than their lash line before extending it outwards, unlike those with non-hooded eyes who typically begin a wing at the lash line. 


Other than that, you'll need the same supplies, and you'll follow the same steps, as anyone else would follow to achieve a bold cat-eye look. You'll want to start with a base of eye primer or concealer before proceeding. Use a buttery smooth pencil-type eyeliner rather than a liquid eyeliner for this task, since this formula is easier to control. Pair your eyeliner pencil with a smudging brush for optimal results.

Apply lip gloss to the centers of your eyelids

Part of flattering hooded eyes is drawing attention to strategic points around the eyelid to make the eyes look larger overall. And while we've covered that you can do this by highlighting the inner corners with a shimmer, you can also achieve a similar result with lip gloss. 


"It's good and weirdly it's very good for people with hooded eyes," MAC Cosmetics director of makeup artistry Dominic Skinner tells Flannels. " ... with hooded eyes, that little bit of skin you can see between the hood and the lash line is not very big, but as soon as you put any gloss, or something metallic, or high shine on that little bit of skin, it instantly makes the skin look twice as big ... "  Skinner goes on to explain that the lip gloss placement should be centered on the eyelids to make the eyes sparkle, shine, look bigger, and capture the illusion of being heavily moisturized.

Feel free to wear bright cosmetics on your eyes

While dark colors are something to be wary of, people with hooded eyes can successfully wear brightly colored eyeshadows, eyeliners, and other cosmetics. Celebrity makeup artist Sir John tells The Skin Care Edit that it's ideal to start by color matching your primer or eyeliner pencil to the eyeshadow color you plan to wear. He offers a couple of examples, saying, "So if I'm going to do a purple smokey eye, I do a purple pencil underneath." Likewise, he suggests pairing bright blue eye pencil with a complementary shade of bright blue shadow.


If you have hooded eyes, Sir John advises using tinted eyeliner and waterproof cosmetics to minimize the amount of makeup migration you'll endure. If you don't feel confident about piling on bunches of flashy bright colors, you can limit the colorful cosmetics to just a pop of vividness in the middle of your waterline. For brightly colored cosmetics applied to the eyelids, Sir John says, "Keep it very close to your lash line. The more you blow up your color, the more ostentatious it is."

Use multiple eyeshadows to define and emphasize your lash line

For people with hooded eyes or monolids, celebrity makeup artist Marc Reagan recommends layering multiple eyeshadows, per Forbes. This helps your makeup last longer, and it also provides interesting texture that enhances your look. Furthermore, when layered shadows are applied at your lash line, they help to distinguish and emphasize the eyes, bringing them into sharper focus and amplifying their appearance. "The best approach is to focus the application along the lash line first," Reagan tells the website, adding, "Cream and powder formulas work very well, because cream can be layered first, and then powders can layer on top to play up color, shimmer and dimension."


Makeup artist Nina Park concurs: "I use all three types of eyeshadows — liquid, cream, and powders — to achieve different effects," she shares with Forbes, also emphasizing that it's important to "follow the shape of the eye and accentuate it according to your personal shape."

Try wetting powdered mineral eyeshadow prior to application

Although many makeup artists recommend cream eyeshadow for hooded eyes, Cosmetics à la Carte founder Lynne Sanders believes there are advantages in adding moisture to powdered mineral makeup prior to applying it, particularly when lining the eyes. Those with hooded eyes should wet their eyeshadow, gently stir it, and then apply the water-eyeshadow combination using a fine eyeliner brush. Following these steps can help to maximize the longevity of your makeup application. Furthermore, doing it this way offers the additional benefit of being gentle on fragile, delicate eyes.


The ideal placement for the wetted, powdered mineral makeup is all the way across the upper lash line but only partway across the under-eye area. Sanders recommends coverage about a third of the way across on the outside because this serves to subtly draw attention outward, making the eyes appear wider set and larger.

Apply and smudge eyeliner below your lower lashes

Makeup artist Anthony Nguyen tells Coveteur that it is crucial to consider the placement of your eye makeup when you have hooded eyes because thick eyeliner applied to hooded eyelids can result in hidden eyeshadow. "Smudged-out liner or shadow below the bottom lash creates a flattering and diffused look for hooded eyes," says Nguyen, who goes on to suggest that tightlining on your uppermost eyelid offers a natural-looking and not-too-expansive solution that still leaves space for any additional eye cosmetics you want to use.


Nguyen offers another tip: Incline your head and keep your eyes open as you execute your eyeliner application. This might not seem like an intuitive position for getting your eyeliner placement correct, but it helps because it enables drying time. This results in an increased likelihood that your eyeliner will stay where you put it rather than migrating to your crease as soon as you blink your eyes.

Mimic the matte beige 1990s supermodel aesthetic

The right eye makeup can enhance hooded eyes so convincingly that people might inadvertently mistake the eye makeup for cosmetic surgery. Case in point: Newsweek reported rumors were spreading online that Jennifer Lawrence had cosmetic surgery after she attended Dior's Spring/Summer show at Paris Fashion Week in 2023. Soon after that, Lawrence revealed in a feature for Interview Magazine, "And I also think it's incredible what makeup can do because I work with Hung [Vanngo], who overlines the lip, and I call him a plastic surgeon, because everybody in the last few months since I've been working with him is convinced that I had eye surgery." She added, "I didn't have eye surgery. I'm doing makeup."


For the Dior show, Vanngo styled Lawrence with Dior makeup products in earthy tones reminiscent of the looks popularized decades ago by Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, and other 1990s-era supermodels. Lawrence's eye makeup included dark-colored eyeliner teamed up with warm-toned shades of taupe and brown eyeshadow. This is an ideal look to mimic if you have hooded eyes because the focus is on the perimeters of your eyes and your lashes rather than your eyelids. Be aware that there's one prominent aspect of '90s supermodel beauty you're better off leaving in the past; skip the skinny, overly tweezed eyebrows that were popular in that decade because it's a common eyebrow mistake that can really age you. Instead, minimally grooming your eyebrows is preferred, leaving them as thick as you can manage.