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Makeup Artist: 2 Ways To Use Eyeliner to Lift Hooded Eyes and Look Younger Instantly

It's like an eye lift — for free!

Getting eight hours of shuteye a night works wonders to leave us feeling and looking well-rested. But for those of us who have hooded eyes, even after we get a good night of sleep, we’re still left looking spent as skin from the upper eye area droops down onto the eyelid, making eyes look smaller and tired. While a common recommended solution for reversing hooded eyes is pricey plastic surgery (upper blepharoplasty to be specific), which tightens and removes excess skin, it’s expensive (average cost: $4120), carries risks as does all surgery and involves some uncomfortable down time. Thankfully, makeup artists say you can mimic the results of going under the knife with a little makeup magic using specific techniques to apply eyeliner for hooded eyes. Keep scrolling for the tricks that will leave you looking youthful, wide-awake and gorgeous in a blink.

What are hooded eyes?

Hooded eyes are a specific eye shape where the eyelid appears smaller due to a fold of skin that comes down from the brow bone to the lash line. This fold causes the eyelid to look hidden when eyes are open, which gives the eye a “hooded” appearance.

An older woman with hooded eyes that look quite droopy
Sviatlana Lazarenka/Getty Images

People of all ethnicities can have hooded eyes, but it’s important to note that they often get confused with monolid eyes or epicanthal folds, which are common for those of Asian descent. Hooded eyes are naturally caused by genetics or they can develop with age — see more on the later below. (Click through to learn more about hooded eyes.)

How aging causes hooded eyes

“The skin around your eyes is especially thin,” explains Elaina Badro, a celebrity makeup artist and founder of Elaina Badro Luxury Brush Line. As we get older, eyelids “can stretch from movement through the years, blinking and, yes, gravity,” she says. Plus, Badro notes that the muscles around the eye tend to become weaker as well, which can also contribute to skin sagging or folding around the eyes. (Click through to learn about how sanpaku eyes can help you spot a liar and TikTok’s obsession with the canthal tilt and it’s relationship to perceived attractiveness.)

How to use eyeliner when you have hooded eyes

The good news is that eyeliner can help take the focus off of hooded eyelids and create the illusion of bigger, more wide-awake eyes. Here, two tricks that do just that.

1. To take the focus off of hooded eyes: Create a cat eye wing

Woman holding an eyeliner and is about to created a cat eye wing, which is a trick to use eyeliner for hooded eyes
PeopleImages/Getty

Creating a flick or wing at the outer corner of the eyes with eyeliner helps optically elongate and highlight gorgeous eyes. It also directs attention outward and away from hooded lids so they are less noticeable and “pulls” eyes up to counteract any droopiness. However, it can be a bit tricky to create a cat eye wing on hooded eyelids, as the crease or “hood” can make the wing appear uneven.

“Make sure to keep eyeliner on hooded eyes at a minimum from the inner corner,” explains Badro. It’s best to start on the upper lash line directly above the center of the pupil, then “drag the liner outward and create a wing,” she notes. By not placing eyeliner near the inner corner, you keep more skin exposed on the eyelid, which visually widens and brightens eyes. It’s also best to keep the line on the thinner side as applying eyeliner in a thick line “shrinks” eyes and can emphasize hooded lids.

Grab a roll of Scotch tape to create winged eyeliner with ease

And to ensure eyeliner looks even, create a guide with Scotch tape, says celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff. Before applying eyeliner, place a 3″ piece of Scotch tape just below the outer corner of each eye at a slight angle, going up toward the temple. Then draw on eyeliner across the upper lash line and extend out past the outer corner of the eye along the top of the tape. The tape ensures the wing looks sharp and even on both sides.

For more tips to create winged eyeliner for hooded eyes, check out the below video from beauty YouTuber Smitha Deepak.

2. To make hooded eyes look wider and brighter: Apply white eyeliner to the waterline

Another way to make eyeliner for hooded eyes flattering is to use white eyeliner. This trick comes from beauty YouTuber Nikkia Joy, and she shares this hack along with other eye makeup tricks to use (and techniques to avoid) for hooded eyes in the video below.

Joy says the best way to use white eyeliner is to tightline. This technique involves lining the waterline (either on the upper or lower lash line) with an eyeliner pencil. While a black or brown eyeliner is the go-to for tightlining to emphasize eyes and make eyelashes look thicker, swapping to white eyeliner will make your eyes look more open and bright, which is key if you have hooded eyes.

The best eyeliners for hooded eyes

It’s not just about the technique when it comes to applying eyeliner for hooded eyes — it’s also about the product you use. For hooded eyes, it’s best to opt for an eyeliner that is liquid or has a creamy formula. This ensures eyeliner will glide on effortlessly so you’re not tugging on delicate eye skin. Read on for Badro’s favorite eyeliners that work best for hooded eyes.

Shu Uemura Calligraph:ink Black Pen
Shu Uemura

Shu Uemura Calligraph:ink Black Pen (Buy from Shu Uemura, $16); Shu Uemura Calligraph:ink Black Cartridge (Buy from Shu Uemura, $14)

“The applicator [of this eyeliner] runs so smooth allowing anyone to create an effortless liner look,” says Badro. And a liquid eyeliner pen makes it easy to hold so you can create a precise cat eye wing.

NYX white eyeliner
NYX/Amazon

NYX Retractable Long-Lasting Mechanical Eyeliner Pencil (Buy from Amazon, $6.47)

Want to try out the white eyeliner hack mentioned above to widen and illuminate eyes? This affordable one by NYX glides on smooth and is smudge-proof so the brightening effects will last all day.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil
Urban Decay/Sephora

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in Bourbon (Buy from Sephora, $25)

Since black can look harsh against mature skin, Badro suggests using a softer, more subtle brown shade. It still makes eyes pop and flatters all eye colors. Plus, this one has a hint of shimmer that helps eyes appear brighter and more awake in just a swipe.


For more eye makeup tips and tricks, click through these stories:

Makeup Pros: “Watercolor” Trick Reverses Years for Women Over 50 — And It’s So Easy

TikTok Says Your Canthal Tilt Determines How Attractive You Are — Beauty Pros Uncover the Grain of Truth In the Claim

Bette Davis De-Puffed Her Eyes Using Cucumber and Vaseline

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