Surgical Makeup: How To Adjust Your Eye Shape to Suit Your Mood with Eyeliner

I feel like I should begin by saying 'But sure aren't your eyes only grand the way they are?'. And damn right they are.

I'm not for a minute suggesting that you should use liner to 'fix' anything. If you have eyes which are slightly differently sized or shaped, then you can absolutely use liner very effectively to create a more symmetrical look. Strictly Come Dancing's splendiferously beautiful Tess Daly uses liner very cleverly to create an even look to her eyes. One is very slightly smaller than the other, and I think that this in no way disimproves her lovely face.

So what this isn't is a 'you're gross! Fix yourself up, woman!' kind of article. It's more of a 'let's play with eyeliner and be creative' kind of article.

Different Strokes: How liner can change the shape of eye Different Strokes: How liner can change the shape of eye

I really think of makeup the way I think of clothing. I alter it to suit my mood, what else I'm wearing that day, even the weather. I'm not unhappy with what I've naturally got, and I honestly feel that makeup can only fulfil a woman's physical potential. It really can't give you what you don't already have the base ingredients for, just build on what you have. So creating visual illusions requires working with what you've already got.

For this reason, you might not be able to achieve every eye shape you're in the mood for, but you can certainly create the suggestion of it. Keep in mind too that your baseline is your own eye shape, so what works best on my particular eye shape may not work for you, and vice versa.

I've used gel liner and a fine liner brush to create all these looks, but you can use pencil, powder, liquid or gel. Whatever you like! I've also skipped mascara to keep the liner shapes clean and visible.

the rounded eye

The Rounded Eye

  • My eyes are naturally quite round, which makes it easier for me to create this look, but you can absolutely create this look on longer or more almond eyes.
  • To create that round, open look, you need to shorten and widen the eye. Start your line at the point where your lashes naturally begin - this is quite far in.
  • Make your line thickest at the middle of the lid - this pulls the eye up in visual terms, widening it.
  • Make your flick small to keep the emphasis on the centre of the eye, and don't extend your flick too far - this would lengthen the eye and undo the round, wide open effect. Stop your flick at the natural end of lashline, where upper meets lower. Done!

the almond eye

The Almond Eye 

  • This eye shape is higher in the outer corner and lower in the inner corner, creating a lovely sultry eye. My eyes don't behave this way naturally, so I'll need to wing my eye out and create the effect of a pulled-up outer corner.
  • To do this, I'm focusing all the emphasis, and hence almost all the actual liner, toward the outer corner of my eye.
  • I've taken the liner right down to the inner corner, but the line is incredibly thin. The lower you take your liner in the inner corner, the greater the contrast between the inner and outer corners and the more slanted your eyes will look.
  • Begin to thicken your line only when you reach the centre of the lid, and even then make sure that it is thicker at the outer corner.
  • Stop your liner before you reach the natural end of your lashline and pull it upward quite dramatically. Extend the flick quite far.
  • There - an almond eye. If you look at the first photo where I've done each eye differently, you can really see the difference! The almond eye will always look smaller, but more angled.

liner shape droop

The Downturned Eye

  • Also known as the droopy eye (I know, unappealing name) this look is very popular in Asia. Creating the illusion that eyes turn down at the outer corner makes eyes look youthful and rather sweet.
  • You're creating a similar look to the rounded eye (you want to widen rather than elongate) so the line should be thickest in the centre of the lid.
  • You need to take the line quite far down the lashline, right to the point where your upper lashline meets the lower, or even further if you dare!
  • Then wing the liner out a little for emphasis.
  • See? You're cute as a button.

the BIG eye

The BIG Eye

  • If you want to enlarge the eye all round, then you need to use the liner to both widen and elongate the eye.
  • To do this, you'll need to start thinly at the inner corner of the eye but thicken the line quite quickly.
  • For general enlargement, keep the line at more or less even thickness from the centre of the lid all the way out.
  • Extend the line unnaturally far. You can see that I've taken the line down to meet my lower lashline, then extended it back up and quite far out into a flick that creates the illusion of a longer eye.
  • Again, if you look at the first photo where I'm wearing one almond and one enlarged eye, you can really see the contrast! The fact that my eyes look a bit wrong and uneven just shows the difference that liner can make.

So there you have it, my guide to creating new eyes every morning!


Which is your favourite? Will you be trying out these techniques? To the comments!

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