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The Makeup Maniac: Makeup tricks for hooded eyes

May 27th 2015 / Anna Hunter / 4 comments


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Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively and Nicole Kidman - if you were born with hooded eyes you’re in good company. Here’s how to make the most of them with makeup

My gorgeous mum has hooded eyes, and doesn’t love it. She’s always on the hunt (Hunter by name…) for that elusive liner that doesn’t smudge when she opens her eyes or a shadow that can actually be seen when her eye crease is hidden (all the time FYI).

It’s certainly a challenge, and so far the only product to really pass muster is Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof, £19. It’s a dream for tightlining (more on that later) and doesn’t stray from its designated path - a key credential for anyone with heavy lids. One eyeliner does not a solution make, however; there’s so much more you can do to enhance your eye shape. This column is dedicated to mother dearest and all the hooded honies around the globe; go forth and smise. That’s smile with your eyes, a term coined by supermodel Tyra Banks - look closely and you’ll realise that many a model is blessed with hooded eyes - Claudia Schiffer and Adriana Lima to name but a few. They’re anything but a flaw; they’re a feature to celebrate. Here’s how…

Wear your waterproofs

Hooded eye issue number one is smudged eye makeup. You draw an artful swoosh, pristine kitten flick or graphic line and two seconds later you blink and it’s transferred onto your brow bone. It’s just not on. Sidestep smudge-gate by choosing high-quality water, sweat and tear-proof formulas. Consult this gallery for long-lasting makeup big guns, and don’t forget to arm yourself with a bulletproof mascara too. Spiders' legs lurking above the eye might be edgy, but sometimes you want to wear mascara in the conventional fashion like your generously lidded peers. A budge proof, quick drying formula and a dab of cleanser to clean up mistakes make all the difference.

Be well primed

Makeup primer is never a bad idea, but for the hooded of eye, it’s essential. A decent primer will anchor your liner and shadow to your lid while limiting creasing, preventing eye makeup migration and helping you to maintain looks that would otherwise prove tricky and flighty. You can’t go wrong with Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, £16. Make it part of your routine when wearing eye makeup and your eye shape won’t pose nearly as much of a challenge.

Lighten up

Dark, block-like colour over the entire lid is rarely flattering on any eye shape, but those with hooded eyes should bear in mind that heavy handed application with shady hues is likely to make your eyes look smaller and your lids more sleepy. Opt for a subtle ‘highlighting’ shade in the inner corners to make your eyes look wider and brighter, and dab a smidgen of the same shade under the brow bone to create definition. Don’t think that you have to shirk smokey shades altogether; just tailor your application method to your eye shape…

Whisper, don’t shout...

A hazy wash of colour, rather than angular shading, will suit you down to the ground, so ensure that you buff on shadow with a generously sized fluffy brush. Legendary makeup artist Lisa Eldridge is of the opinion that we should all probably be using bigger, softer brushes to apply our eye makeup and achieve a more subtle, blended finish, but this is especially true where hooded eyes are concerned. MAC 213 Fluff Brush, £19, is your makeup magic wand in this case.

When it comes to colouring in, keep darker shades to the outer â…” of the upper lid, making sure to blend above the crease (but not up to the brow - 80s throwback) so that the shadow can be seen when you’ve got your eyes open. Trace a little of the darker shadow under the lower lashline too, but go easy, as thick, opaque colour on the lower lid can make the eyes look a bit ‘moley’. A soft and gentle approach on the shadow front is the way forward, not to mention the fact that it’ll actually bring your eyes forward in the most flattering way possible. A versatile, shade-graduated eyeshadow palette will make light work of blending colour- treat yourself to Hourglass Modernist Palette, £56, if you’re feeling flash. It’s practically a work of art, and will ensure that your eye makeup is quite the masterpiece too.

