Our beauty writer recently wrote about how, for years, she used eyeliner to cover up her insecurity over her small eyes, while Kristen Bell told us she refers to her eyes as “small and ferret-like.” In many ways, girls with small eyes seem to have gotten the short end of the stick—eye makeup requires a completely different technique, mascara smudges on our top lid, and don’t even get us started on eyeliner. The perfectly flicked cat-eye that looks amazing on our round-eyed sisters just doesn’t translate the same way on smaller, hooded lids. Sigh.
But before you throw your liners out at the injustice of it all, hear us out—we have a solution. Six, in fact. We spoke with Gregory Arlt, MAC Cosmetics’ director of makeup artistry, at the opening of the brand’s first-ever fashion-centric store in Beverly Hills (which, by the way, has an 80-square-foot private makeup room) and asked for his tips for those of us with eyes more almond than grape-shaped. Keep scrolling for six eyeliner tricks every girl with small eyes should know!
Not all liner is used to define. Some, like a flesh-toned, nude pencil, can open up your eyes and make them look wider. “Using a nude or pale eye pencil, like MAC’s Chromagraphic Pencil ($16) in NC15/NW20, on your inner waterline will make your eye appear larger,” Arlt says. Also, try Tarte’s Inner Rim Liner ($19) or Stila’s Kajal Eye Liner ($18) in Topaz.
Not all lines have to be precise. According to Arlt, a little smudging never hurt, especially if you have smaller eyes. “If you line the bottom of your eyes with pencil right at the lash line, then smudge a little into the outer corners, it will make your eyes appear larger and wider,” he says.
“I love pencils that have been slightly smudged, or [using shadow] as liner,” Arlt says. “Liquid liners can look a bit abrupt and tight, making the eyes look even smaller.” For a softer look, try wetting your favorite brown shadow and applying it with an angled eyeliner brush.
Now that you’ve mastered these eyeliner tricks, click here to find out how to apply makeup for your eye shape!