Extremely beginner-level makeup instructions for hooded eyes
September 9, 2021 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I have hooded eyes, I am utterly inexperienced with eye makeup, and I'm looking for a tutorial that covers both of those bases. Lots of stuff I'm finding about hooded eyes assumes you know some terms, don't mind a ten-step process, etc. That's not me. Pretend I'm your baby sister, I just bought my very first palette, and I just threw it in the trash in frustration because nobody's instructions matched my face — that's where I'm at. Where can I start that won't be invisible or smear off immediately?
posted by nebulawindphone to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Hahaha, right? What the hell is a transition color? I’ve never understood these terms but I like to think I do an ok job on eyeshadow. Here’s why (FYI I am a white 43yo cis lady with hooded eyelids.)

1) Eye primer! I smear it on with my finger, for extra sophistication. It keeps my eyeshadow from creasing or just falling off.

2) The highest-up color, which goes up above my actual lid and roughly to the top of my eye socket, is usually a bit darker than my skin but not much. It’s also matte. The job of this color is to make me look more like I have a visible eye socket instead of just poofy skin- puff. The slightly darker shade and matte-ness will make it recede a bit. I don’t want it to be too dark, though, since I don’t want it to be mistaken for my eye socket (during the day, on Zoom calls, anyway.)

Then for my actual upper eyelid I do a slightly deeper, more saturated fawn color, which can have some shimmer. I also do a slightly winged black long-wear liquid eyeliner, and mascara on my upper lid.

I’ll PM you a picture so you can decide if I am doing a thing you want to do.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:19 PM on September 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

Or you can be me, leave the eye shadow in the trash, and only use smudged liner, mascara, and brow mascara. I got so tired of not being able to "do" eye shadow that I moved on. I have had a professional do my eye makeup and work wonders, but it seemed too time-consuming. I apologize since you're looking for tutorials and my answer is not pointing to that.
posted by XtineHutch at 3:27 PM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Reddit's "Beginner's Guide to Eye Makeup Products"

The reddit itself, https://www.reddit.com/r/MakeupAddiction/ is a "fountain of veritable good ideas".
posted by kschang at 3:29 PM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yes, start with a primer.
Lisa Eldridge smokey eye make-up for hooded eyes tutorial; Eldridge winged eye makeup.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:34 PM on September 9, 2021 [8 favorites]

Forgive me if this is not intro-level enough, but here are some tips from makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes (disclaimer: I know her, and she is lovely!). She also has hooded eyes and her Instagram (@katiejanehughes) is full of great tutorials that might give you some more ideas.
posted by Synesthesia at 3:35 PM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have been following this woman on IG for a long time, and she wrote a book about eye makeup for Hooded Eyes. She has all kinds of info and videos and tutorials and I have always found her to be helpful and clear.
This page talks not just about hooded eyes, but other eye shape characteristics.
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:38 PM on September 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: (For real, please act like I've never worn makeup in my life. Videos with steps like "I'm just going to mix a color from scratch" or "I'll start by doing winged eyeliner real quick" are probably not that hard all things considered, but they're way above my level right now.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:45 PM on September 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I’m a hooded-eye-haver who’s really into eyeshadow and knows all the fancy terms and stuff, but honestly my favorite way to wear eyeshadow is to take some sort of brown color that’s noticeable on my skin and just, like, smear it with my fingers or a brush all over my eyelid up until the “crease” / top of the socket. It may take some trial and error to find which colors look better or worse on you when you do this, but once I found a few good colors, I ended up preferring the way this style looks over most of the more advanced techniques.
posted by chaiyai at 4:40 PM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, and I just noticed the part of your question about something that won’t be invisible or smear off. If you’re able/willing to buy a palette from somewhere like Sephora or Ulta, I’ve had significantly better luck with those than with drugstore palettes (which sometimes truly do feel invisible). But if you’d like to avoid expensive palettes or eyeshadows, you might try searching google or reddit for “good drugstore palettes”? I’ve also heard good things about Colourpop as a sort of middle ground whose palettes are beginner-friendly and high-quality but less expensive than traditionally “high-end” palettes, although I haven’t tried them myself, so I’m just repeating what I’ve heard...

