Hooded eyes are no problem with these simple steps.
Between the necessary unblinking eyes, steady hands, and hard-to-achieve symmetry, winged eyeliner is notoriously tricky. Sure, the rimmed lids and swooped flick look relatively simple, but any seasoned makeup wearer has found themselves in the frustrating cycle of removing and redoing their liner over and over again until they give up altogether. The process is doubly difficult for those with a hooded eye shape. Unfortunately, winged liner also happens to look especially great on hooded eyes when done right.
While it’s not the easiest to master, you don’t have to be a professional to create that desired swoop on hooded eyes. It takes trial and error, with the right tools and ample practice, anyone can do winged liner on hooded eyes. Luckily, we tapped two experts to break down the process and share their insider tips. Get out your micellar water and read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a winged liner for hooded eyes.
What are hooded eyes?
While we’re willing to bet most people with hooded eyes know that they do, in fact, have hooded eyes, let’s do a quick refresh for the uninitiated. “Hooded eyes are an eye shape where there’s excess skin that folds over into the lash line,” explains celebrity makeup artist Mai Quynh. “When the eye is fully open, the lid space (from the crease to lash line) of the eye is hidden, while the area from the brow to the crease is flat and you can’t see much of the inner eyelid.”
According to celebrity makeup artist Gianpolo Cecillato, this can give a heavier, puffy look to the eye. But don’t mistake that for a bad thing—”I must express, it’s not a defect at all,” Cecillato says. “It’s a rather beautiful feature to have. It can be very sexy.” Indeed, many of our favorite celebrities have hooded eyes, everyone from Jennifer Lawrence to Taylor Swift to Gabrielle Union.
Why doesn’t traditional winged liner work on hooded eyes?
Because of the way a hooded eye obscure the lid, it can make it difficult for eyeliner to actually be visible—as soon as you open your eyes, the liner disappears into the folds of the skin. There’s also the matter of transferring. According to Cecillato, the skin folding that occurs on hooded eyes creates moisture on the lid, which can cause eyeliner to transfer onto the upper lid.
“With a hooded eye, it’s all about practice and learning how to create a new eye shape to suit the shape,” he says.
How to Do Winged Eyeliner for Hooded Eyes
“The trick for doing any eye makeup for a hooded eye is that you have to put the makeup on while your eyes are open,” Quynh says. “If you do your makeup with your eyes closed, you can’t see where it’s placed, and it will end up disappearing once you open it. “
Prep: To start, Quynh suggests applying a lightweight eye cream or balm to prep the eye. She’s a fan of the TULA Skincare Gold Glow + Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm ($38), which she applies to the upper and lower eye area to refresh the skin and depuff the area, which is particularly beneficial for hooded eyes.
Prime the Eyes: Cecillato suggests then applying an eyeshadow primer, like the Pat McGrath Labs IntensifEYES Longwear Eyeshadow Primer ($32), to help prevent product transfer.
Optional: Create the Illusion of a Crease: If you’d like, you can use eyeshadow to create the illusion of a crease. Using a matte light brown shade—we suggest Addiction Tokyo’s The Eyeshadow in Praline ($20)—draw a line above your crease following your natural eye shape and blend out the edges slightly.
Sketch Out Your Shape: Using a pencil liner (they’re far more forgiving than liquid liners), sketch out the desired shape of your eyeliner with your eyes open. Try to keep your eyes and brows as relaxed as possible and your facial expression neutral—raised brows and widened eyes can skew the final shape once your face is relaxed. Because hooded eyes can sometimes appear weighed-down, focus your wing upward and outward to balance out the shape. While winged liner can vary in thickness and length, Quynh suggests opting for a thicker, more exaggerated wing since it’ll show up better on hooded eyes. That being said, you can always start thinner and add from there. And remember, since this is just an outline, it can be a bit rougher than usual.
Clean Up the Shape: Before setting your liner with a liquid formula, create more precise edges using a small makeup brush or pointed cotton swab dipped in makeup remover or micellar water. This will help perfect the shape and sharpen any fine details, like the tip of the wing.
Set Your Wing With Liquid Liner: Finally, it’s time to bring out the big guns. A liquid formula will further define your wing while adding some serious lasting power to the look. Quynh swears by the K-Palette Real Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner ($13.88), while Cecillato loves the shade range of Addiction Tokyo’s Color Liquid Eyeliner ($24). Whichever you choose, layer the formula directly over the shape previously drawn in pencil, starting at the base of the wing and working slowly in, going as far along the lash line as you prefer. Work in short, feathered motions rather than trying to sweep across the lid in one motion.
Clean Up as Needed: Shaky hands make a mistake? No worries. Simply clean it up with a small detailing brush or pointed cotton swab dipped in makeup remover or micellar water. You can also use a small detailing brush dipped in concealer if you prefer.
Optional: Define the Eye With Mascara And/Or Fake Lashes: To further open up the eye, both makeup artists suggest supplementing your liner with mascara. Depending on how much eye real estate you have, you can also add a strip lash to create a doll-like effect.
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