The Right Way to Apply Eyeliner for Your Eye Shape

woman with winged liner

Imaxtree

Finding the best eyeliner for your eye shape is a crucial step, but it's often overlooked. Many of us just apply eyeliner because it's how our mum/friend/favourite celebrity applies it, but finding the look that best suits you can have a transformative effect on your face. It can help open up close-set eyes, give the illusion of eyelids if yours are hooded or even make your eyes look bigger. If the eyes really are the windows to the soul, you'll want to make sure they are dressed to perfection. We called on our friends over at Eyeko (masters of eye makeup) to put forward the makeup artist they think really knows their stuff when it comes to eyeliner. Enter Celia Burton, who has offered up her tips for lining any eye, whatever the shape.

Keep scrolling to identify your eye shape from the illustrations below, then find out which liner look you should try switching to.

best for almond-shaped eyes

best eyeliner for eye shape
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"You're in luck with an almond eye; its versatile shape means you can get away with all sorts of different makeup looks," says Burton. "I think my favourite for almond eyes, though, would be a classic cat eye. Use Eyeko's Black Magic Liquid Liner Pen (£16) to apply a thin line on the inner corner, and make it thicker as your work your way out. Extend it outwards, and lift to create a flick."

best for deep-set eyes

best eyeliner for eye shape
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"With a deep-set eye, you don't want to apply anything too dark or heavy on the centre of the lid and lash line," advises Burton. "The best type of eyeliner for this shape is one that starts on the outer section. Start applying the liquid liner at the highest point of your eye's curve, and drag outwards. Stop the liner just after your lashes do. If you make the liner too long, it will weigh the eye down when what we want is to open and lift it!"

best for monolid eyes

best eyeliner for eye shape
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"With a monolid, you should extend the liner right out, almost as far as the eyebrow. Be sure to exaggerate the wing too—give it a good flick! This will give your eyes the most shape and definition," suggests Burton. "Since you can't see much of the eyelid, you can make this as thick as you like or even apply it in a colour other than black."

best for large eyes

best eyeliner for eye shape
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"If you have large round eyes, an eyeliner can be used to gently manipulate the shape and intensify the eye. Line the upper lid, keeping the thickness the same throughout. Don’t extend too far; cut the liner off at the end of your lash line," warns Burton. "Using a soft pencil [ed. note: Try Nyx Tres Jolie Gel Pencil Liner, £9], line the upper and lower water line to really intensify the eye, close in on some of the space and brighten the colour of your eye at the same time."

best for downturned eyes

best eyeliner for eye shape
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"A downturned eye needs to be drawn up and out instead of out and down," says Burton. "You'll need to really exaggerate the flick, giving it a dramatic angle at the end. Try dragging the liner across the eye, outward and upward; then look straight ahead into a mirror. Uses a moist cotton bud, and wipe upward underneath the outer corner of the line to clean the edge and create the angle. This way you work out the right shape for you with your eyes open, thus saving time and having to reapply it a few times to get it right."

best for close-set eyes

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"With a close-set eye, you need to keep the inner half of your eyelid clean to create more space between the eyes. Apply a thin line, starting from the middle and moving outwards, keeping it very close to the lashes," advises Burton. "Give it a little flick, but nothing too dramatic. Make this more interesting with loads of mascara on the outer lashes; try Eyeko's Black Magic Mascara (£19) to add length and drama."

best for wide-set eyes

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

"A wide-set eye requires a similar approach to that of a large eye shape. You can close in on some of the space by using a dark colour along the lash line and in the water line," suggests Burton. "Start right at the tear duct, and pull the eyeliner across and out, lifting it with a good flick at the edge. Do the same underneath the eye; line it close to the lash line, and smudge it with a cotton bud before it dries. Not many eyes can get away with what you can, so apply enthusiastically and enjoy it!"

FAQ
  • How do you apply winged eyeliner for deep set eyes?

    If you have deep set eyes, your eyes sit back into your brow bone when you look at your profile from the side. Winged eyeliner looks great on deep set eyes —as long as you follow a few rules. Use a liquid eyeliner to apply a thin line just above your lash line. As you come to the corner, make it a bit thicker and add a thin winged line going up. In general, keep the eyeliner thin, as thick eyeliner will make your eyes look more deep set. To further open up your eyes, don’t put eyeliner on your bottom lid. 

  • How do you use eyeliner to make small eyes appear bigger?

    For those with small eyes that want that doe-eyed look, start by applying a thin line right above your lash line, winging it at the outer corners. To your lower lid, line just the outer third of your lash line. Use a beige eyeliner on your waterline to really brighten your eyes. Finish off by using an eyelash curler and mascara to open up your eyes.

  • Should you put eyeliner on your bottom lid?

    Yes, but sparingly. Use a light hand to apply liner to the outer portion of your eyelid. Don’t apply thick liner all the way across as it can make your eyes appear heavy and smaller. Use a beige eyeliner on your waterline to further brighten and open up your eyes. An eye pencil is easier to use than a gel or liquid liner, as the line doesn’t need to be perfect.

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