New Year’s Eve is like the Superbowl for eye makeup, and you can’t pass up the opportunity to do the most on your occular regions just because you’re staying home this year. Another excuse that simply won’t hold? Having hooded eyelids. Makeup can seem a lot more difficult to apply hooded eyes, but the solution is often easier than you think. You wouldn’t buy foundation from a brand that doesn’t make your shade, right? Or try to care for thick, curly hair with products made for limp, straight strands? “People expect everything to look the same on everybody, and it’s not going to,” said makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes over Facetime. “But what’s wrong about that?” Hughes herself has partially-hooded eyes, and is arguably the internet authority on remixing makeup looks to work for folks with similar lids. “People comment things on my videos like, ‘But I don’t want to do my eyeliner your weird way.’ The thing is, if you’ve got hooded eyes, you’ve got to maneuver product differently. Do you want it to look straight and graphic or misshapen?”
A couple weeks ago, I took to ITG’s Facebook Group (still going strong, by the way!) and asked readers to share their most pressing hooded eye makeup questions. And then I called Hughes to run through them, rapid fire, and get her best tips. Before we begin, a couple general pointers. “People with hooded eyes should do everything with their eyes open,” explained Hughes, because it’s tricky to know what parts of the lid will be visible otherwise. She also admitted you might not get it perfect the first time. But Hughes’ mission with hooded eye makeup is to encourage folks to practice and play, which is even more reason to try out a new makeup look tonight. “You can read all the tips you want, but until you actually try, you’re not going to figure out how to make things work on your own eyes.” What else are you waiting for? Why not experiment with…
Makeup That Won’t Move
If you have hooded eyes, the fold of skin over your eyelid can pull pigment where you don’t want it. Adequately priming the lid gives makeup something to grip on to, so it doesn’t slide around as much. “I don’t use primer or setting spray,” said Hughes, who prefers to repurpose products you likely already own. “I start with a face mist everywhere. If I use eye cream, I stop at the orbital bone and not go anywhere above that.” A sheer coat of Nars Soft Matte concealer and a translucent powder (Hughes likes the ones from Nars and Bareminerals, if you’re in the market for a re-up) on the lids is usually enough for even the oily.
A Classic Cat Eye
Hughes’ unique cat eye technique is now practically ubiquitous on the internet, and relies on a modified batwing shape. First, start drawing a triangular wing with your eyes wide open, relaxed, and staring straight ahead. Now, to address the folds. “If there is skin in the way of where your liner should go,” said Hughes, “fuck that skin, just go over it. Don’t try and make the folds work for you.” Starting at the where you want the tip of your wing to be and drawing the line inwards towards the corner of your eye makes it easier to skim over the hooded part. As Hughes demonstrated for me over video, dragging out from the corner of your eye pulls the skin and leaves you with a rippled line—that doesn’t happen if you work outside in. “Then I go back in to fill in the triangle,” she added. Once the shape is blocked out, you can close your eyes to refine it. It should look like a graphic double swoop. “I like to use a brush tip eyeliner for this,” said Hughes, “because with folds, things that flow are easier to manipulate.” She likes the one from Surratt best.
A Smoky Eye, Two Ways
You’ve got two options here: the first is a subtle smoky lash detail. Sure, it’ll disappear under the fold of a hooded eye, but there’s nothing wrong with a sexy surprise each time you blink. Hughes likes to use a soft kohl pencil to smoke out the lash line—it’s easy to blend and add more until you reach your desired level of darkness.
A second option is a more dramatic smoky eye that’s visible with eyes open. For that, you’ve got to bring the color above your eyelid hood. “I think people are scared of bringing color too close to their eyebrows, but I tend to go as close to the brow as I can,” said Hughes. With a soft, fluffy brush, bring a mid-toned shade past the crease and up towards the brow bone. “If you put a highlight shade under the brow, and then a black shade at the lash line, you still get that fade and that softness.” Worst case scenario, you can pull the color back a smidge lower with some concealer.
A Glamorous Cut Crease
Without a visible crease to cut, Hughes explains you’ll have to get a little artistic. Cover the lid up to the brow bone with shadow (a cakewalk!), then take a moment to assess your eye shape and what you want to accomplish. “For lack of better wording, a hooded eye swallows up a lot of makeup,” said Hughes. A cut crease should be visible with eyes open, so you’ll have to block out a shape above the fold with your eyes open too. Hughes likes to use a matte concealer on a precision brush for this part. “The bigger the shape you draw with concealer, the bigger it’s going to make your eyes look,” she described. But it’s a catch 22—the higher you draw your cut, the less shadow color will be visible above it. Following? Once you’ve figured out the shape with your eyes open, you can close your eyes to fill it in with concealer. It won’t look exactly the same with your eyes closed, but you’ll get the look you want while looking straight ahead.
Glitter, Euphoria-esque Or Otherwise
For a glittery look, whether via shadow or gemstones, Hughes only has one rule: don’t place them underneath the fold. “If you place glitter with your eyes closed, when you open your eyes, you’re going to lose some of it,” she explained. After applying your glitter with eyes open, Hughes suggests you blink and look again. “If I see some of the glitter transferring, I’ll just go a bit higher above the fold to wherever that transfer is.” Changing the shape of your makeup is a lot easier than battling with the shape of your eye, and it looks just as good. One word to the wise: if you’re concerned about veering too over the top when you cover that much area, it helps to use soft glitter shades.
A Pop Of Bright Color
So many different routes with this one! Most obviously, you can cover your whole lid in a bright color so it looks like liner when your eyes are open and a bold statement when they’re closed. “What people fail to remember is that, though you might not be able to see it when you’re chillin’ with your eyes open, people will see a flash of color when you blink.”
You can also avoid the hooded eyelid conundrum entirely. “I did a look on myself ages ago where I did orange in the inner corners, and that was it. It was really fun,” said Hughes, who recommends playing around with different placements. Another one of her favorites that doesn’t involve the lid at all is lining only the bottom lashline with shadow.
Finally, if you want a graphic look, Hughes suggests working with your unique eye fold to create a shape entirely your own. “I saw something really cool recently where the makeup artist did their eyeliner, looked up while it was still wet, and then used the transfer mark as a guide to draw a more intentional line.” A wet MAC eyeliner brush turns any shadow color into fodder for precision lines. “Those are the three best friends you could ever have for anything eyeliner,” Hughes added.
Photo via ITG