16 Tips On How To Use Makeup To Make Your Eyes Look Larger

priyanka chopra
Image: Instagram / @priyankachopra

Ever wanted tips on how to use makeup to make your eyes look larger? Do you have small eyes? Or maybe you just want to enhance the shape of your eyes. Maybe you want to look a little more exotic or youthful? The size and shape of our eyes is something we are born with. It’s not anything most of us would even consider changing because it really does define our faces. It’s a big part of the way we look. We can’t change the size and shape of your eyes but we can give you 16 tips on how to use makeup to make your eyes look larger.

There are so many reasons for wanting to know how to use makeup to make your eyes look larger. In our society, eyes that are bigger usually appear to make you look younger and more awake. Let’s be honest, who among us doesn’t need to look younger or more awake? Especially if you are grown and have a job and forget about it if you have kids.

We moms need to look more awake than anyone. Coffee can’t save us from the toll lack of sleep has on how we look. The baggage never lies. We have to fake it until we make it.

Keep brows in good shape to maximize eyelid space

Droopy eyelids are a dead giveaway for a tired mama and even if you aren’t tired, heavy lids will create the illusion that you are exhausted. Well-groomed arched eyebrows create a flattering frame for your eyes. Anything that accentuates the eyes will make them look bigger. Clean up the area above and below your brows then fill in any gaps with an eyebrow pencil.

Next, brush brows up and over with a spooly brush for a clean, defined shape. Follow the natural shape of your eyes. To get full and expressive brows, brush them up with clear brow mascara. Bold, thick, and beautiful brows bring attention to the eyes.

Minimize the Puff

tea bag
Image: iStock / muzzyco

To minimize the puffiness beneath your eyes. Swollen skin around the eyes can make them look tiny and make you look tired. Use something cold to calm inflammation and zap swelling in five minutes. They have special cooling eye masks that you can put in the freezer or just use a bag of frozen peas, same difference. To soften crow-feet and fine lines, try dabbing on a silicone-based primer.

Other ways to reduce puffiness around the eyes include getting enough sleep, washing your face with cold water often, placing used cold tea bags over the eyes as the tannins present in tea tighten the skin, reducing salt intake and exercising regularly. The real key to gorgeous eyes is to pamper them every day.

Conceal dark under eye circles

Dark circles can make your eyes appear smaller and honestly, they make you look haggard. You can’t look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ( as my mama would say) if your eyes are telling the world that you just need a nap. That’s why the right concealer is so important to combat darkness and discoloration. It can also illuminate the entire eye area and draw attention to darker lashes. Choose a shade that’s slightly lighter and warmer than your skin tone to brighten and correct any blue or purple undertones. Blend carefully, buffing with your finger (but not tugging at your skin or you’ll have a whole other set of problems) or a sponge, working underneath and around the eyes, as well as all over the lids, to get a uniform base. Voila, bigger and brighter eyes.

Use light neutral eyeshadows

neutral eye shadow
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Placing a light color on the lid gives a larger appearance to the eyelid. Dark colors recede, light colors bring objects forward. Use neutral and light eyeshadows. Follow the rule of contouring; light colors for the areas that you want the light to reflect and darker shades for the areas you want to push back. Using light colors at the center of the eyelids brings them forward. Pick up some product on a brush, tap the excess off and gently apply at the center of the eyelids. It doesn’t matter if the shadow is shimmery or a matte finish, as long as it is light in color.

Tight line the upper waterline

This is an old trick but it works. To enhance your lashes and frame your eyes, apply a super skinny strip of black liquid liner along the base of your upper lashes. This gives the appearance of fuller lashes and helps to open up the eyes. Felt tip options deposit rich, inky color while providing you with control and precision. A felt tip is so much easier to use than a liquid wand or a pencil.

A little flick at the end pulls your eye out a bit and creates a larger effect. This step makes all the difference.

Get low with your eyeliner

make up application
Image: iStock / AlexisZernescu

Want perfect, seductive almond-shaped eyes? Not everyone is born with it but with the right technique, it’s easy to get the look. Take your eyeliner pencil and make sure to apply to start from the center of the lash line, only the outer third of your eye, make it thicker on the outer corners. This will give you that sexy, seductive wide-eyed look you are going for. If you make it too thick in the middle, you’ll give yourself panda eyes and nobody wants that. You need to make sure that it is lifted at the edges. Use a smudger or a brush to soften harsh lines.

Curl eyelashes and nude eye pencil in the lower lashline

Curling your eyelashes should be as second nature as brushing your teeth. While almost every woman will have at least one lash curler in her makeup bag, many women forget this one small step for beauty; one giant step for womankind. The 20 seconds it takes to curl your lashes can make your eyes immediately appear wider and more open.

If you are wanting your eyes to appear larger, ensure that you fully cup the lashes in the curler closer to the roots but be careful not to get too close or you will, in fact, pinch your eyelid. But it’s totally worth it because if your lashes are straight and not curled, they can cast a shadow on your eye area causing the are to look smaller.

