Understanding Eye Shapes

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Understanding Eye Shapes
As a professional makeup artist, you will be required to work with not only
all the different eye shapes, but with a combination eye shapes as well
(deep-set hooded eyes, close-set deep-set eyes, etc). Knowing and
being able to determine each eye shape is one thing, but knowing what
look will work with each eye shape and what you need to “fix” first with
combination eye shapes is another matter entirely.
Let’s review the definition of each eye shape, what look(s) work best with
each eye shape, and go over an Order of Importance checklist to help
you determine what you need to take into consideration first when
working with combination eye shape eyes.
Basic Eye
Definition: A basic eye shape is when you or someone else can see the lid
from corner to corner while looking directly at the eyes, as well as a
crease. A basic eye’s lid is even with the brow bone and when you look
from the side, the eyes are pretty even.
Looks that work: the great thing about a basic eye is that it can wear any
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Hooded Eye
Definition: If you do not see any lid all the way across when looking
straight ahead at the eyes then the eyes are definitely hooded. An eye is
considered hooded any time the crease hangs over the lid.
Looks that work: A smoky eye is a perfect look on a hooded eye. The goal
with a hooded eye is to push the lid away and a smoky eye will do just
that! Keep in mind, when doing a smoky eye on a hooded eye, to be
really careful with the highlight. If you highlight your brow bone too much,
it will make it look puffy.
An Audrey Hepburn eye does not work on a hooded eye because the
hood will sit on top of the line.
Prominent Eye
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Definition: An eye is considered prominent when the eye extends out from
the face.
Looks that work: A prominent eye should basically only do a smoky type of
application. In other words you always need to darken, not lighten, your
lid! However, the color doesn’t need to be a dark smoky color, it just needs
to be deeper than flesh toned.
You can do a line like an Audrey Hepburn eye, but you need the lid to be
dark to push it away. Remember, the lid needs no highlight, just color!
Deep-set Eye
Definition: If you were to look from the side, and the eyes sit back further
than the brow bone, then you (or your client) have deep-set eyes. With
deep-set eyes, the browbone comes out further than the eye, making the
eye look recessed and deep.
Looks that work: You cannot do a smoky eye on a deep-set eye; however,
an Audrey eye works great on a deep-set eye, and basic shadow
application works too.
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Close-set Eye
Definition: If the eyes are less than one eye width apart, they are close-set
Looks that work: With close-set eyes you can do a smoky eye, but you
have to make sure to highlight the inside corner of the eye. You have to
highlight around the inside corner at all times because the highlight will
pull the eyes apart. It may be helpful to extend the smoky, dark color out
to pull the eyes apart even more.
An Audrey eye works perfect on close-set eyes.
Wide-set Eye
Definition: If the eyes are more than one eye width apart, they are wideset eyes.
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Looks that work: A wide-set eye can do a smoky eye with no problem.
Actually, you may want to have that smoky, dark color be deeper on the
inside than you normally would. You never want to highlight the inside
corner, but you want that dark color to come all the way across.
An Audrey eye will work on wide-set eyes, but keep in mind that with the
midtone, you still want three layers on the inside corner so it helps pull the
eye together. When you apply the liner, don’t pull it out too far. Turn up a
little sooner than you would on a basic eye so you don’t drag it out,
making it look even wider.
Droopy Eye
Definition: A droopy eye looks just like a basic eye except it turns down in
the outer corner.
Looks that work: You can do a smoky eye and an Audrey eye on droopy
eyes, but you still do not want to connect the outer corner with color. If
the corners did meet, it would accentuate the fact that the eyes are
droopy even more.
You can also do a retro smoky eye on droopy eyes. This means that the
eye is smoky on top, but has no color on the bottom.
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As Far As Age Goes
No matter how old you are, you can wear a smoky eye! Smoky is not
about being dark and black. Smoky is an application technique; it is a
gradation of color (darkest at the base, fading away as you go out). As
you age, you may choose to smoke with a lighter shade or a color like a
soft purple or brown.
Keep in mind you don’t want a harsh, heavy black or charcoal gray. As
we age, we want to lighten up with our shades, we don’t want them to
be quite as deep as when we are young; however, I don’t want to limit
anyone because I might meet someone who is 70 years old and a dark
smoky eye is still completely appropriate because it works on her.
Use your best judgment as far as what works for you and your age. Never
be afraid to try something new. Worst case scenario: it’s just makeup!
Wash it off! Experiment and have fun.
Combination Eyes
You may have a deep-set hooded eye, a close-set hooded eye, a
hooded droopy eye...whatever the case may be, it is difficult to be
specific about what you should do unless I see the combination.
However, what I can do is give you a list of order of importance (what
trumps what).
Order of Importance:
1. Hooded: Hooded trumps every other part of the combination. The hood
is closing the eye in and we don’t want that!
2. Deep-set: Deep-set trumps everything other than a hood. If you don’t
concentrate on the deep set, you may end up pushing everything
back into the head.
3. Prominent: Prominent trumps everything but deep-set and hooded.
Worry about prominent before you worry about wide-set, close-set, or
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4. Close-set: If you have a close-set droopy eye, worry more about the
5. Wide-set: The reason that wide-set falls so far down on the list is
because wide-set is really not a huge issue. Yes, we want to bring the
eyes closer together, but if we don’t its not a big deal. Believe it or not,
most models have wide-set eyes!
6. Droopy: Worry about droopy the least. Droopy is easy to integrate into
every other eye shape. Every eyeshadow application can fix a droopy
eye by simply not connecting color in the outside corner.
What to Do if You Can’t Decide
If you are conflicted, remember: the first eye shape you notice is probably
the most important thing to fix. Even with combination eyes, there is one
part of the eye shape that is more important, or more prevalent than the
Consider the above Order of Importance, practice, and enjoy painting
and beautifying each different eye shape or eye shape combination you
have the opportunity to come into contact with!