Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to cake on heavy layers of dark shadow and liner to make your eyes look fuller and more pronounced. If you have small eyes or hooded lids, all you need is a little highlighter, well-placed contouring and voluminous lashes. These techniques open the eyes and add dimension so they appear larger and more luminous.
Start off your eye makeup routine with a fresh palette. Blend a brightening concealer onto your eyelid to cover any veins or unevenness. Also apply the concealer underneath your eye to cover up any blue shadows, which can make eyes look tired and less open. Keep the application light and even.
If you have dry skin, opt for a moisturizing concealer, and if you have oily skin, choose a liquid concealer that dries with a matte finish.
Light colors draw attention to an area and create the illusion of dimension. Start with a highlighter pencil in a light pink or very light nude shade. Apply this highlighter along your bottom waterline, which is the area of skin just above where the bottom lashes sprout out. This technique instantly opens your eyes and catches the light.
Also sweep this highlighter around the inner corner of your eye and next to your tear duct. Finally, apply this highlighter underneath your brow and along your brow bone. Blend the highlighter on the inner corner of your eye and brow bone with a blending brush to smooth any harsh lines.
Groom your eyebrows and fill in any sparse areas with a brow pencil to create an open framework for your eyes.
Eye shadow can quickly build dimension and shape, making your eyes appear bigger and more dramatic. Sweep a light champagne or ivory eye shadow over your entire lid. Follow up with a slightly shimmery, light shadow on the very center of the eyelid. This technique builds dimension and draws attention to the center of the eye.
Dip a small blending brush into a medium brown matte eye shadow. Sweep this shadow along the very top edge of your crease. Focus extra attention on the outer half of the eye. Blend the crease shadow out and up so that it creates a very subtle smoky, contoured effect. Keep blending until it sits smoothly on the skin. Avoid blending it down onto the eyelid.
Optionally, if you want to build extra dimension, dip a small blending brush into a very light brown or taupe matte shadow. Sweep this shadow along the curve of your lower lid, just below the ends of your lashes. Keep the line very thin to create the effect of a tiny shadow. It should be barely visible.
Creating the illusion of a thick forest of lashes extending from your lids helps your eyes look open and full. Apply a black or brown cream eyeliner pencil to your top lash line. Start the line at the center of your eye and work in small dash strokes as close to the lashes as possible. Widen the line slightly when you get to the outer corner of the eye until you reach the end of your natural lashes. Blend away any mistakes or harsh lines with an angle brush.
Also apply the liner along your bottom lash line starting from the center of your eye and working your way to the outer corner. To keep the look natural and light, apply very small dashes as close to the lashes as possible and then blend out with an angle brush. Avoid applying liner on the inner half of the eye or in a thick line, which creates a more sultry, closed look.
If you don't have time to do any other big-eyed beauty techniques, mascara is the one shortcut to wider, bigger, brighter eyes. Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler, squeezing gently once at the roots, the middle of the lashes and the ends. Apply a black volumizing mascara to your top and bottom lashes, focusing extra attention on the outer half of your lashes.
For extra drama and dimension, you can add false lashes. Opt for lashes that have a little extra volume on the outer edge. Apply them with tweezers and try to get them as close to your natural lash line as possible. Allow them to dry completely before you head out the door.