Pump Them Up

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Choosing the right volumizing mascara can work wonders for opening up your eyes. First, you should apply a lash lengthening mascara formula, along the upper and lower lashes to create that wide doe eye look. Then, brush a thickening coat of mascara over the top of that layer for even flirtier lashes. Mascara wands fitted with rubber bristle wands are good for grabbing and bulking up fine lashes without creating clumps. No one wants clumps. For extra-large eyes, focus on an additional swipe near the center of the upper lash line to help draw the eyes upward and out.


Contouring is something we all do our faces these days. Honestly, I can’t remember the point of makeup before contouring so this next hack should come as no surprise, contour your crease with eyeshadow. Give your crease some much-needed definition. Put a medium brown eyeshadow in the crease.  To avoid looking like a 90’s fashion faux pas, use a fluffy brush to sweep a matte formula in an arc shape, from the outer corners all the way to the centers of the eyes. That is unless you just really loved Tori Spelling’s look on Beverly Hills 90210.

A Little Shimmer Never Hurt Anyone

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Use highlighter and shimmer in the inner corners of your eyes.

Placing shimmer in this spot on your eyes catches the light, therefore giving the appearance of more open and awake eyes.

There’s a reason that even in selfies with no filters, models seem incapable of taking a bad picture. They know how to fake the light. A pearly eyeshadow or highlighter dabbed on the centers of the lids, underneath the brow bones, and on the inner corners makes eyes look lifted and awake.

If you have pink undertones, look for warm, pinky cream colors. If you have more yellow or olive undertones, Golden shades will be more complementary. A hack, blending an extra dot of concealer on the inner corners can make a huge difference.

Falsies are as Good as the Real Thing

Use false eyelashes. In a world where it is the norm to have eyelash extensions put in, false eyelashes are expected. You don’t have to go crazy, but a strip of natural false lashes will easily bring your eyes out. The options are limitless. You can get professional extensions put in by a trained aesthetician, put a complete set on yourself or at least add a few individual lashes to fill in the gaps and make lashes appear fuller. If you have a hooded eye, this is especially effective as it brings your eye out from under the brow bone visually and gives just enough definition without overwhelming the eye.

Apply mascara to lower lashes to open up the eyes

Always apply mascara to your lower lashes to open up your eyes and give that fresh, wide-eyed look. But skip the eyeliner on the lower lash line, because this closes the eye in and makes your eyes appear smaller than they actually are. Mascara is an easy way to enhance your lower lashes without overwhelming your eye. Too much eyeliner, especially if in dark colors, closes the eye in and makes the eye to appear closed in. Your best bet is to go heavy on the mascara on the eyelashes and forgo the eyeliner altogether.

Eye drops

eye drops
Image: iStock / puhhha

A very simple trick to open your eyes up and help them to look larger is eye drops. No, they are not just for your burnout cousin getting high in the alley anymore. Eye drops can work wonders if you have allergies or persistent redness. Just a couple drops and you look as good as new. When the whites of your eyes are bright, your skin appears more tan too leaving you looking refreshed and well-rested. Forgo the tanning beds and get outside for a walk. Soak in that vitamin D and get yourself some Visine Stat.

Lighten the Waterline

Firstly, you may be wondering what the heck is your waterline? Is it something that’s included in your water bill? Should it be? Nope. Your water line is the rim where your eyelid meets your eye. Now that that’s cleared up.

Filling in your waterline with a dark liner can look sultry paired with smoky, diffused eyeshadow, but it can also make your eyes look about half their size. For a bigger-is-better effect, color the waterline with a flat, white eye pencil instead to instantly open and brighten them. Line the inner rim of the lower lid with a flesh-toned pencil. This creates the illusion that the whites of your eyes extend farther. You can use a white eyeliner pencil for this as well, but the flesh tone looks more natural.

Consider the color

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Pencil liners are very effective in making your eyes look larger if you know what you’re doing. But if you’ve worn down your brown and black eye pencils to nubs, you might be in a makeup-color rut. Try easing your way into something new like navy liner which actually makes eyes appear whiter and larger.

As for eyeshadows, vibrant shades look amazing on bare lids with a lot of heavy mascara. Try an eyeshadow like lavender which is universally flattering and brightening. Blend a dark color into the outer corners for a perfect evening look. Just avoid matte shadows, which won’t reflect.

Use Color to Create Depth

Think of applying makeup to your eyes like creating a work of art. You are making yourself a masterpiece. Your gorgeous eyeshadow palettes with all the various shades, this is your paint palette. Why else do you think they come in so many colors? The dark, medium and light hues can be strategically applied to make smaller eyes look much bigger.

Start by applying a light shade in the corner of your eyes and along your brow bone. Use a light-medium shade on the rest of your lid. Using an eyeshadow brush, apply the darker shade along the crease of the eye to create depth. Then, blend.

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