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melinda tickel
Do hooded eyes make you look old?

As a makeup artist I have been asked on various occasions, 'Do hooded eyes make you look old?' My answer is always the same, and that is that I am not interested in how other people perceive my, or anyone else's, age. It's about making the best of your features, looking and feeling your best, being confident at every age and stage of life after 40.

The solution to looking the best for your age is always to work with your features, however you perceive them. Hooded eyes are just an eye shape.  I have them, and some of the most beautiful women in the world have them.  So rather than ask, 'Do hooded eyes make me look old?', let’s look at the best ways to enhance this beautiful eye shape. 

Marketing of products has left us feeling like we are less than we are.  It’s in companies' best interests to encourage us to view ageing as a negative, so that we buy the millions of anti-ageing products on the market.  Brands want us to buy their products to fill that ‘less-than’ feeling.  After all, that’s what makes them profitable.  Think about all the advertising that tells us to - quick! - cover our greys, or to use this magic ANTI-AGEING cream so we can look as good as this model (whose image has been airbrushed in a studio).  

So, rather than focusing on whether makeup can help us look younger, let’s instead look at working with our features and looking after the body and mind. Doing this gives us the best chance to not only look our best, but to feel our most confident after 40, and at every age and stage of life beyond that.  

As mentioned earlier, my eyes are hooded, so I want them to look more open. By using makeup to do this I can achieve a more ‘open-eye’ appearance, which is more flattering and helps me feel more confident when I am out and about talking to people and maintaining eye contact in conversations. 

As a makeup artist I am used to working with different eye shapes and one of the most common is a hooded shape.  It’s also an eye shape characteristic of mature skin, as the lid gets heavier with age and can close the eye in.

A hooded eye is still a beautiful eye. The shape does, however, require special attention to help open it up. Many women fret at the suggestion of hooded eyes but, to be honest, I have found that in my work as a makeup artist an awful lot of people have hooded eyes.

1. Prep your eyes

When applying makeup the most important step is the first one, which is to prep the eye properly. Here are the steps I use on myself and on clients.

Step 1  Use an eye primer to prep the eye. There are many on the market, some good, some not so good. A really good one is the Urban Decay Eyeprimer.

Step 2 Set the eye primer with a loose powder. A fabulous powder, and the one I now use the most for all of my makeup tutorials, is the Jane Iredale Translucent Loose Setting Powder. I also recommend this because it has SPF 30 in it. Apply and then glide over with your finger. It should feel silky, soft and smooth to the touch.

Step 3  Your eyes are now ready for the rest of your eye makeup.

2. Create a crease

Hooded eyes have very little lid space. You don’t want to close in your eye even further by loading on too much makeup. What we need to do is concentrate on using light and subtle shadow colours and highlighter to open up the eye.

Step 1  To achieve a more open-eye appearance, it is worth investing in a good naturals eyeshadow palette that contains taupe or soft-brown colours.

My favourite by a mile is the Too Faced Natural Eye Shadow Palette. The eye shadow colours glide on and don’t drop and smudge all over the place (who has time for that?).

A light-to-medium taupe or brown eyeshadow is a subtle way of opening up the eye. It does this by creating a shadow effect. Place the shadow colour just above the natural crease of your eyes in a windscreen wiper motion.

Step 2  Add a darker colour from the same Too Faced Naturals Palette . Make sure it is darker than your taupe or soft brown. Use a small pencil brush and apply the colour just below your taupe placement. Take it into an inverted V on the outer corner of each eye. Blend with a clean fluffy eye brush.

Step 3 I like to add a frost colour to the centre of my lid for this step. I find, generally speaking, that frosted colours are more flattering on hooded eyes. Silk Teddy in the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette is perfect for this. Sometimes frosted colours have a tiny fine dusting of glitter as well. I think this works well for an evening look.

3. Don’t put eyeliner above your lashline

This is a general rule. I find I can add a tiny eyeliner line to my eyes when I am adding false lashes to my look. But even then, it’s best to avoid them.

If you have little-to-no eye space between the lash line and your crease, then eyeliner just won’t be flattering and is likely to transfer onto the lid. You won’t see it either, and it’s likely to transfer onto the upper-eye area. This can get really messy!

If you are going for a natural look, then apply eyeliner only to the waterline just under the top lashes. Then use a waterproof eyeliner so it doesn’t run or disappear. This will make your lashes look thicker. Use a waterproof eyeliner pencil in a dark colour like black, dark brown or charcoal, such as the Huda Life Eyeliner, which has a pencil on one end and a pen on the other, making it super versatile.

4. False lashes

Without a doubt, the best lashes I have ever used on my hooded eyes are individual lashes. This is because:

a. They don’t take up any lid space - ideal for hooded eyes

b. You don’t need to use an eyeliner with them

c. You can get any look you want, from wispy to natural to cat-eye shape.

The best ones in my opinion are the Sweed Nikki Clusters.

NB  I also like the 3/4 strip lashes as they elongate the outer eye.

5. Curl your natural lashes before applying mascara

If you’re not crazy about wearing false lashes, there is an alternative! Curling your natural lashes with an eyelash curler before applying mascara is a great way to open up the eye. This is true for all shapes but especially if you have hooded eyes. Curling your lashes will maximise their length as well.

A little trick is to gently warm the eyelash curlers with your hairdryer. This gives the lashes more staying power and will curl them more effectively than if you use them without heat. Avoid getting them too hot, though, because you could burn the delicate skin area and potentially damage your lashes.

I use Surratt Relevée Eyelash curlers and I have found them to be the best. They are a little on the expensive side but well worth the investment.

My choice of mascara is Stila Huge Extreme Mascara in black. It lengthens, curls, creates volume and is waterproof, so it won’t end up half-way down your face by lunchtime.

I do hope this article has helped to refocus your attention on enhancing this beautiful eye shape, rather than worrying about whether hooded eyes make you look old. It’s much more positive and empowering to focus on looking the best we can for our age, with the knowledge of correct makeup techniques that work for you, not against you.  

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Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

  • I’m Mel and the author here on the blog.

  • I help women with grey hair thrive with beauty and lifestyle tips that inspire self care and confidence.

  • Wife, mum of 3, author, hair and make-up artist and lifestyle mentor for women who choose to embrace their grey hair.

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