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Learn the ways you can use eyeliner to make eyes look bigger! From formula selection to choosing the right color, you’ll discover what types of eyeliner are best for smaller eyes.

The right eyeliner applied with the right techniques can do wondrous things for small eyes. Get easy tips and tricks to create the illusion of big, bright eyes!

Picture board with closeup of woman's eyes and face with text and text box in the middle.

There’s so much more to eyeliner than drawing dark lines. With an array of colors and textures, you can use liner for other eye defining techniques such as highlighting, priming, and shading.

If you’re like me, then you love finding multiple uses for a single product. My Julep eyeshadow stick doubles as a jumbo eyeliner, and my Good Apple Foundation acts as a concealer for my face and body.

The same thing goes for my eyeliner. Being that I was born with small, hooded eyes (that just keep getting smaller with age), I’ve used eyeliner in some creative ways to get the illusion of bigger eyes.

If you have small eyes, don’t fret! You’re going to learn how to harness the magic of makeup to make them look bigger than they actually are.

Once your big doe eyes are set, head to my post on the best peach blush to finish off your makeup look.

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Different Types of Eyeliner

  1. Gel – These bad boys come in either a pencil or pot with a solid yet pliable consistency. Similar to cream to powder formulas, gel liners are smooth and emollient when first applied, but set to a smudge proof finish.
  2. Liquid – Stored in tubes, liquid liners are applied with a thin brush. This type of eyeliner requires a steady hand to create the graphic eye look.
  3. Pencil – This liner is soft and dry making it easy to apply. It’s easy to smudge out, but unlike gel liners, it won’t set to a smudge proof finish.
  4. Felt-tip – A type of liquid liner with an applicator similar to a felt tip pen. The result is an application that’s finer than traditional liquid liners, making it a great option for beginners of the winged eyeliner.

Does Eyeliner Look Good on Small Eyes?

The smoky eye and a graphic liner. These are the eye makeup looks that have us small eyed gals throwing our hands up in defeat. If you’ve resigned yourself that these looks are only for those blessed with big doe eyes, don’t throw out your eye pencils yet.

Eyeliner can absolutely look fabulous on small eyes, making them look better than what nature gave you. It all depends on the tools and techniques applied. By using basic art principles of highlighting and shading, you can brighten, lift, or shade your way to a bigger eye shape.

Best Eyeliner For Small Eyes

Look for these colors, textures, and formulas the next time you’re shopping for liner.

  • White eyeliner
  • Eyeliner a few shades lighter than your skin tone.
  • Pastel eyeliners such as lavender, pink, cream, blue, or peach.
  • Eyeliners with bright shimmer, glitter, or a holographic look.
  • Alternatives to black: brown, gray, navy, and taupe.
  • Liquid liner with ultra thin tips.
  • Brow brush with extra fine bristles.
  • Eye brightening pencil multi stick.

How to Use Eyeliner to Make Eyes Look Bigger

1. Brighten Your Lower Waterline

A pale-colored eyeliner used in the lower waterline instantly makes eyes pop! Opt for white liner, a flesh-toned liner, or be adventurous and try something more colorful.

Closeup of a brunette woman, hair pulled back, holding eyeliner.

2. Enhance the Inner Corners of Your Eyes

Pop a light colored liner in the inner corners and instantly achieve brighter eyes. (Bonus points if your pencil is full of shimmer). 

Closeup portrait of a brunette woman.

3. Line Below Your Bottom Lash Line

Create the illusion of large eyes by taking it beneath your bottom lashes. Soften harsh lines by smudging them out with a small brush or sponge. It’s a subtle way to enhance the shape of your eyes.

Closeup of woman's eyes with text and arrows.

4. Tightline

Using a heavy eyeliner on the top lids can make small eyes look even smaller. But what if you want to use a black eyeliner on the upper lashes? A pro tip is to tightline with a gel eyeliner.

Tightlining is your best option when you want to define the upper lashes with a dark eyeliner. Hold your liner underneath your upper lash line and gently rub across, creating a fuller, more defined eye shape.

Closeup of brunette woman applying eye makeup.

5. Draw Your Kitten Flick on the Outer Corner of the Eye

Avoid closing in the eye area with a dark liner. Instead of drawing your cat eye over the upper lid, start your lines on the outer edge.

Closeup of brunette woman, hair pulled back, wearing green turtleneck.

6. Line the Lower Outer Third of Your Lash Line

For a dramatic smokey eye, adapt the usual way it’s done. Instead of lining the entire lower lash line, (which can close in the eyes), draw it on the outer thirds. Finish off the liner using a light pearlescent shade.

Closeup of a brunette woman.

7. Highlight Your Brow Bone

Swipe a pale, shimmery, or pearlescent eyeliner underneath your brow line for an instant lifting and brightening effect. (You can use the same pencil to brighten the inner corner of your eyes as well).

Closeup of a brunette woman looking sideways from the camera.

8. Choose Complimentary Colors

Play up the natural color of your eyes and use a liner from the opposite side of the color wheel.

Eye makeup color chart with text and images.

9. Create a Bright Canvas

Take a nude eyeliner close to your skin tone and swipe it over your lids. This creates a smooth canvas, acts as an eyeshadow primer, and lightens up heavy shadows making eyes look bigger and brighter. 

Closeup of brunette woman putting on eye makeup.

What are some of your secret makeup hacks? Please share in the comments section below!

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