The Secret to Perfect Eye Makeup: Knowing Your Eye Shape

How different styles of eye makeup look on you has a lot (if not everything) to do with the shape of your eyes. Knowing your eye shape is without a doubt THE secret to flawless eye makeup.

Think of it like you would clothing. If you’re a size 10, you’re not going to try to wear size 2 jeans. And if you have hooded eyes, you’re not going to highlight your brow like you would almond shaped eyes. You’ll know what I mean after you read this blog post, so keep reading to determine the shape of your eyes.

Deep Set Eyes

Deep set eyes are exactly what you would think: eyes that are set farther into the skull. Typically very large and set back, they give the illusion of a very prominent brow bone.


Celebrities with deep set eyes: Taylor Swift and Cameron Diaz

You can easily determine if you have deep set eyes by placing your index finger vertically over your eyelid. Touch the tip of your finger to your brow bone, with the palm resting on your cheek. If your eye remains open without you touching it, it’s likely have deep set eyes.

Tip: Since you have a prominent brow bone, you will want to use a beige or pink shadow (depending on your undertone) on your lid to brighten and diffuse the natural shadow caused by your brow bone. Also, be sure to apply a highlighting shade under the arch of your brow (on your brow bone).

This Mary Kay article provides some great tips for how to apply eye makeup for deep set eyes.

Wide Set Eyes

Eyes that are more than “one eyeball width” apart are considered wide set eyes. Side note: this is one of my favorite eye shapes. You can easily tell if you have wide set eyes by looking in the mirror, but you can also measure to be sure. The best thing about wide set eyes? They make you look younger!

Celebrities with wide set eyes: Jackie O and Michelle Pfeiffer

Tip: To create the illusion of closer eyes, you will need to master the art of liner application. Use a dark liner and line the top and bottom lash line as close to the inner eye as possible. Do not create a heavy line all over the lid, but instead start with a thin line close to the tear duct, pull it toward the outer eye and create a thicker line as you pull. And don’t forget to apply mascara to the baby lashes on your inner eye!

This Mary Kay article has some helpful tips on how to apply makeup on wide set eyes.

Close Set Eyes

The exact opposite of wide set eyes, these are, well, you guessed it: eyes that are closer than one eye width apart. You’ll typically want to make your eyes appear farther apart.


Celebrities with close set eyes: Rachel Bilson and Jennifer Aniston

Tip: Use shimmery (a frosty white, pink, or nude color) in the eye’s inner corner. This will catch the light, making your eyes look bigger and farther apart. Also be sure you apply multiple layers of mascara on outer lashes and lightly apply mascara on lashes closest to the inner eye.

Check out this Mary Kay tutorial for how to apply makeup on close set eyes.

Almond Eyes

If you can effortlessly pull off winged eyeliner, chances are you’ve got almond eyes. If you have almond shaped eyes, then you’re in luck. You have a shape that’s been linked to a standard of beauty for centuries. Hello… remember Cleopatra, anyone? How do you know if you have almond shaped eyes? Well, look in the mirror. If they’re shaped like almonds, well… Note: If you look straight into a mirror and you’re able to see the entire iris of your eyes, then you have round eyes. If part of your iris disappears under your lids, then you have almond shaped eyes. Lots of people have characteristics of other shapes and almond or round shaped eyes (i.e. “downturned round” or “upturned almond”). However, much of the application tips are similar regardless, which is why we’re going to focus on almond.


Celebrities with almond eyes: Jennifer Garner and Janet Jackson

Tip: Depending on the occasion, when it comes to jet black liner, you can go as bold as your heart desires. This shape is the easiest for applying eye makeup and following the natural contours of your eyes is the best way to go. NOTE: You will want to avoid putting liner on your lower lid. If you want to put liner on your waterline, that’s fine, but avoid any shadow under, as this will make your eyes look much smaller.

