Doe Eyes Are Taking Over TikTok—Here's a Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Look

The actor Sydney Sweeney in doe eye makeup


We love a good viral TikTok beauty moment, and the latest one we've bookmarked is the doll-like "doe eyes" trend seen on the red carpet worn by celebs such as Sydney Sweeney and Zooey Deschanel.

When re-creating doe eyes, think of them as slightly more innocent looking than smoky, sultry eye makeup. Doe eyes tend to look wider and more open due to a few special tricks with liner and lashes, emphasizing a rounder eye shape. For anyone looking to get the look, keep scrolling for top tips and an easy-to-follow tutorial.

composite photo of steps to doe eyed makeup

How to Prepare

The first (and most important) step is to prep your lids with an eyeshadow primer before applying makeup. This will help your shadow and liner last throughout the day no matter what type of lids you have, but especially if your lids are oily—lids on the oiler side can cause eyeshadow to crease. Take a small amount of eyeshadow primer, like Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($25), and apply it to the lids in a sweeping motion until the primer is dry.

How to Create a Doe Eye Makeup Look

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Start With a Neutral Eyeshadow

Woman applies a neutral eyeshadow to her eyelids

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After your primer has dried, apply a matte, neutral shadow all over the lid up to the brow bone as your base. You can use a fluffy eyeshadow brush, moving it in a circular motion to blend and distribute the shadow with an even finish.

The key is to start with a small amount of shadow and blend until you get the desired tone versus going in with something more saturated. Tarte Cosmetics' Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette ($42) has several suitable shade options for this step—you can wear a singular shade or mix a few to get the right color. For a fluffy eyeshadow brush that blends easily, try Mac Cosmetics' 224s Synthetic Tapered Blending Brush ($34).

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Pop the Center

Woman applies eyeshadow to her eyelid

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After your shadow has been blended to your satisfaction, apply a lighter-toned eyeshadow in the center of your eyelid. This will build the rounder, doe-eyed shape by attracting attention to the middle instead. You can use a shimmery or matte finish shadow, whichever suits your preference. Apply the shadow in the center with your finger or a brush until it's noticeable enough to stand out from the base shadow color.

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Apply Your Eyeliner—Carefully

Woman applies makeup to her lower lash line

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How you apply your eyeliner is paramount when it comes to creating doe eyes, and it will be slightly different than what you're used to. With most eyeliner application techniques, the liner usually angles upward at the end of the lashes to elongate. You'll do the opposite here, applying liner to the top lid and bringing the end down slightly to work on rounding out the shape. Don't extend the liner too far down, and if you find that the edge is sharper than you want it, you can blend it with your finger or a brush to diffuse it. Thrive Causemetics' Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner ($22) is malleable and applies well on the lid, and will stay put. You can also use eyeshadow on a domed-shape brush, such as the e.l.f. Precision Smudge Brush ($6).

When applying liner to the bottom lashline, place it in the center and draw it outward to the edge, lightly blending as you go. As long as the round shape is maintained, you can experiment with how far you apply it. Want to intensify your liner just a touch? Once you've applied the pencil liner, you can go over it with liquid liner for a more defined look.

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Accent the Waterline and Add Highlighter

Woman applies white eyeshadow to her waterline

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Now it's time to accent the waterline by applying a brightening white liner to the inner rim. This helps the eyes appear wider and more alert. Take your pencil and gently glide it along the inside of the bottom waterline a few times until the white is visible.

Once your liner looks the way you want it to, it's time to add highlighter. You can use a powder or liquid formula highlighter for this, whichever you prefer. Add a touch of highlight under the brow bone, on the inner corner of the eyes, and, if you want, on top of the lighter shadow you've applied on the center of the lids and under the bottom lashes. This will reflect light in all the right places and instantly elevate your doe-eyed look.

Another benefit of using white liner? It helps instantly brighten tired eyes and distract from any redness.

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Pump Up Your Lashes

Woman applies mascara to her lashes

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You can wear mascara or falsies with the doe-eyed makeup look; it's up to you. Start by curling the lashes a few times to make sure they will look voluminous, and then apply two to three coats of a lifting mascara, like the Rose Inc. Black Lash Lift Serum Mascara ($28), to get as much volume as possible. Wiggle the wand at the bottom of the lashes and move it upward to thicken and ensure each lash is covered.

If you want to wear false eyelashes, you can hold them up to your lashes and see where they might need to be trimmed to fit before application. Once you've sorted the length, apply glue to the lashes and lightly place them on top of your natural eyelashes where mascara has been applied. Love Seen's Aloe Lashes ($19) give great volume and are tapered for a rounder shape. You can easily press them onto your natural eyelashes using the Lash Tool ($20) for easy application. To help blend false eyelashes in with your real ones, you can apply another coat of mascara to the false lashes to keep them looking natural.

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The Final Look

Final doe eye makeup look

D Mills / Byrdie

And there you have it: The perfect doe-eye makeup look.

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