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Does Eyeliner Make Your Eyes Look Smaller? Here’s a Trick For You

There are makeup hacks for everything — hacks to create a perfect Cupid’s bow, hacks to reshape your eyebrows and even hacks to make your eyes look bigger and brighter. If you’re having trouble mastering that last one, several reasons could be to blame. Maybe you go overboard with eyeliner, or perhaps you apply too much dark, smouldering eyeshadow. Ahead, we rounded up seven makeup mistakes that are making your eyes look smaller — and how to fix them.  Racheal Bebe’s Semi permanent makeup near Melbourne.

Less is often more. We know it’s easy to get swept up in the notion of more significant being better, but when it comes down to using makeup to enhance your features, especially the eyes, you might be going overboard. 

We all know that eyeliner and mascara are easy ways to make your eyes look bigger. The problem arises when we use them wrongly or excessively. Take a look at these five makeup mistakes to ensure you’re on the right track to bigger and bolder eyes.

There are lots of easy tricks you can do with eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, and highlighter to make eyes seem more significant and more wide awake. I learned a lot of these techniques myself through trial and error over the years. I made a lot of mistakes when I was a teenager that ended up making my eyes look smaller. Circling each eye with thick black eyeliner was not a good look for me, but unfortunately, I persevered anyway. Now that I know better, I generally follow these steps when I do my eye makeup.

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There are lots of different reasons to wear makeup. It can be fun to play with, allowing one to experiment with different colours and beauty looks. Of course, makeup can also be used to enhance one’s natural beauty. If there’s anything about your features that you would like to improve or change without all the trouble of plastic surgery, makeup’s got your back. I’m certainly not saying that small eyes need to be made to look bigger, but if it’s something you want to try out, I’m here to help.

By keeping the liner a little lower, you create the illusion that your lids’ eyes are bigger than they are, and the stopping-half-way things keep them from looking closed in. It’s less dramatic and smoky than going all the way around, but, hey, if you’ve been struggling with liner for a while, it’s a good place to start.

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Not Applying Eye Shadow Primer

If you have dry skin, choose a cream primer. Women with oily skin will have better results using a powder primer. Apply this base shadow with your fingertips or a small powder brush immediately before using tinted eye shadow and liner.

This step will prevent the liner from smudging and eye shadow from creasing, giving you long-lasting and oil-free wear. It absorbs skin oils to avoid eye makeup melt-down.

Lining Your Waterline With Black Eyeliner

Eyeliner can make your eyes look bigger or smaller, depending on how you apply it and what shade you choose. Rimming your eyes in inky black liner makes them look tinier than they are. Instead, make your eyes look wide awake with a white or nude-coloured liner like the IT Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Anti-Aging Gel Eyeliner in Highlight. A light colour opens up your eyes, making them look larger. You can certainly use black eyeliner, just avoid lining the inner rims of your eyes.

While it is true that black eyeliner is a great way to make your eyes look larger, the lower waterline is a different story. Keeping that area dark can make your eyes look squinty, especially if they’re smaller. The trick is to brighten the area is using a nude or white liner on the inner corner of your lower waterline. You can use eyeliner on the outer edge of your lower lashes (not the waterline), but just keep it to the outer third.

Lining your lower waterline with a nude eyeliner is one of the most natural tricks in the beauty bible. You can use a white pencil liner for a dramatic difference, but we prefer a beige liner, which looks more natural and has the same effect.

The liner doesn’t last long on the lower waterline – probably because you blink about 1500 times a day – so take your liner out with you and reapply whenever you pop to the bathroom.

Wearing Too Many False Lashes

This almost seems impossible, right? Well, if you’re a faux lash queen, going overboard with the extensions or stacking on strips can make your lids appear heavy. For a bright-eyed look, opt for a natural, wispy set. You can even use a single eyelash for a customized effect.

Unless you’re wearing false lashes for a dramatic flair, you should avoid long sweeping lashes that fan out at the corners. The ideal falsies to flatter your eyes are lashes that are the longest just under the arch of your eyebrows. 

Skipping Mascara If Your Eyelashes Are Sparse

Sadly, we’re not all blessed with naturally lush lashes. If yours are on the short or sparse side (or both!), your makeup mistake maybe not coating them in a lengthening mascara. We like IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. A couple of coats of this magical stuff can transform the appearance of your eyes. 

We all know mascara makes a massive difference to our eyes, so imagine how bomb the right pair of false lashes can look. With false lashes, you must find the right style to flatter your eye shape: Depending on whether you have almond, round, hooded or deep-set eyes, each needs a different lash. Otherwise, you run the risk of making your eyes look smaller. Check out our guide to choosing the right lashes here.

Not Curling Your Eyelashes

You may never be one to forget to apply mascara, but do you curl your lashes first? If not, you’re missing out. A good curl before every mascara application opens up the eyes. 

Yes, longer eyelashes can make your eyes look wider, but only if they curl upwards. Asian eyelashes tend to grow straight out, which can cast a shadow on your eyes. Simply using a lengthening mascara without curling your lashes first can make them look heavy and cast an even more unflattering shadow.

Curling lashes will uplift the eye area, decreasing lid height and allowing outer corners of eyes to look upturned. Mascara holds the curl in place and adds thickness, which helps visually shrink the surface of lids.

If you are heading out to a special event (especially one where pictures will be taken), consider applying fake lashes or a few individual lashes. Depending on the look you want to achieve, false lashes can hide large lids and visually reshape the entire eye. For example, if you attach a few individual lashes to the center of your lids, your eyes will appear less almond-shaped and more round. If you apply some lashes to the outer corners of the lash line, eyes will look longer, skinnier, and less round.