Monolid Eyes

Do your eyelids have a crease? If not, then you have what’s referred to as a monolid. Flat eyelids result in a less defined brow so, you’ll want to create somewhat of a gradient effect with your eyeshadow. And be sure to  appropriately blend to give definition and dimension to your eyes. Tight lined liner will have you turning heads whenever you walk into a room.


Celebrities with monolid eyes: Kim Yuna and Sandra Oh

Tip: You can get away with using a defining shadow brush for your “crease”. You’re going to create a gradient effect by applying a taupe or smokey beige shadow on your upper lash line and brush out toward the outer part of your eye, in a “sideways V” shape . Since you don’t have much of a crease, if any, you’re going to brush this shade almost all the way to the brow bone, stopping right below. Next, use a flatter shadow brush for a precise application of your darkest color. Brush your darkest color on the outside corner of the “V” shape as well as the lash line and blend. Then, shade a neutral color in the middle and blend with a soft shimmer color toward the inner part of your eye, lifting to the brow bone to create a highlight. Most importantly, ALWAYS remember to curl your lashes to create even more dimension.

Check out this blog post for some amazing eye makeup tips for monolid eyes.

Hooded Eyes

I guess this would be the exact opposite of a monolid. This shape has a fold of skin that “droops” or hangs over the natural crease, making the eyelids appear smaller. While most people experience this as they age, some people have hooded lids from birth. Look into the mirror and determine how much of your eyelid you can see. If it’s not much, it’s likely you have hooded eyes. By the way, the smokey eye was made for you.


Celebrities with hooded eyes: Blake Lively and Lucy Liu

Tip: Bold eye makeup looks best on this shape. Unlike most other eye shapes, hooded eyes should use darker shades on their lids. Lighter colors will draw attention to your lid, making the bagginess of your lid more apparent. Don’t neglect your lower lid! Be sure to pull your darker crease shadow out and slightly under your lid. Also, try not to over-highlight the brow bone. Doing so will only accentuate the hooded eyelid. Another key to opening your eyes up is white eyeshadow in the inner and outer corners. Consider something like eye bright from benefit if you’re turned off by the idea of white eye shadow.

Check out this article for even more tips on how to apply eye makeup on hooded eyes.

Downturned Eyes

If you have downturned eyes, you’re among some of the most beautiful women in history. If you have almond shaped eyes that tilt downward then you got it: You have downturned eyes.


Celebrities with downturned eyes: Marilyn Monroe and Katy Perry

Tip: You were meant to rock a “cat eye”. Use liquid eyeliner to create a thick, bold line and pull outward. When you extend the liner to the outer corner of the eye, shift your liner at a 45 degree angle to create the perfect winged liner.

This tutorial from Shiseido has some really great tips for applying makeup to downturned eyes.

Upturned Eyes

Okay, it’s getting a bit redundant now, and I doubt I even need to explain what upturned eyes are, but just in case, they are the opposite of downturned. With upturned eyes, the lower lid appears larger than the upper lid.


Celebrities with upturned eyes: Tiffany Hines and Angelina Jolie

Tip: Use your eye shadow to make the upper and lower lid more proportional. Apply a thin line of dark shadow and liner (often referred to as the “mirrored effect”) on the lower part of the eye to combat the lifted appearance.

Check out this article for some great tips on how to apply makeup on upturned eyes.

Protruding Eyes

Ramona Singer, is that you? Just kidding. Again, protruding eyes are just what you think they are. These eyes are typically large, round and stand out. They also give you plenty of space on the lid to play with. If your eyes appear to bulge from their socket, then it’s likely you have protruding eyes.


Celebrities with protruding eyes: Nichole Richie and Christina Ricci

Tip: Apply your liner thicker toward the outer lid/upper lash line, and thinner toward the inner eye. This will reduce the space on your projected lid. Blend neutral medium and dark shades on your lid to make it appear less prominent.

Read this post for more tips on makeup application for protruding eyes.

I’ll be sharing my “everyday” eye makeup tutorial this weekend on my YouTube, so be sure to check back.

For now, tell me: What’s your eye shape? Do you have any helpful tips for your specific eye shape?