Good luck, I really hope this is helpful!
posted by chaiyai at 4:45 PM on September 9, 2021

If you were my baby sister, I would pay someone to give you a tutorial on your face and recommend products. Maybe that's not doable right now because of COVID but I (who unfortunately has no advice for your eye shape) truly wish I had not wasted so much time on youtube and pinterest and blog tutorials trying to figure it out these things. I would 100% throw cold, hard cash at this problem.

Actual advice (not products but tools): Invest in a good magnifying mirror. Half of my struggles were because it was so hard to SEE what I'm doing.
posted by sm1tten at 5:50 PM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This lady writes a blog called Whoorl and she’s done a few tutorials/advice on applying makeup to hooded eyes. Ignore the products she rec’s (you can use cheaper/drugstore stuff). This is the only one I can find right now.

Like anything, it takes a little bit of practice. Some people start playing around with makeup as teenagers, so by the time they’re in their 40s they have 30+ years of experience. So don’t worry if you’re not great at first. My best trick for getting makeup to stay put, not smear, and not transfer to your top eyelid is using eye primer. It seems like a fancy extra step, but it makes a huge difference! There’s some drugstore brands, and if those don’t work for you there’s tons at Ulta or Sephora.

I think there’s a few terms you need to know and I found a diagram here if it helps. An eyeshadow “palette” is a compact (thin box) with multiple colors of shadow. Some have a few, some have a ton. You honestly just need a few colors and then when you get a look you like down you can try out other colors/fads/etc. if you are into it. Don’t let anything you read convince you that you need the most expensive palettes or brushes. I use one brush and my finger. Sure, the expensive stuff can be nice but it’s not necessary.
posted by Bunglegirl at 5:56 PM on September 9, 2021

Well, there is this little series - Beauty of hooded eyes, which basically shows different ways how various models and actresses deal with hooded eyes. Dos for hooded eyes, which goes into principles of how to do make up for hooded eyes. A couple of specific topics - Eye liner, Smokey. And a video on how to make your eyes look huge- if you take the time to actually watch some of the videos people suggest, even if you consider them too advanced, you’ll see that the recurring recommendations are to give the illusion of more definition and depth of eye socket where there is little in a hooded eye. That also tends to make the eyes look larger. The terminology will also make a lot more sense if you watch a few videos. Aly, linked here, is great at explaining as is Lisa, on how to create definition here from 3.20.

You don’t have to do all the things these videos recommend. If you just want to find a slightly darker than your skin tone shadow and apply that on the ‘hood’ to make it recede a bit and add mascara and are done that’s fine. Exact placement and shade will be trial and error.

How long a given product lasts on your skin will be very specific to your skin chemistry and eye shape. So it is rather a question of trial and error. I can apply primer and long lasting shadow and because I have very oily skin and fairly hooded eyes this will still smudge and settle in the crease. For somebody with less oily skin, this would not move until they remove it.

So I tend to use something very neutral, close to my skin colour to even out the visible parts of my lid and hood and then add definition on the lashes and make my eyes look bigger overall by adding a bit of slightly darker shadow under the eye and on the outer edges of the hood, blended towards the inner parts because that is less likely to move for me and still gets the job done.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:05 PM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

I also want to agree with the above comment that getting in person instruction would be awesome. Personally I have not had good experiences with getting my makeup done at Sephora or a department store since I despiset getting sold to (and they’re ultimately there to sell) but you might have a different experience, especially if paying for instruction specifically.
posted by Bunglegirl at 6:06 PM on September 9, 2021

Best answer: I have hooded eyes and didn't know it. If you want the easiest possible eye makeup, use an eyeshadow stick like this. That one's pricey, but you can find cheaper ones to test out at Sephora. You just smear it on. I use a primer first because I'm oily and sweaty. I use a pencil eyeliner, the most basic and easy eyeliner. Again, I basically just smear it on. I don't do shapes or shading, just draw it on and smudge it it little. You could start with this while you experiment with more complicated techniques and figure out what you like.
posted by Mavri at 6:10 PM on September 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

With eyeliner I recommend a little cat eye so even if whatever you did disappears under your lids, you’ll get a little mileage. Just a little curly swoosh from the outside corner of your eye, continuous with what you do to the lid. Also seems to help bring out the liner on the lid.