Always look on the bright side…

Well, sometimes. If your eyes are hooded, chances are you can pull off brighter looks more than most, as vivid colour and ‘standout’ makeup won’t look too obvious or try-hard, as you’ll only see the full picture when you blink. Add multi-dimensional drama with Nars Limited Edition NARSissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette, £45. The jewel-like, metallic shadows are already a favourite of mine, and the fact that most of the shades are now living cosily together makes me possibly unreasonably excited. Apply wet or dry depending on how intense you’re feeling.

Hold the line

Heavy liner is likely to be a bit of a waste of time and effort if you’re in the hooded eye camp; it either smudges or can make your eyes look a bit ‘bedroomy’, but in a tired rather than titillating sense. Instead, rejoice in the fact that, as long as you trace liner as close to the lashline as possible, you can get away with a bit of a shaky, wonky line. No one will see it, but you’ll have delicious definition when you open your eyes. This is tightlining at its finest - minimal effort, maximum effect. Widen eyes even more with a slick of Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘n’ Kohl in Eye Cheat, £19, on the bottom inner lash rim. The nude hue will bring out the whites of your eyes and make you look more awake. Speaking of which…

Just a curl

Look alive and give lashes a squeeze with a good quality curler before applying mascara. It’ll give eyes that are sometimes hidden in the shadows a lift, and you can’t do better than Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, £20. It gets into even very tight spots (painlessly) to create a feline fan of lashes.

Keep it high brow

Frame your strong eye shape with groomed, full brows. This is especially helpful when your eyes have become hooded over time, as thicker brows make your eye area look more youthful. Benefit Gimme Brow, £18.50, was one of the top selling beauty products of 2014 according to the NPD Group, and its plumping yet taming abilities go some way to explain why. It’s a doddle to use and etches on volume if you happen to be lacking it.

Erase exhaustion

Often hooded eyes can make you look tired, even if you’re getting your recommended eight hours and feeling and looking pretty bushy tailed otherwise. Brighten up the eye area with a fatigue fighting concealer such as the beautifully buttery Clarins Instant Concealer, £21.50. It’s designed to counteract dark circles and will disguise shadows, whether naturally created by your eye shape or the result of slight eye makeup fallout. Either way, it’s brilliant.

Do you have hooded eyes and struggle with eye makeup, or do you have any other recommendations? I’d love to hear from you- comment below or tweet me @AnnaMaryHunter


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  • Anna Hunter
  • May 28th 2015

Thanks for the comments!

@Lu- so glad to hear that Laura Mercier came to your rescue! The Caviar Sticks are amazing I know but need to try that primer. Hold off on the eye lift. Possibly try a few short false eyelashes at the corner too as @JessicaL suggests (great idea).

@Shady- was a demonstration of hooded eyes but quite right didn't correspond with the wording! Changed!

  • jessica L
  • May 28th 2015

I have hooded eyes, and two things really work for me: 1) using a short false eyelashes set only at the outer corner of my eye 2) eyelash extensions have been a game changer for the summer!

  • Shady Pearce
  • May 28th 2015

It's Nicole Kidman and not Claudia Schiffer that you have pictured above... I don't make a habit of nit-picking online but I love Get the Gloss and intend to dutifully point out such mistakes in order to further improve the accuracy of your brilliant content :)

  • Lu Horn
  • May 28th 2015

Hi, I have just started having smudgy make up problems, as I thought I'd step up/change the make up I wear, so bought a liquid pen liner, I've always had kitten flick envy, and thought I'd give it ago...noooo, I bought a decent liner from Charlotte Tilbury and it all ended up on my brow. I decided to try this look for the first time on a night out, luckily I stopped off at Libertys on the way, really to use a mirror to tidy up my 'sweaty' lids, that's what it felt like! Then a girl at Laura Mercier showed me the Eye Basics Eye Primer and the Caviar Stick Eye Colour, oh wondrous eyes! Ha ha it stayed, didn't budge, I bought both, they are now my friends. I didn't know hooded eyes was a thing, I just thought I was getting old (well, I am) and thought I'd have to start thinking about an eye lift, and have that rabbit in headlights look. Rabbit look diverted thankfully. Great article thanks. x

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