The Best Liner Look for Every Eye Shape

The Best Liner Look for Every Eye ShapeThere’s no wrong eyeliner look for a specific eye shape, but the right one can complement and enhance a woman’s features. While liner application can be tricky, there are tips to simplify the process, helping so that you don’t show up late to work again with mismatched cat eyes. Follow our tips to find the right liner look for your lids. Try one or try them all, but most important: Do whatever makes you feel beautiful.

Small Eyes

Steer clear of black on the waterline, which can make eyes appear even smaller. Instead, swipe white eyeliner along the waterline to open eyes and give your face an awake look.

Celebrity inspiration: Jennifer Aniston

Small EyesClose-Set Eyes

If you have close-set eyes, apply white liner on the inner corners of your eyes and keep darker colors on the outer edges to give the illusion that your eyes are set wider apart. Use the same white to highlight eyebrows: Draw thick lines above and below brows, and blend with a sponge brush.

Celebrity inspiration: Sarah Jessica Parker

Close-set EyesWide-Set Eyes

If you have wide-set eyes, avoid shimmery liner on the inner corners, which can emphasize the space between your eyes. Keep dark liner thick and close to your nose and start the flick of a cat eye earlier than normal. Beginning it earlier can make your eyes appear closer together.

Celebrity inspiration: Kate Moss

Wide-set EyesRound Eyes

Round eyes can handle a lot of makeup, so have fun. Elongate eyes with edgy liner looks such as extended wings at the outer corners or smudged liner on the upper and lower lash lines. Smoky eyes, a thick cat-eye, and dark colors help eyes that bulge forward appear set back.

Celebrity inspiration: Nicole Richie

Round EyesMonolids

If you have limited eye space and lack a crease, a thick cat eye can give the eyelid definition. Opt for a straight line instead of an upward flick at the end. Use liquid liner to draw across the lids, then extend the liner to about the end of your eyebrow. For perfect cat eyes, try drawing a small triangle first, and then fill it in. Want to add a little fun? Choose a color other than black such as red, purple, or blue.

Celebrity inspiration: Lucy Liu

MonolidsHooded Eyes

Hooded eyes can look tired because of their deep creases. They appear to have extra skin that hides the eyelid. Keep liner tight to the waterline; otherwise it won’t be visible when your eyes are open. Use a pencil to line along the eyelashes. Then instead of swiping across just above the lash line, lift your eyelid with your finger and trace under the lash line. The subtle liner will make eyelashes appear thicker. If you want to give the illusion of larger, curved eyes, smudge liner around the top and bottom lash line but keep it thicker at the outer edge. The smoky effect combined with several coats of mascara will open up hooded eyes.

Celebrity inspiration: Jennifer Lawrence

Hooded EyesHow to Achieve the Perfect Cat Eye

Since a cat eye looks great on almost every eye shape, it’s worth mastering the perfect liner flick. If drawing a smooth line across your lids is too difficult, try dotting with liquid liner then connecting the dots, or use a pencil first to perfect the line before finishing with liquid. Messed up? No need to restart: Dip a cotton swab in petroleum jelly to erase any mistakes. Once you reach the outer corner of the eye, it’s easier to start at the end of the winged tip and draw toward the corner. Create a triangle and fill to your preferred thickness.

Pencil, Gel, Or Liquid?

The type of liner you choose depends on personal preference, but each offers a different look and own pros and cons.

  • Pencils are easy to apply and have the longest shelf life, but they smudge easily (a pro if you want smoky eyes) and need to be sharpened frequently.
  • Gels don’t smudge and are easier to apply than liquids, but require a brush and can tug on skin.
  • Liquids last longer and create dramatic looks (perfect for cat eyes) but dry out quickly and can be difficult to apply.

There’s no one perfect eyeliner, so choose based on the look you want to achieve.
Eyeliner Tips for the Perfect, Long-Lasting Look

The Best Liner Look for Every Eye Shape


By Danielle Emig

Danielle Emig is a freelance writer and lipstick lover living in New York City. Originally from Portland, she moved to the big city with only a suitcase full of shoes and a mind bursting with dreams. It was her desire for adventure that led her to NYC, and even working unpaid internships and odd jobs to make ends meet — like cocktail waitressing at a pirate-themed bar — wouldn’t deter her from making it as a writer and editor. Two years later, she landed at InStyle Magazine and hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not sipping out of a lipstick-stained wineglass, Danielle loves to cook, make jewelry, and hang out on her fire escape.