For shadow I just go fucking nuts until it’s visible, no matter what it takes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

More a data point for passersby (seems from your post history you would already know the results) but I think going on estrogen changed the fat stores around my eyes in a way that makes eye makeup a little easier.
posted by Gymnopedist at 8:08 PM on September 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I learned from Wayne Goss as an absolute eye makeup noob a few years back and have had a lot of fun expanding and experimenting with his technique.

Bonus level: he has an amazing Aussie accent.
posted by transitional procedures at 11:22 PM on September 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Nthing eye primer, but here to tell you that concealer can also work as primer, if that's something you already have in your makeup stash. I also recently discovered ColourPop's Super Shock Shadows, which I just smoosh on with my fingers (either with primer or not--they're sheer without and more opaque with) and go. They show up, stay on, and come in great colors.

I also want to affirm the colorful eyeliner route, which is very fun and easy as pie.
posted by dizziest at 7:21 AM on September 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if they are still in print or not, but Kevyn Aucoin's books are great. I found my copies at used book stores. They're from the 90s, but he was a proponent of a classic look, so unless you're looking at very specific pages, they won't look terribly dated. (This image search gives some examples of the types of diagrams you'll find in the book, obviously for more than just eyes, but they are so helpful.)

I would also recommend starting out with a fairly simple palette, with just a 3-4 colors. I like Smashbox for staying power -- but lots of drugstore brands will have versions of these too. They'll usually be 3 shades of the same color. You do the middle one on your lid, the darker one on the crease, and the lightest for browbone (Smashbox's also have a diagram of this -- images here). Those of us with hooded eyes have to kind of play around with the crease shade to find the placement where it's still visible. I just get in there and windshield wiper my brush all through the crease fairly dark, using my eye socket bone as a guide, and then blend out. When my eyes are open, you only get a hint of it as a wing toward the outer edge, but it defines the crease when my lids are closed.

If you don't want it to smudge off, you MUST use primer first. Ulta's is pretty solid for a cheaper version, but Urban Decay's is the best I've found. Those of us with hooded eyes are just dealing with the friction of the hoods touching the lid more than others are, so it will rub off without primer. I also like Urban Decay's setting sprays -- expensive, but a little goes a long way, so go with a travel size to start out. (Primer + setting spray will actually keep eyeshadow on for me during roller derby games, even in the hooded part!)

Also, just for the record, this cat eye tutorial for hooded eyes from Katie Jane Hughes is a revelation.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:34 AM on September 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wanted to drop in and mention: While an eye primer is good, they are not all created equal! Some of them have more slip (my preferred texture, in spite of having oily lids); some of them will grab onto shadow and hold tight, making casual blending impossible (thus the 10 step processes with transition shades and whatnot). This is where trial size and minis are your friend. Don’t let a primer you find hard to work with further your frustration, because somewhere out there, there is a formula that will do more for you.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:20 AM on September 11, 2021

this Tynan Sinks tutorial
posted by TayBridge at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2021

Start with using just one color at a time. Open your eyes, look in the mirror, and put a tiny little dot of eyeshadow on your lid where you can see it with your eyes open. You can use a qtip or a small brush. Then, apply eyeshadow on your eyelid up to that point, and see how you like it. You can experiment with bringing the eyeshadow a little higher if you want to be able to see more color (since your eyes are hooded, a lot of your lids won’t show when your eyes are open).

When you want to experiment with using two or three colors, I find that a gradient from inner to outer eye is the easiest application for hooded eyes. I use a lighter color my on eyelid area on the inner (nose) side, and a darker color on the outer (temple) side.

If you choose a color close-ish to your skin tone, no one will be able to tell if it’s a little messy. For me, that usually means a shimmery beige, light gold, or light bronze. As you get more confident, you can branch out into colors that contrast more with your skintone.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:43 PM on September 11, 2021

I don't have hooded eyes, but my eyelids are extremely oily. For mascara, don't bother with anything but tubing mascaras; everything else will smudge. I use this one which is only available in Asian stores but if you ask someone at Sephora they can point you to something similar.

Liquid eyeliner is also the only eyeliner type that doesn't smudge on me. I use this one which is also Asian but maybe others will have suggestions for something easier to find Stateside. The brush tip (vs a stiff marker-like tip) makes it easier to draw wings. I have given up on pencil and gel liner.
posted by airmail at 1:05 AM on September 12, 2021

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