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Applying a Smoky Eye the Wrong Way for Your Eye Shape 

Creating the perfect smoky-eye look takes skill, practice and lots of patience. For some eye shapes (like a hooded or deep-set), applying dark shadow all over can accentuate your top lid and make it look sunken or heavy. The right smoky eye should make your eyes look big, bold and dramatic. Here’s how to master the perfect smoky eye look for your eye shape.  

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Whether you’re going for a natural look or a smokey eye, tailor your eyeshadow to the look and define your crease. If you’re doing a no-makeup-makeup look, you can use a light brown shade in the crease, which adds dimension to the eye. Slowly build up the eyeshadow with a soft fluffy brush for a natural look (dark lids can make the eyes look smaller).

Choose a deep shade of eye shadow and use a brush to sweep onto the outer corners of lids, blending in toward the center. Use any shade as long as it is in the dark/deep colour range. Earth tones work best for some skin tones, while jewel tones compliment others. For a daytime look, try using shimmery brown or plum colour. For night time, navy blue, gunmetal grey, or smoky black will create a sultry look.

The darker the colour, the less light will reflect off the surface of the eyelid, making them appear smaller. Think of it as the equivalent of wearing a fitted black T-shirt versus a ruffled white peasant shirt. The black shirt will visually diminish your body size. The white shirt will accentuate it and make you appear heavier.

Using dark eye shadow is an essential step if you are trying to minimize large eyelids. Dark colours will shade in the area, visually diminishing the width and height of the eyelid. To achieve a bright-eyed look, use soft, shimmery contrast colours on the lid’s mid-center and extend to inner corners.

Whether you’re trying out a smoky eye or just extending your eyeliner, apply your makeup in a way that lifts your face. Avoid extending your eyeliner downwards, and clean up any eyeshadow that lands outside of where your winged eyeliner will go. If you want a smoky eye, try keeping the dark shades to just the outer third, so it doesn’t look overwhelming.

Applying the Wrong Eyeliner for Your Eye Shape

In that same vein, you should also consider your eye shape when you use eyeliner. If it’s too thick, has too big of a wing or goes all around your eye, it can minimize the appearance of your eyes. You want your liner to lift and make the eyes pop. Get it right with these eyeliner tips for every eye shape.

Winged eyeliner can also help create the illusion of bigger eyes. If you have smaller eyes, it’s better to avoid heavy eyeliner on your upper lid, as this can make it look smaller. Instead, you can draw a very thin line above your lashes, tapering the eyeliner outwards from the last third of your lashes to create a subtle flick.

This step is optional, but you will find it exceptionally helpful if you have down-turned or almond-shaped “sleepy” eyes. Nothing makes you look tired or uninterested more than eyes that end in a downward slope.

Take a liquid eyeliner pen (or liner brush and gel or cream liner) and apply it to the upper lash line, extending the colour out 1/4 inch from where your eyelid ends. Since it’s very difficult to explain the proper application technique for a winged liner in words, check out the above video for a simple tutorial. Makeup artist Emily Susanah shows her “winged eye liner” evolution & highlights techniques to create the perfect wing.

Skipping Concealer When You Have Dark Circles 

Darkness under your eyes from lack of sleep, stress or genetics can detract from the size of your eyes. Luckily, the solution is a simple one: concealer. A formula like the Maybelline New York Super Stays Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer instantly brightens up the eye area and neutralizes dark circles. 

Bright eyes not only make your eyes look more awake, but they also open up your eyes. Choose a shade of concealer a shade or two lighter, or if you have dark circles, use a peach-toned concealer, which will cancel out purple undertones. Baking under your eyes will also add brightness and help to keep your eyeliner from smudging throughout the day. Just apply a thick coat of translucent powder underneath your eye area after concealer, and let it sit for three to five minutes. Afterward, dust it off using a clean, fluffy brush.

Simply put, shadows tend to make things look smaller. There’s also the fact that evening out your skin tone by concealing your under eyes makes your lower lashes look better. Consider colour-correcting your dark circles with a deeper warm peachy concealer before using a brightening under eye concealer.

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Not Framing your face

A clean pair of brows is so essential for creating balance and harmony of the face, but also for accentuating your eyes. Check out our guide to find the right brow shape to suit your face shape here.

Instead of bringing the tale of your brow downwards at the end, elongate it so that the tip flares out towards your ears, which will help to lift the brow for a more youthful appearance.

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Don’t forget your lower lash line

Adding mascara to your lower lashes will also open up the eyes for a wide, doe-eyed look: For a softer look, you can use brown mascara, or even coloured mascara if you like. Adding a little eyeliner to the outer corner of your lower lash line will also help to elongate your eyes. Stick to the outer third of your eye, and use a soft brown eyeshadow to smoke it out, which will make the eye look wider – harsh lines can make the eyes look smaller.

Highlight like a pro

The highlighter doesn’t just give life to your cheekbones, and it’s one of the best tricks for opening up your eyes too. Use it on your brow bone (which will lift your brow), on the inner corners of your eyes to open them up, and on the very center of the lid to make your eyes pop.

The main thing you want to remember when trying to make large eyes look smaller is to visually cut down the surface area of the eyeball and lid. In the five steps below, you’ll see the word “visually” mentioned several times. We will learn shading techniques that trick the onlooker into seeing your eyes as smaller than they are.

Think of this visual minimization as the equivalent of wearing a simple black and white dress versus a pleated white peasant dress. Black reflects no light and will visually diminish your body size, which is why so many people love to wear black! The colour of a white dress makes your body appear broader and heavier. Following similar rules when applying eye shadow will subtract from the surface area of large eyes, giving them a smaller appearance.

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