We consider ourselves pretty well-versed in eye makeup: from smoky eyes and cat eyes to the finer points of mascara application and how much glitter is too much glitter. But the specifics of eye shapes had always escaped us—that is, until we had a serious study session with Smashbox. The brand identified six main shapes after studying over 5,000 eyes—almond, hooded, monolid, round, upturned, and downturned—and their new 14-shade palette is designed to maximize each type.
The first step? Finding your shape, of course. Read on to see Birchboxer examples of all six, plus key techniques and application tips for each using the Smashbox Full Exposure Eyeshadow Palette.
Eye shape: Almond
Key characteristic: Almond eyes, the most common shape, resemble the energy-packed nut.
Mission: Increase depth and intensity.
Application: First, we swept a golden shade across the entire lid. We opted for the slightly shimmery S5. To contour and add definition, we applied S7, a rich graphite with silver sparkle in a V-shape along the upper lash line and crease. For almond eyes, focusing darker shades on the lash line and crease helps define lid space. To finish, we added a touch of M4, a creamy neutral, to Melanie’s brow bones and the inner corner of her eyes. Using matte, light shades in these areas opens up the eyes and keeps the pizzazz on the lids.
Mission accomplished! Thanks to a few well-placed swipes of color, Melanie's eyes look sultry and chic.
Eye shape: Hooded
Key characteristic: Hooded eyes have a hidden or less visible natural crease.
Mission: Enhance the visible eyelid space by creating depth.
Application: To make Emily’s lid space appear more prominent, we applied M4, a light matte ivory, all over the lid and up to the brow bone. Avoid a shimmery shade, which will only make the brow bone stand out more and the eyes appear more sunken. Next, we applied S1, a warm copper, along her crease, holding the brush at a downward angle to target the color below the crease (by holding the brush upward, the color bleeds up toward the brow bone and makes the lid appear even more receded). We then used M7, a matte black shadow, as liner and blended it, especially at the outer corner of the eye, to soften and diffuse the color, and finished with a kohl liner. For hooded eyes, keep eyeliner thin and tight so as not to take up too much lid space.
Mission accomplished! Emily's eyes look prominent, bright, and—dare we say it—totally sassy.
Eye shape: Monolid
Key characteristic: Monolids have little to no crease and a softer brow bone.
Mission: Create a gradient of intensity without artificially adding a crease.
Application: To add dimension and enhance her brow bones, we started by applying S4, a light, shimmery shade, just under Jess’s brows and on the inner corners of her eyes. Next, we applied M6, a matte chocolate, on her lash line blending the color halfway up Jess’s lids. To complete the look, we used a flat eyeliner brush to press M7, a rich, matte black, into her upper lash line. Then we diffused the color along the lash line with a smudge brush, extending a bit beyond the outer corners of her eyes for added definition. This final step gives the eyes a more open appearance and ups the intensity. And don’t be afraid of dark liner! It can add definition.
Mission accomplished! The transforming powers of matte and shimmery shadow hues boost intensity and play to the strengths of Jess's eye shape.
Eye shape: Round
Key characteristic: Round eyes have a larger vertical width and more visible white area than almond-shaped eyes.
Mission: Add the appearance of width to maximize the shape
Application: We swept S5, a shimmery dark taupe hue, on Kathleen’s lids to elongate them horizontally. To up the drama, we applied just a touch of M1, a warm brown, onto the crease and swept S5, a slightly darker, more shimmer-packed shade, on her lash line and blended the color upwards. To finish, we traced eyeliner along her upper lash line. Tip: Sweep the colors in semi-circular motions across the lids to further accentuate the shape.
Mission accomplished! Kathleen's round eyes appear bigger and badder than ever.
Eye shape: Upturned
Key characteristic: Upturned eyes have a natural upward lift at the outer corners.
Mission: Made the most of the upward shape with a balance of shimmer and dark hues
Application : We swept a light shade, S4, from the lash line to the brow bone to help balance out the eye shape. Next, we concentrated the shimmery deep bronze S1 on the lid. Finally, we lined the upper and lower lash line with M1 and tapped M7 onto the outer corner of Nicole’s eyes to emphasize her natural lift.
Mission accomplished! Concentrating darker colors on the outer corners of upturned eyes creates balance.
Eye shape: Downturned
Key Characteristic: Downturned eyes have a slight droop at the outer corners.
Mission: Enhance the outer corners to create lift
Application: We started with S4, a base of skin-matching beige shadow with subtle shimmer, then applied M2 on the crease, pulling the darker shade outward past the outer corner of her eye. Next, to create the illusion of lift, we applied a dark matte black to the outer corner of her eye and lightly blended the color up towards the crease in a sideways V-shape. To complete the look, we got a little catty with liquid liner, flicking the color up and out. For even more balance, don't forget to give the outer corners of your lashes an extra coat of mascara.
Mission accomplished! The illusion of lift turns downturned eyes up, up, and away!
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Globetrotter and pink lipstick enthusiast, Ally-Marie is an admitted product hoarder and a diehard advocate for heat-free hairstyle.