Genius Cat Eye Hacks for Hooded Eyes

by Kelly Dougher

I have somewhat hooded eyes, which means that when my eyes are open you don't see much of my eyelids. Mine aren't as hooded as some (think Claire Danes, for example) but they're hooded enough that I've had to experiment with eye makeup to find techniques that work for my eye shape. Lately I've been really into doing a cat-eye with liquid liner several times a week — and by lately I mean pretty much all year.

Needless to say, I've figured out a lot of little tricks during this time period that really help me to take my cat-eye to the next level. Some of these tricks are particularly useful for those of us with hooded eyes, but I think you'll find that most of them are helpful no matter what your eye shape or level of experience is.

Achieving a flawless cat-eye is one of the more difficult areas of makeup, but it doesn't have to be that way. Seriously, you don't have to be an artist to be able to draw the perfect cat-eye flick, and you don't have to have tons of visible eyelid space to achieve that iconic Adele makeup look. Read on for my best tips and products recommendations for getting the best cat-eye of your life.

1. Use primer to avoid smudging.

One of the most frustrating aspects of having hooded eyes is constantly having your makeup transfer to your upper lid/brow bone area. This happens to me a lot with liquid eyeliner if I'm not careful. I can avoid it if I do two very important things, however.

First, I diligently wait for my eyeliner to dry before opening my eyes all the way. This might sound annoying but my favorite eyeliners all dry really fast (more on my faves below). If you find that your eyeliner is taking forever to dry and still smudging five minutes after you've applied it, you should get a new eyeliner.

Urban Decay Original Primer Potion, $12, Sephora

The second thing that I do to ensure no smudging happens is use primer. My favorite is Urban Decay Original Primer Potion ($12 for the travel size, Sephora). I have very oily lids so this helps a lot with keeping everything in its place all day. A lot of people only wear primer if they're wearing eye shadow, but I always use it with eyeliner as well.

2. Don't make your eyeliner too thick.

One thing to remember if you have hooded lids is that your visible lid space is very slight, and you probably want to emphasize it rather than cover it up entirely. If you draw your eyeliner on too thickly (as seen on the left in the photo above) then when your eyes are open it will look like your entire eyelid is covered in black liner. This can be a little too harsh and can make your eyes seem smaller and more hooded.

Instead, draw the line on as thinly as possible, getting only slightly thicker as you reach the middle of the lid and go outwards (as seen on the right of the photo above). Now you'll still be able to see some of your eyelid when your eyes are open.

3. Clean up mistakes easily with a pen.

e.l.f Makeup Remover Pen, $7, Amazon

If you draw your eyeliner on too thick or you mess up your cat-eye wing, you need a fast and precise way of erasing the mistake. I swear by this e.l.f. Makeup Remover Pen ($7, Amazon). Sure, you could just use a Q-tip dipped in makeup remover but I never have those around when I need them and they're kind of wasteful. This pen is only $3 and lasts forever, and it has saved me time and time again when I messed up my eyeliner (like literally every day).

4. It's OK to cheat for the perfect wing.

Beautyblender Line Designer, $16, Amazon

Even with years of practice, I still have a hard time nailing my cat-eye wing perfectly on the first try. I'm only human, after all, so I don't feel bad about taking all the help I can get in this area. Enter the beautyblender liner.designer ($16, Amazon). Yep, this little silicone guide is brought to you by the same people who made your favorite makeup sponge, and it's equally indispensable in my daily routine.

You simply choose which curved side you want to use, depending on the kind of cat-eye wing you want, and then hold or stick the guide next to your eye before tracing the edge with your eyeliner. It couldn't be easier. Now I can do a perfect cat-eye wing in an instant, and I don't have to worry about each eye's wing being asymmetrical.

5. Use eyeshadow to give your eyes more depth.

One problem with my hooded eyes is that it can be very easy for my upper eyelid area to lack any sense of depth. Then I noticed the way that Adele (who does not have hooded eyes by any means) does her eye makeup. She pairs a dramatic cat-eye with eyeshadow to really make her eyes stand out. I decided to try the look on myself and it made a big difference. By applying a light-colored shadow all over my lid it helps what little visible lid space I have to really pop. Then I add a darker shade right in the crease to help add depth (you can see the placement in the photo above). It doesn't take long to add these two shadows after doing your eyeliner and it really helps to give hooded eyes some definition and depth.

Tarte Energy Noir Clay Palette, $38, Tarte Cosmetics; Sigma Firm Shader Brush, $16, Amazon; Article Circle 1R Brush, $40, Net-A-Porter;

For this I use the top two shades in the far left of the Tarte Energy Noir Clay Palette ($38, Tarte Cosmetics) pictured above. I use the Artis Circle 1R brush ($40, Net-A-Porter) to apply the light shadow in small circular motions all over my lid, and the Sigma Firm Shader brush ($16, Amazon) to apply the darker shadow in my crease.

6. Use more than one eyeliner.

NYX Matte Liquid Liner, $6, Amazon; Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner, $22, Amazon

This is a good tip even if you don't have hooded eyes. I like my eyeliner to look completely matte, which NYX Matte Liquid Liner ($6, Amazon) is perfect for. It really is completely matte. It's also really easy to apply. Unfortunately I have a hard time using the brush to do the cat-eye wing. That's where my other favorite eyeliner comes in handy: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner ($22, Amazon) has a thin, felt-tip pen applicator which makes it extremely easy to draw on a cat-eye wing with precision and control. So I simply line along my lash line with the NYX liner first, and then use the Stila liner to add the wing (as well as get to hard-to-reach spots like the inner corner of my eye and between my lower lashes).

And there you have it: All of my best tips for achieving the perfect cat-eye, no matter how hooded your eyes are.

Images: Kelly Dougher