Makeup Hacks For Making Small Eyes Look Bigger

by Kelly Dougher

Today, my friends, let's talk about how to make small eyes look bigger using makeup. There are lots of easy tricks you can do with eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, and highlighter to make eyes seem bigger and more wide awake. I learned a lot of these techniques myself through trial and error over the years. I definitely made a lot of mistakes when I was a teenager that actually 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.

There are lots of different reasons to wear makeup. It can be fun to play with, allowing one to experiment with different colors 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 enhance or change without all the trouble of plastic surgery, makeup's got your back. I'm certainly not saying that small eyes needto be made to look bigger, but if it's something you want to try out, I'm here to help.

Below I'll demonstrate each technique that I employ to make my eyes look bigger, contrasted with what not to do.

Here is what my eyes look like normally, with no makeup:

My eyes aren't that small, but I'm definitely in favor of making them appear bigger. Added to that, my eyes are somewhat hooded so my lid space is pretty limited and I definitely want to maximize that space visually whenever possible.

1. Tight-line the upper lash line.

First, I make sure to use eyeliner the right way to enhance my eyes. Like I said, I don't want to completely obscure that little strip of eyelid with a thick black line of eyeliner. Instead I tight line my upper lash line. If you're not sure what that means please refer to the weirdest picture I've ever taken of my eye, above.

By lifting my eyelid up like so, I can take my eyeliner pencil and gently line my upper waterline right underneath my lashes. This makes my lashes look fuller and my eyes look more defined without taking up any eyelid space or making my eyes look smaller.

This technique might seem a little intimidating at first; after all, nobody really enjoys sticking a pencil that close to their eyeball. That said, you get used to it really quickly and the results are worth it. Just be sure to use a soft, warmed-up pencil that won't hurt. I like both Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil for this purpose because they're soft and creamy.

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil, $21, Sephora; Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil, $20, Sephora

Here's the difference between wearing eyeliner above my upper lash line (on the left) versus wearing it under my upper lash line (on the right):

This allows me to have more lid space for eye shadow, plus it makes my eye look bigger.

2. Use white in the lower lash line.

I used NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk for the look above. It's soft and creamy enough for use on my waterline.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil, $7, Amazon

Next, I line my bottom lash line. I'll admit that sometimes I will use a dark shade, such as black or brown, to line underneath my eyes but never in the waterline. If I line my lower waterline at all, I use a nude or white color. This makes my eyes look a million times bigger compared to using black eyeliner in my lower waterline, as you can see above.

3. Apply mascara in the correct direction.

Once I've defined my upper lash line and made my eyes look bigger with white eyeliner, I can add some mascara and call it a day. Speaking of mascara, remember to curl your lashes first (a must, so don't skip that step!) and then when applying the mascara, always aim in the direction of your nose. Sweeping your lashes up and slightly towards your nose will make your eyes look bigger and more awake.

4. Add a subtle cat eye.

If I want a more defined, dramatic look then I'll add a few more touches that make my eyes look even bigger. A subtle cat eye flick extends the shape of my eye outwards, but I keep it from overwhelming my eye by keeping the line thin and not applying it directly to my lower lash line as previously discussed. Instead I apply it just below my lower lashes and I don't extend the line all the way to my nose.

5. Highlight and define with eye shadow.

Finally I'll use a pale and shimmery eye shadow on my mobile lid (because a dark shade would make it recede, which we don't want) and then use a dark shade for a cut crease, which lends definition. My last step is to put a bit of shimmery highlighter on my brow bone.

Above is the finished look on the right (my left eye), contrasted with thick black eyeliner on the left. You can definitely see how these simple techniques work really well to make my eye seem bigger.

One last time, here's my eye before, without any makeup:

And here's my eye after using these simple makeup techniques to make it look bigger:

It's a subtle but noticeable difference.

So to recap: Apply black eyeliner directly to your upper waterline but never your lower waterline and use light-colored shadows and liners on your lower waterline, brow bone, and mobile lid. The next time you want your eyes to look a little bigger, more awake, and defined, take five minutes to implement these tricks!

Images: Kelly Dougher