As a makeup artist, it’s your job to make your client look and feel beautiful. So where’s a better place to start than at the windows to the soul?

While eyeliner can seem simple (I mean, it is just a line), it can completely change the eye shape and as a result, the face. That famous cat-eye liner has been extremely popular for years, but does this look suit every pair of eyes?

Each client has their own unique eye-shape, so there’s no one-look-fits-all for eye makeup. Several different eye types are well known, but there is no definitive way to apply eyeliner. Your client might have a combination of one or more eye types, or they may want a liner look that’s not be the most flattering for their eye shape. At the end of the day, you need to rely on your expert eye and your client’s needs when you’re on the job.

Luckily, we’re here to help you out! Read on for tips on how to apply eyeliner for all the different eye types in the spectrum.

Almond eyes

almond eyes lined

What do they look like?

You can’t see any white around the irises. Your client’s eyes resemble an almond as her lids hug her irises.

What can you do?

Any eyeliner look would work on your client, but there is no going wrong with a classic wing. This is definitely the most versatile eye shape, but keep in mind the amount of lid space your client has– this will affect how thick (lots of lid space) or thin (smaller lid space) their line should be.

Round eyes

What do they look like?

You can see white above and/or below the irises (the colored part).

What can you do?

You want to elongate your eyes to help balance out all the roundness. A great way to achieve this is to do a longer winged eyeliner look. Focus on lining the upper lash line where the iris starts, and pull it out into a geometric “v” shape at the outer corner.



What do they look like?

There is no crease above your lid.

What can you do?

A flat lid space on the eye can be a great canvas for some graphic eyeliner or a dramatic cat eye. If your client has a lot of lid space, thicken up the eyeliner so it doesn’t disappear when your client opens her eyes. If there isn’t a lot of lid space, start with a thin line and thicken it at the outer corner, or consider using a push liner to conserve lid space.

Deep set

What do they look like?

The eyelid looks as if it’s going all the way to the back of the head, so the brow bone appears super prominent.

What can you do?

Avoid a thick liner on the top lid if you don’t want your client to look like a meerkat. For a less hollowed-out look, line the eyes thinly at the upper and lower lash lines. Start at the outer half of the eye, but don’t draw the line all the way in. You don’t want the eye to look sunken in!

deep set

Protruding eyes

What do they look like?

The eyes are large and appear as if they’re popping out at you.

What can you do?

If your client has this eye type, they likely have a lot of lid space to work with. Apply thick liner from the inner to outer corner to decrease the amount of lid space, making the eyes appear more deep set. Avoid glitter liners as they will draw more attention to the eyes’ prominence.

Hooded lids

nude waterline

What do they look like?

The crease isn’t visible because of the extra skin drooping over the lid. The heaviness can start only at the outer edges of the eye.

What can you do?

Hooded eyes can sometimes look small, and lid space will be scarce when the eyes are wide open. Tightlining and/or using a pushup liner can do wonders for this eye type. Push the liner right up into the lash line instead of taking up lid space, and apply a flesh-toned liner on the waterline to open up the eyes.

Upturned eyes

What do they look like?

If you were to draw a line through your eyes, the outer corner would pull upwards.

What can you do?

The lower lid appears longer than the top, so you need to use eyeliner to create balance. Apply straight, thick liner at the outer corner on the top lid. Apply a thick line to the bottom lash line from the middle of the iris to the outer edge to keep everything proportional.

Downturned eyes

downturned eyes

What do they look like?

If you were to draw a line through your eyes, the outer corner would pull downwards.

What can you do?

Similar to the upturned eyes, the slant makes one lid appear longer than the other—in this case, it’s the top lid. Start with a thin line at the inner corner and thicken to a wingtip to lift the eyes up. Skip dark liners on the bottom lash line, and opt for a nude liner.

Wide set eyes

What do they look like?

The eyes are farther away from the bridge of the nose, and you can fit another entire eye in the space between them.

What can you do?

Since the eyes are fairly far apart on the face, be careful not to pull them out even farther. Focus on inner corners of eyes to pull the eyes closer together.

For something a little different, line around the tear-duct to draw the eyes closer, and avoid thickening up the outer edges.

Close set eyes

close set eyes

What do they look like?

The eyes are close to the bridge of the nose, and you can’t fit another whole eye in the space between them.

What can you do?

Apply liner thinly towards the inner corners of the eyes, and thicken it up at the outer corners. Focus your makeup on the outermost part of the eyes to pull them apart. Avoid darkness (thick liner) towards the inner corners as it draws the eyes closer together.

Small eyes

What do they look like?

The eyes are smaller in proportion to the rest of the face.

What can you do?

Avoid using a black liner on the waterline because it will make the eye seem even smaller. Use a flesh-colored kohl liner on the waterline to open up your eyes, and make them look more awake.

For the top lid, start off thin, and then thicken it up into a cat eye at the end. You can either leave the bottom lash line bare, or line just the outer half, smudging it along the line.

So you think you’ve master the art of eyeliner? Check out these other makeup tutorials for more tips and tricks on the latest makeup techniques.

Author Celina Feng

More posts by Celina Feng

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Davia Gorman says:

    I love this guide and its super handy..this is worth resharing seriously when there is so much information packed into this well-written article.

    There are various eye shapes and the more you know about how to apply properly, the better the overall end result you will have for yourself and your client!

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