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How to Make Deep-Set Eyes Stand Out

Updated on January 20, 2012
Enhance deep-set eyes with light, shimmery shades.
Enhance deep-set eyes with light, shimmery shades.

Makeup for Deep-Set Eyes

Deep-set eyes can look mysterious. Sexy. Or hidden. Add that to the frustration of shadows cast below the eyes that make you look like you're always in need of a couple of more hours of sleep or a Zyrtec.

There are ways to make deep-set eyes stand out, though:

  • Use a shimmery, light shade on your lid. For the best results, find one with an undertone that contrasts with your eye color. For example, brown and green eyes will look lovely with lavender-tinged neutrals, and blue eyes will become stunners when they play off of an icy peach (try pinkish-peach if your skin tone is cool or neutral). For more depth and to make your eyes look wider, use a matte shade that's a shade darker than your skin tone in the crease. Then bring that color up out of the crease toward the brow bone, but don't go all the way up. Use a satin or matte shadow that's one shade lighter than your skin tone to highlight under the brow.
  • Instead of using your average concealer, add a smidge of highlighting cream like Benefit High Beam or NARS Copacabana Illuminator. You can also buy products that highlight and conceal at the same time, like Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer. I've found that these work even better than some of the heavier concealers that tend to get all the glory, like Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer and Make Up For Ever HD Concealer. Those tend to find their way into fine lines and look dry and cakey, at least in my experience. One really popular, well-loved highlighting product is YSL Touche Eclat, but I haven't ventured into that territory yet; I'm afraid I'll love it, and at $40 for a 0.1 oz pen, well…
  • In case you haven't noticed, the key is to highlight, highlight, highlight in order to defeat the shadows cast around deep-set eyes. Choose a shimmery white, beige, silver, or gold (whatever looks best with your skin tone and the other shadow shades you're wearing) and place that at the inner corner of your eyes in a sideways "V" shape. This V is much smaller than the one you may sometimes do at the outer corner with a dark shade. Don't take it too far over into the lash line on the top or the bottom.
  • Do use liner along the top lashes so they'll look lush and thick, but don't make a thick line. A thick, dark line will make the lid look as if it's set farther back, which is what you don't want. Tightlining is another option that keeps the lid completely free of dark liner but still defines and enhances the lashes. Hold a kohl liner or any soft, smudgy liner you have almost vertically. Tilt it in slightly so that the point can reach the underside of the top lash line. Rub the point back and forth over the roots of the lashes from underneath (careful not to scratch your eye!). This is similar to lining the water line on the bottom, but you're applying the product directly to the roots of the lashes instead of above them.
  • Use a lengthening mascara or one that will lengthen and thicken your lashes. Thick lashes are beautiful, but if you have deep-set eyes, they won't stand out with a thickening formula alone. Bring those lashes forward and out as far as possible. Selecting a deep shade of plum (for brown and green eyes), navy (for blue eyes), or burgundy (for hazel and green eyes) will call extra attention to your eye color.

If you have deep-set eyes and you're sick of hearing, "You look tired," or you just weren't sure how to make the most of one of your favorite features, try some of these tricks. You can make your deep-set eyes stand out with careful color selection and some highlighting techniques.


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