Shar-peis are cute. Puffy, wrinkly eyes are not. Adhesive eye pads like SK-II Signs Eye Mask calm inflammation and zap swelling in five to ten minutes flat. "What also works wonders is anything cold," says makeup artist Susie Sobel. "Even a bag of ice." And try dabbing a silicone-based primer on crow's-feet to soften and fill lines. We like Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Foundation Primer.
Dark circles can make your eyes appear smaller. The right concealer can work double—even triple—duty on darkness and discoloration. It can also illuminate the entire eye area and draw attention to darker lashes. Choose a shade that's slightly lighter and warmer than your skin to brighten and correct any blue or purple tones. We love Addiction NV Cosmetics Stick to It Cover-Up Stick. Sobel likes to blend the product underneath the eyes and around them, as well as over the lids to really get a uniform base.
Every woman owns an eyelash curler. Most of us forget to use it! You'll regret never spending that extra 20 seconds to curl your lashes. It can immediately make your eyes appear wider and more open. "If someone's lashes are straight, they can cast a shadow on the eye area," says Sobel. "So I'll always curl them no matter what."
Did we mention mascara? Apply a lengthening formula, like Tom Ford Extreme Mascara, along the upper and lower lashes to create wide, doe eyes, and then brush a thickening coat over the top for even flirtier, more battable lashes. Sobel likes to use rubber bristle wands, like CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara, to grab and bulk fine lashes without clumping. And for extra credit, focus an additional swipe near the center of the upper lash line to really draw the eyes upward.
To enhance your lashes (notice a trend here?) and frame your eyes, apply a super skinny strip of black liquid liner along the base of your upper lashes. Felt-tipped options, like Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc'er Precision Pen, deposit rich, inky color while providing control and precision. "And I always like to do a tiny flick at the end just to pull the eye out a bit," says Sobel.
Pencil liners are also effective. If you've worn out your brown and black eye pencils to nubs, you might be in a makeup-color rut. Try easing your way out with navy liner, like L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Eye Illuminator Eyeliner in Black Sapphire—it makes eyes appear whiter (read: bigger).
As for shadows, vibrant shades such as aqua, silver, or pink look best on bare lids "with a lot of mascara and a groomed brow," says Sobel. Lavender eye shadow is universally flattering and brightening. And a dark color blended into the outer corners is perfect for an evening look. Just avoid matte formulas, since they tend to look dated and don't reflect light.
Drawing perfectly seductive almond-shape eyes à la Angelina Jolie eyes is a breeze with the right technique. Take your pencil "from the center of the lash line out, and make it a little thicker on the outer corners," says Sobel. Otherwise, "if it's too thick in the middle, you'll get round, panda eyes, which doesn't help give you a nice, wide shape that's lifted at the edges." Then smudge away any harsh lines with a cotton swab or clean eye-shadow brush.
Filling in this area with a dark liner can look sultry paired with smoky, diffused eye shadow, but it can also make your eyes look about half their size. For a bigger-is-better effect, color the waterline with a flat, white eye pencil to instantly open and brighten them. We love Nars Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Santa Monica Blvd.
"I know it's been this way forever, but putting a medium brown eye shadow in the crease is always good," says Sobel. To avoid looking like a 90210 star, use a fluffy brush to sweep a matte formula in an arc from the outer corners all the way to the centers of the eyes.
There's a reason that even in #nofilter selfies, models seem incapable of taking a bad picture (and it's not just their unfairly superhuman genes): They know how to find the light or at least fake it. A pearly eye shadow or highlighter dabbed on the centers of the lids, underneath the brow bones, and on the inner corners makes eyes look lifted and awake. Look for warm, rosy cream colors if your skin has pink undertones. Golden shades complement yellow and olive skin. And in a pinch, Sobel says, blending an extra dot of concealer on the inner corners and applying some heavy cream above the arches of the brows can also make a huge difference.
Groomed arched eyebrows create a flattering frame for the eyes. And anything that accentuates the eyes is going to make them appear larger. Tweeze away stray hairs—Sobel recommends cleaning up the areas above and below brows—and then fill in any gaps with an eyebrow pencil, such as Surratt Expressioniste Brow Pencil or Clé de Peau Beauté Eyebrow Pencil. Then brush brows up (this is key) and over with a spoolie for clean, defined shape.
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Colorful eyeliner, the right shade of concealer, and a swipe (or two, or three) of mascara. Just a few simple tweaks to your makeup routine is all it takes to emphasize your eyes.