How to Apply Eyeliner By Eye Shape

by Linda Robison

How to apply eyeliner by eye shape: Let's break it down.

It's amazing what the right eyeliner look can do for your eyes!

Applied correctly, it can make you look more awake, make your eyes look bigger, sexier, and enhance their natural beauty.

Whether your eyes are round, almond, hooded, or anything in between, I've got some solid tips to help you out.

Eyeliner Tips for Hooded and All Other Eye Shapes: Visual guide.

There are about 9 basic eye shape categories, but most of us fall somewhere in between. (See my personal example below).

So, don't be afraid to experiment!

Now, let's dive into some tips to find the perfect eyeliner look for your unique eyes!

1. Hooded

Hooded eyelids.

For hooded eyes, keep the liner makeup precise and thin to make them pop without looking too heavy.

Best Style: Tightline

  • Applying the liner in a series of dashes (- - - ) on the inside of the upper lid (tightlining) can help define without overwhelming the lid.

TIP: According to celebrity makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, (personal stylist to Kim Kardashian and others) wings can lift and make eyes look larger. Dedivanovic, suggests drawing wings straight out (not upturned) from the outer corners of your eyes.

Top Pick: A super thin, waterproof liner works best. I'm obsessed with this one; Rihanna Fenty Beauty Flyliner.

2. Monolid

Monolid Eye Shape.

For monolids, long wings from inner to outer corners makes your eyes look defined and longer.

Best Style: Wings

  • Apply from deep inner corner, across the whole lid, all the way out. Gradually thicken as you move towards the outer corner. A small flick at the end can add a bit of flair.
  • Consider drawing a second line at the lash base if you can't wear liner inside the waterline.

TIP: Keep the line as close to lashes as possible. Gradually build thickness as needed, focusing on keeping the liner visible when the eyes are open. Opt for darker shades.

Top Pick: Waterproof gels with very thin brushes work best; Mommy Makeup Waterproof Gel.

3. Wide-Set

Wideset Eyes.

Wide-set eyes have space between them, which means you can play around with your eyeliner to bring them closer together.

Best Style: Inner V Liner

  • Apply a thin line from the inner corners of both upper and lower lids. Creating a < shape across the whole eye. This helps draw attention inward.
  • Make the middle thicker on the upper outer lid. To create a focal point that pulls inward.

Tip: Extend the inner corner line towards the nose, if needed.

Note: Love Wings?
If you like winged eyeliner, keep the wing very short and angled slightly upwards rather than outwards. 

Top Pick: Liquid pencil liners are great for both thick or thin lines; Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Liquid Powder Eye Pencil

4. Close-Set

Close-set eyes.

Close-set eyes are less than one eye width apart. Get creative with wings to create the illusion of more space between them.

Best Style: Outer Corner Wings

  • Start liner from the middle of your eyelid and extend out, creating upturned wings. Keep the inner corners clean. 
  • If wearing bottom-liner, only apply eyeliner to the outer third.

TIP: Apply a dot of highlighter to inner corners to bring balance.

Top Pick: Felt tip liners for precision and sleek wings; L’Oréal Paris Cosmetics Infallible Grip Precision Felt Eyeliner

5. Downturned

Downturned Eye Shape.

Downturned eyes have a slight drop at the outer corners, giving a dreamy look. Wings can create a lift.

Best Style: Upturned Wings

  • Draw a thin line from the inner corner and gradually thicken it as you reach the outer corner. Make sure to flick the eyeliner upwards at the outer corners. 
  • For an extra lift, line the outer third of your lower lash line and connect it to the upper wing. 

Top Pick: Waterproof gel liners stay put and are easier to control; Mommy Makeup Gel Liner Razor Thin Brush

6. Upturned

Upturned Eye Shape.

Upturned eyes are the opposite of downturned, with the outer corners higher than the inner corners. A subtle flick can enhance their natural shape.

Best Style: The Flick

  • Line upper lid and slightly elongate with a smudged flick. You can also line the outer half of your lower lash line to enhance the balance. 

Top Pick: Pencil liners work well to control the thickness and smudge; URBAN DECAY Glide On Eye pencil Matte Waterproof

7. Round

Round Eye Shape.

Round eyes are beautifully open and give a youthful appearance. The goal here is to elongate.

Best Style: Smokey Wings 

  • Apply a thin line at the upper lid, gradually thicken as you reach the outer corner. Flick out and up to create a wing. 
  • Use a brush or q-tip to smudge upper and lower lines out and up.

Note: If you love liner on the lower lid, this shape wears it well.

Top Pick: Soft pencil liners work best for a smudged, soft look; LAURA GELLER - Longwear Kohl Eyeliner Pencil

8. Large

Large eyes.

Large eyes are expressive and often have more lid space to play with. Use your imagination here!

Best Style: Bold and Defined.

  • Go for a thicker on the upper and lower lids. Wings of varying lengths work well too. 
  • Lining your waterline can add definition. Don’t be afraid to experiment! 

Top Pick: Liquid, gel, pencil, and crayon type liners work well for bold, defined lines; Charlotte Tilbury Eye Shadow Eye Liner Pencil

9. Almond

Almond eyes.

Almond shaped eyes can pull off a classic liner with wings.

Best Style: Cat's eye

  • Start 1/3 from the inner corner of top and bottom lids. Gradually thicken as you move out, ending with a slight wing. 
  • Almond eyes can handle bold wings, double wings, and even graphic eyeliner looks. 

Top Pick: Liquid liners are great for sharp lines and soft, smoky finish; e.l.f. Expert Liquid Liner

Eyeliner for my eye shape: Personal Example

My eyeliner look for small almond eyes.Almond close-set eye shape.

This eyeliner guide is meant to help you discover your best look based on your eye shape. As stated before, most of us will fall in between shapes. 

Take my eyes, for example. I have almond-shape, close-set eyes.

So, I can't wear all the styles normally recommended for almond shapes.

For me, the best style is a cat's eye look, but with a light, thin line at waterline starting at the middle outer corner. 

Also, NO Dark, thick, or bold lines 

Best Style: Cat's eye

  • Start 1/3 from the outer corner of top lids only. 

Top Pick: Waxy pencil that's not too pigmented; Maybelline New York Expert Wear Eyeliner Pencil

Remember, these tips are just a starting point, and not every style will work for everyone, even within the same eye shape category.

See how easily I line my upper lid with the Maybelline pencil.

Takeaway: Eyeliner by eye shape

We're All Different. So Experiment!

Many of us don't fit neatly into basic eye shape categories such as round, almond, or hooded; we often fall somewhere in between.

So don't stress too much about fitting into a specific box. Just have fun experimenting until you find a few eyeliner styles that enhance your individual eye shape!

After all, makeup is all about expressing yourself and feeling confident in your own skin. So, grab that eyeliner and let your creativity shine.