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DIY Beauty

How To Apply Eyeliner To Make Eyes Look Bigger

by Beverly Hills MD

March 03 2021

Using eyeliner to make your eyes look bigger is a makeup trick anyone can learn to do at home. With a few tricks and flicks of makeup, you can create the illusion of big, bright eyes. Follow this tutorial to learn how to apply eyeliner to make small eyes look bigger.

First, Some Rules Of Thumb For Creating An Illusion

For this technique, eyeliner is used to create the appearance of bigger eyes. You aren’t actually altering the size of your eyes, of course. It’s all about creating an illusion. To do this, you’ll want to understand some general rules about creating depth and dimension with eye makeup.


  • White (or a light color) draws the eye in and calls attention to facial features.
  • Shimmer acts as a highlighter, catches the light, draws the eye in, and calls attention.
  • Dark colors can help minimize an area or give the illusion of a shadow.
  • Using multiple colors over a uniform base can help add depth and dimension.1


Understanding these rules will help you learn how to apply pencil eyeliner to make your eyes look bigger.

Know Your Liner Types

There are several different types of eyeliner, and they each excel at different things.


  • eyeliner types | Beverly Hills MDLiquid eyeliner is long-lasting and is useful for drawing thin, wispy lines for a winged eyeliner look. Because it can be slow to dry, liquid eyeliner does best on the eyelid and upper lash line, rather than the waterline.
  • Felt-tip eyeliner is a type of liquid eyeliner that uses a felt tip instead of a brush for application. It’s the best choice for applying a wing or cat-eye because it’s easy to control and allows you to draw thick or thin lines depending on how you hold it.
  • Gel eyeliner has a waxy consistency that does not smear or rub off easily. It works well on your waterline because it’s usually waterproof.
  • Pencil eyeliner is versatile. It’s a good choice to use on the waterline, for tightlining, and for a cat-eye technique.
  • Kohl pencil eyeliner has a creamy consistency that works well for a smokey eye.
  • Eyeshadow applied to the eyelid with an angle brush can serve as a more natural-looking alternative to heavy eyeliner.2

Eyeliner Tricks To Make Your Eyes Look Bigger

Eyeliner is a workhorse of the makeup bag, and it can completely change your look when applied in different ways. Here are some tried and true techniques that can actually work to help make your eyes look bigger, brighter, and more open.


Tightlining is the technique of lining your upper waterline – the line of skin between your eyelashes and the eye. This is sometimes called the invisible eyeliner technique because you don’t actually see the liner.


Tightlining can make the base of your eyelashes look thicker. It defines the natural shape of your eyes, gives you a lift, and makes your eyes look larger. To try this yourself, gently lift your lids and trace the area with pencil eyeliner.


Black eyeliner pencil is the classic choice for a bold or sultry look. A brown shade of eyeliner gives a more natural look.3

Apply Nude Or White Eyeliner To Your Waterline

eyeliner tips | Beverly Hills MD

Applying white or nude eyeliner to your waterline (that area inside your lash line) may make you look more awake. This trick helps make your eyes look wider and brighter by making it look like you’ve extended the whites of your eyes.


To try it, gently pull down on your lower lashes and up on your upper lashes to expose your waterline. Trace that area with white eyeliner, or use a shade close to your skin tone for a more natural look.4

Try A Light Shimmer Eyeliner In Your Inner Corners

Apply a creamy, pale-colored eyeliner to the inner corner of your eyes, with or without shimmer. This acts as a highlighter and makes your eyes look more open.5

Try A Blue Or Brown Shade to Line Your Upper Lash Line

blue eyeliner | Beverly Hills MDUsing a colored eyeliner – especially after tightlining with black liner – may help your eyes appear bigger and brighter.


Try this: find a shade that coordinates with the natural color of your eyes, and use it on your upper lash line.

Apply Dark Eyeliner Just Below Your Lower Lashes

Rather than line your lower rim with black, bring your pencil down a bit and line the area right beneath your waterline instead. By drawing this lower line, you help create the illusion that your eyes are bigger than they actually are.6

Keep Your Inner Corners Free From Dark Eyeliner

Heavy eyeliner all around your eyes can give a closed-in look and make your eyes look smaller. Rather than lining from top to bottom, skip the inner corners and focus only on the outer V. This draws the eye outward and makes your eyes look bigger.7


Try A cat-eye or a wing to make your eyes look more open. Both of these flourishes may help draw the gaze outwards and can make your eyes look bigger.


For flattering cat eyeliner, draw a line across your upper lash line, and flick it out all the way up to your crease area. The angle should follow the natural line of your lower lashes. Creating this unbroken sight line may make your eyes look bigger. Map out the line, and fill it in with liquid eyeliner or pencil eyeliner.


winged eyeliner | Beverly Hills MDTo do a wing look, line your upper lashes and continue the line slightly beyond your eyes. Draw a second line on your lower lash line to give the appearance of larger, wider-set eyes.8,9,10

Frame And Lift Your Brows

Grab a soft white eyeliner pencil and draw a line above your brow bone and below your eyebrow arch. This serves to highlight and lift your pair of brows, which can make your eyes look more open.11

Clean Up Your Look

Mistakes happen. If you end up with a wobbly area or a smear, there’s no need to start over. Try dipping a cotton swab in makeup remover, and gently wipe the problem area off your skin. You can also dab a brush in a neutral shade of concealer and sharpen your lines that way.12

Finishing Touches

People of all eye sizes can benefit from a crimp of a lash curler and a few coats of black mascara.


For the most eye-opening effect, curl your lashes with a lash curler and add mascara13

FAQ Section:

Should people with small eyes wear eyeliner?


Answer: Absolutely. People who have smaller eyes need not stay away from eyeliner – in fact, eyeliner can do a lot to make your eyes look bigger. If you’re wondering how to apply liquid eyeliner to make eyes look bigger, consult some of the techniques in this article.


mascara | Beverly Hills MDShould an older woman wear mascara on bottom lashes?


Answer: Women of all ages should wear whatever type of makeup they feel comfortable and confident in. There are no hard and fast rules. That said, mascara on bottom lashes can unwittingly make some eyes look droopy. If you’re on the fence, use some of the tips in this article and try eyeliner instead.14


What color eyeliner should an older woman wear?


Answer: Black eyeliner gives a bold look that many women desire. That said, it can be too intense for some. Shades of brown, olive, taupe, and nude are alternatives that may give a more subtle look.


What is the difference between eyeliner and eyeshadow?


Answer: Eyeliner is perfect for depositing strong pigment in a precise way. Because of this, it is most typically used on the upper or lower lash line to define the eye shape. Eyeshadow is typically blended over the entire eyelid to add depth and dimension there.

Give The Illusion Of Larger Eyes

You should now have plenty of techniques at your disposal. Using a mix of colors (white to highlight, black to add drama) and techniques can help give you the result you’re looking for. Try them out for yourself to see the transformation that’s possible.


Learn More:
How To Create Natural Eye Makeup Looks To Wear Everyday
Makeup For Hooded Eyes: Pro Tips On Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, And More
Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial For Beginners


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