The Best Eyeliner for Your Eye Shape

Eliner is not your basic makeup staple. It’s the one product that can make or break your entire eye makeup look--transforming it from nice to naughty, subtle to dramatic. It’s the one product that can shape-shift your eyes, giving the illusion they’re more lifted, wider, smaller, rounder. It’s the one product that comes in many forms--all of them bringing equal amounts of awesome, but each requiring the steady hand of a surgeon and the skill of a makeup artist. And let’s face it, it’s the one product that can instill both fear and fearlessness in our beauty minds. Which explains why we wish we could live without it, but alas, we cannot. 

Why all the discussion? Well, eyeliner can help elevate your look in more ways than one. And just like skin tone and hair type, not all eyes were created equal. Almond-shaped, monolid, hooded, round—we’ve all been born with a different set of peepers that require unique needs and products to best accentuate them. The same way your brows are tailored to best suit your face shape, your eyeliner should also be tailored to flatter your eye shape! Makes sense, doesn’t it? Why line your lids with no rhyme or reason when you can create a look that’s meant just for you? After all, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all in the eyeliner department. We consulted with makeup guru Emily Oliver to get the products and looks that are just right for you!


almond eyes


Almond Eyes

Now, almond eyes can often be confused with round eyes. So how do you know if you’re rocking the almond shape? Check out your irises. If they are slightly covered along the top and bottom edges by your lids, you have an almond shape. 

While just about any eyeliner look will flatter your eyes, you can play up your almond shape by drawing a very thin line from the inner corners and intensifying the thickness as you near the outer corners. Oliver suggests, “Taking a pigmented liquid liner, like the Lancôme Grandiôse Liner, and pressing into the lash line, following the natural shape. Since almond eyes generally go upward at the ends, keep the liner close and clean with a tiny upward flick.” For a soft, smoky look, line your lower lash line as well and smudge both the top and bottom outer corners a bit. 

More Recommended Makeup Looks: When trying eye makeup looks on almond eyes, the key is to enhance what you’ve got. Try a basic contouring technique that involves using a lighter shade on the lid and a darker, more intense shade on the outer crease to highlight your lovely almond shape.


hooded eyes


Hooded Eyes

News flash: Hooded eyes and monolids are NOT one in the same. In fact, a hooded eye shape (or what Oliver likes to call “bedroom eyes”) is the exact opposite of a monolid, as a lid is in fact present—it just droops or hangs over the natural crease of the eye, making it difficult for you to see your crease. 

If you have hooded eyelids, thin liner looks are harder to see—which means a thick, bold wing will give your eye added definition. Oliver recommends a waterproof, smudge-resistant liner like Maybelline New York Unstoppable Eyeliner to ensure makeup doesn’t disappear into your lid or smear! “Push the liner into the lash line to keep the product from going too far on the lid,” she says. You can also emphasize your lashes to make your eyes appear larger by tightlining your upper lash line and piling on the mascara. 

More Recommended Makeup Looks: Hooded eyes can sometimes give you a “sleepy” look. Counteract that with a wide-awake effect, courtesy of strategically placed highlighter. Apply a champagne or silvery beige shade into the inner corners of the eyes and the brow bone. Blend out the product so it looks natural.


downturned eyes


Downturned Eyes

Downturned eyes are pretty self-explanatory. They take on an almond-like shape, but dip or droop down at the outer corners. 

When it comes to your downturned eye shape, the trick is in faking a lift!  “Start the line much higher than you would think—try leaning your head back, and making a line that goes 45 degrees from the middle of the eye outward toward the temple,” suggests Oliver. An upward flick of the liner at the outermost corner will instantly give your eyes an open and lifted appearance. Try an all-day, super-precise liquid liner that will keep your eyes lifted longer (we love NYX Epic Ink Liner). 

More Recommended Makeup Looks: Enlist the help of bright, contrasting colors to make your downturned eye look lifted. Try a sunset-inspired eye look that blends a soft pinkish-red on the lid with a tangerine orange above the crease. This will literally light up your eyes! 


upturned eyes


Upturned Eyes

What’s the opposite of a downturned, slightly drooping eye shape? A slightly lifted, upturned one, of course! The eyes draw upward at the outer corners, making them look slightly tilted. 

While upturned eyes are similar to almond, your lower lid seems to be more prominent than your top lid. Oliver says the key is to enhance the natural symmetry and shape of the eyes. Do this by lining the upper and lower lash line and applying a thicker line at the outer corner of your lash line—then, slightly diffuse with a smudger. Don’t try to minimize your upturned shape or to give the illusion that they’re more downturned, instead follow the shape. Try a liner like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner that can line perfectly, and be easily buffed out with a finger or smudge brush. 

Recommended Makeup Looks: Try complimenting your upturned eyes by adding some color and definition to the lower lash line. Have some fun by rocking a bright neon shade along the lower lash line and buffing it out.


round eyes


Round Eyes

If you have round eyes your peepers are equally curved on the upper and lower lids, creating a naturally wide-eyed look. Plus you can see the whites of your eyes all the way around your iris, when looking straight ahead. 

When it comes to the most flattering eyeliner look, the goal is to elongate the width of your eye shape to create balance. “I love to use a pencil liner (try Giorgio Armani Smooth Silky Eye Pencil) and place it right next to the lashes,” says Oliver. Play up the outer corners with an elongated cat eye to create the illusion of length. For a more dramatic look, smudge a product like Maybelline New York Master Kajal along your upper and lower lash line. “This makes for a beautiful and easy look without adding more roundness to the eyes,” says Oliver 

More Recommended Makeup Looks: When working with round eyes, the key is to keep most of the party on top. In other words use the most vivid and intense shades on the top lashline and outer corners. Try this dusty taupe eye shadow tutorial on for size to make your doll-like eyes really pop!


small eyes


Small Eyes

No explanation needed here, right? And while the overall goal is to expand your eye shape, going overboard on the product can actually work against you and make your eyes appear smaller. 

There’s a simple solution to making your small eyes appear larger--line your waterline with either a nude or white liner (try NYX White Liquid Liner). Steer clear from using black on your waterline as it will make your eyes appear even smaller—then thinly draw a winged line from the outer corner working your way in. “I tend to keep product on the top lid only,” says Oliver. However, if you’re a stickler for all-over liner, go for it. Just line your bottom lash line and smudge the color a little in the outer corners to make your eyes appear wider! 

More Recommended Makeup Looks: Make those eyes look large and in charge (even if they’re not), by trying a metallic smoky eye that’s subtle, yet bold. This will enhance the shape or your eyes!


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