Learn how to identify your eye shape, what makeup to use, and exactly where everything should go.
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Mastering eye makeup application can be tricky no matter what your eye shape. However, not knowing what your eye shape is can make it even more difficult. For example, someone with hooded eyes may not apply eyeliner the same way as someone with almond-shaped eyes because of the natural folds in their lids. Every eye shape requires different techniques to enhance the look of their eyes.

To help make things a little bit easier, we came up with tutorials to help you determine how to apply eye makeup. Each three-step tutorial features a basic look, but you can swap in darker shadows, add fake lashes, or layer on mascara for a more dramatic and party-ready style. Once you master these, you'll be set for the holidays—and every day.

How to determine your eye shape

Before learning the best techniques for your eye shape, you need to know how to determine your eye shape. Melissa Hurkman, a celebrity makeup artist, says you need to look straight into a mirror at eye level to figure this out.  

"When looking straight ahead, if you don't see a crease at all between your eyelash line and brow, this is considered a monolid," she says. "If there is a crease and it's covering a bit of your eyelid near your lash line, this is considered a hooded eye."

To determine whether you have downturned or upturned eyes, she recommends envisioning an invisible straight line that connects the pupils. "Notice where the end of your eye is in comparison to the "line" connected to your pupil." Is the line at the same angle and level of your pupil, or is it lower? 

"If the corners of your eyes are higher than the pupil line, you have upturned eyes," Hurkman explains. "If you have the corners connected to the pupil line, you have almond eyes, and if you have eyes that are below the pupil line, you have a downturned eye shape."

Best makeup for monolid shaped eyes
Credit: Photographs: Ryan Pfluger, Illustrations: The Elephant in the Room

How to apply makeup on monolids/hooded eyes

This eye shape is known for having little to no visible crease. Monolids have more lid space, while hooded shapes have less space, but a more pronounced browbone.

Step 1: Sweep a light shadow across the lid as a base.

"For monolids, my best advice is to do your eyeshadow while your eyes are open looking straight ahead," says Hurkman. "This will show you where your crease should be starting and stopping, and it will also help with blending."

Step 2: Apply a shimmery medium shade from the lash line up to the middle of the lid, where the crease would be.

"To make your eyes appear larger and more open, use concealer to cut the crease slightly above your natural crease," recommends Cara Lovello, a celebrity makeup artist. Do this before applying the shimmery shade.

Step 3: Define the upper lash line with a dark pencil.

Using a shadow in a similar shade, you can go over the pencil and blend upwards. Hurkman says when applying eyeliner on mono or hooded eyes, especially a wing liner, make sure you're looking straight ahead into the mirror to help you see where the line will sit. "Start the end of the wing with your eyes opened and start small over your actual eyelid," she says.

Best makeup for downturned shaped eyes
Credit: Photographs: Ryan Pfluger, Illustrations: The Elephant in the Room

How to apply makeup on downturned eyes

If you're in this category, the outer corners of your eyes droop slightly. It can be subtle or more noticeable.

Step 1: Apply a pearly shade across the lid.

Concentrate on the brow bone as this pulls the attention upwards.

Step 2: Sweep a medium matte shade onto the lash line.

Then, using a lighter matte shade, tap color onto the outer corner of the crease and blend.

Step 3: Starting at the inner corner, swipe on a dark liner.

Extend the line passed the outer corner, flicking the line up and out at the end. You can also try the floating eyeliner method. "This is a technique where you have a small gap between the outer corner of your eye and where your eyeliner wing starts," says Hurkman. "This gives the illusion of lifted eyes."

That said, if you want to emphasize and complement the downturned eye shape with your liner, let the eyeliner follow the natural shape of your eye, rounding around to the lower lash line, and smoke that out with a pencil eyeshadow brush, says Hurkman. "This will emphasize the ends of your eyes and will add a little bit of drama."

Best makeup for almond shaped eyes.
Credit: Photographs: Ryan Pfluger, Illustrations: The Elephant in the Room

How to apply makeup on almond eyes

The most common of the bunch, almond eyes are elongated, with slightly upswept outer corners.

Step 1: Sweep on a light shadow from lash line to brow bone.

Step 2: To add dimension, apply a medium shade along the upper lash line.

Subtly intensify the color at the outer corners for more drama.

Step 3: Finish by tight lining the upper and lower lash lines with a dark eyeliner.

Best makeup for round shaped eyes
Credit: Photographs: Ryan Pfluger, Illustrations: The Elephant in the Room

How to apply makeup on rounded eyes

Ever been told you have big eyes? This is your shape. With more white space around the pupils, you don't need much makeup to look awake.

Step 1: Dust the entire lid with a nude shadow.

This will neutralize any shadows or redness.

Step 2: Using a liquid liner, draw a thin line as close to the lashes as possible.

Repeat on the bottom, if desired. If you want to enlongate the shape of your eyes, Lovello says to start your liner on the outer third part of the eyelid, instead of taking the wing across the whole eyelid.

Step 3: Gently drag a flesh-tone pencil across the waterline.

That's the fleshy part of the lower lid that sits between the lashes and the eye. This exaggerates the whites of your eyes and makes them appear brighter.

By Jenny Jin and Genesis Rivas