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  • Kaley

    I can’t tell for sure which eye shape i have i feel like i have multiple different types i definitely think i have deep set though i can keep my eyes open doing that trick but my eyelashes bother me cause i have two sets and they are also very long

  • areebah

    I am pretty sure I have either deep set or close set eyes

  • anjewel

    I have downturned hooded eyelids. But my eyes are *tiny*. Smoky cat eye?

  • MishkaPampelishka

    I have almond, upturned, slightly hooded and slightly close-set eyes. Have been doing the same thing forever that has been making me look very asian (not complaining!), trying to figure out something new …

  • Dylan Propst

    Deep set almond shaped eyes. I usually use a black mascara (Lancôme Grandiose) and a matte taupe shadow in my crease to carve my eyes out a little more. I usually put a darker brown shadow towards the outer corners to define my eyes a little bit.

    • How do you like Lancôme Grandiose? I love the brush that comes with it!

      • Tinsley Proust

        The curved “swan neck” (eye roll) brush that it comes with is a life saver. No more mascara on your nose. The formula is super gloppy and it’s perfect if you like slightly clumpy lashes

  • LadyAsh

    I have…
    -deep set

    I might have hooded, but I don’t know 🙁 can someone explicitly explain it to me? i have a small upper lid that disappears somewhat under the skin below my brows

    I have no idea how to shape makeup on eyes, so i don’t use make up because it is too intimidating.

    • Feel free to email a photo of your eyes to if you’d like some help discovering your eye shape, and some tips on how to best apply makeup for your eye shape. 🙂

    • Caralynn

      From what I understand, if your eyes are hooded, you will have a crease but it is not visible when your eyes are open. Hope that helps!

  • hummus_tabouleh_kebab_baclava

    I have eyes like Christina Ricci. Deep set, Prominent, Big round eyes.

  • Anna

    Why are girls so obsessed with making their eyes look “upturned” or “wide awake” if downturned eyes are considered one of the most beautiful? I never make my eyeliner wing go up, I purposely make my eyes look downturned. I honestly find it’s way more beautiful that way!

    • EllieLo

      Historically, beauty is an indicator of health/fertility/virility/chances of producing next generation of offspring.

      When you look wide awake, you look alert/healthy. Personal preference is personal preference, but have you ever found you self instinctively finding someone attractive? Like, without analyzing why you find them attractive, have you ever just “felt” it? Odds are, if you have it’s probably because of the things I said above.

    • I agree! I think every eye shape is beautiful in its own way. Of course, everyone has different preferences and tastes and that’s what makes the world so great! 🙂

      • Anna

        I like your positivity hehe I guess it’s about whatever you believe compliments you best huh!

  • Alice

    I have deep set upturned almond monolid eyes??

    • It is definitely possible to have multiple eye shapes. I’m curious, does your eye have a crease? Feel free to post a photo or email me at and I’d be happy to help. 🙂

  • lolwa939

    Wow, this article was completely unhelpful. “I doubt I even need to explain what upturned eyes are” . . . Actually, explaining the specific characteristics of each type of eye is exactly what this article promised to do, and it did not deliver. Still confused about what type of eye I have. Will look elsewhere for someone who’s capable of communicating this information.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way. I said that I felt I didn’t need to explain what upturned eyes were because, as the name says, they are eyes that are upturned. However, I did continue to explain what upturned eyes are. Here’s exactly what I said, in case you missed it:

      “Okay, it’s getting a bit redundant now, and I doubt I even need to explain what upturned eyes are, but just in case, they are the opposite of downturned. With upturned eyes, the lower lid appears larger than the upper lid.”

      Best wishes in your journey to find exactly what eye shape you have.

    • Not to mention, I shared photos of each eye type. 🙂

  • nicole

    i have one almond shaped and one downturned eyelid am i considered lucky ?

  • MG

    I still can’t tell the difference in most of them…..I’m bad at this!

  • JadeEclypse

    Any tips for those of us that have deep set but upturned eyes?