Smart Guide: eye candy

The best techniques and products for highlighting your eyes

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – literally. When it comes to makeup application, there’s nothing more important than your eyes. As any expert will tell you, it’s all about how you work them. “Problems start when women think that one look suits all,” says Calgary makeup artist Jessica Taylor. The reality is that the colours and techniques that work for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

The trick is to figure out what best suits your eye shape (there are seven common types). “Every shape has its issues,” warns Toronto makeup artist Diana Carreiro. “You’ve just got to know what yours are and how to deal with them.” Choose the shape closest to your eyes from the drop down menu below and don’t forget to check out the dos and don’ts for everyone.

Small or Asian

Tell-tale sign: Eyes can be difficult to see. Lids are barely visible.
Try this: Small eyes need as much help as they can get, says Taylor, so don’t overwhelm them with colour. Apply neutral tones on the lids and below the eyes to brighten the whites and a medium tone to the outer corner of the eye (sweep up and out slightly). Use a darker shadow on the middle of your lid. Blend along the crease to highlight the area. Line the upper lid above the lashes so that the liner is highly visible (you’re not going for subtle here). Smudge and blend with your finger. Curl your lashes and apply mascara.
Tip: Small-eyed women should look for lash curlers with broad bases. Two great options are M.A.C and Shu Uemura.


Tell-tale sign: Eyes are more than an eye-width apart.
Try this: To fake a more balanced look, start with a medium shadow and dust it on your lid and outer crease. Follow with a darker hue at the inner corners and blend toward the centre, following the crease. Then apply a highlight colour to your brow bone, says Carreiro, and follow up with mascara.
Tip: Keep mascara concentrated at the inner corners to pull eyes together.


Tell-tale sign: Eyes are closer together than the width of one eye.
Try this: The goal is to even the distance between your eyes and nose, so focus on the outer corners of your lids. Start with a shimmery highlighting powder or cream at the inner corner and lid. Add a medium shade at the outer corner and outer third of your crease, extending it past your eye. Line outer corner of each eye and apply mascara to the outer lashes only.
Tip: Stay away from darker shadows, which will make eyes seem closer together.

Large or protruding

Tell-tale sign: Upper lids are prominent. Eyes appear to bulge.
Try this: “You want to help eyes appear to sink back,” says Taylor, who suggests subduing them with a medium to dark shadow on the upper lid that extends above your crease. Use a highlighting shade just below the arch of your brow and line under the lower lid with a dark pencil. Finish the look with mascara.
Tip: Skip light colours, which will only make your eyes look bigger.


Tell-tale sign: Sunken or recessed eyes. Protruding brow bone.
Try this: You’re trying to make eyes look closer to the surface, so use a pale or light shade on your lid and the crease. Work a darker shade from above the crease to the outer corner of the lid, says Carreiro, and a highlighting shade just under the brow. Line the lower lashes and finally, apply mascara.
Tip: Light colours will help draw your eyes out.


Tell-tale sign: Eyes that are almost perfectly round.
Try this: To make your eyes look more almond shaped, use a light colour on the top lid and a darker shade in the outer crease only, extending outward to the temple. Blend well. Line the upper and lower lid and slightly extend the line on the bottom upward. Apply mascara, using more on the upper lashes.
Tip: Use darker colours on the centre of the lid and blend to the crease to create a narrowed effect.

Heavy-lidded or droopy

Tell-tale sign: Eyes that turn down at the outer corners.
Try this: Use a light, shimmery shadow to help corners turn up. Apply from lashes to brow bone and follow with a medium colour on the crease, starting from the inner corner. Line above and below lashes from the outside in, but skip placing colour on droopy areas. Apply mascara, focusing on the centre lashes.
Tip: Dab shimmer on the middle of your lid to lift the eye.