5 Ways to Make Your Eyes Look Bigger

Published in: Eyes, Makeup Tips/How To

How to make your eyes look bigger

#makeupgoals — to make my eyes look SO big that even good-natured, wide-eyed anime characters start talking mad smack…with jealously, of course!

TURBO THE GLITTERY RAINBOW PEGASUS: “Did you see Karen’s eyes today? GURL, I don’t even know. I like big eyes, but hers are HUGE.”


CHICI THE COTTON CANDY KITTY: “I know, right!? I mean, where does she get off making her eyes look bigger than ours? We’re professional anime characters, for crying out loud! We’re supposed to freakin’ dominate that doe-eyed sh*t!”

Haha! Craziness…

It’s true, though.

Making my eyes look as large as possible is one of my top makeup priorities, because I feel like I look spunkier, younger (at least that’s the idea) and generally more alert and awakeย when my eyes appear bigger.

It’s all an illusion, of course, but illusions can be cool, and this one is easy to create. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are five things you can do on their own (or together) to make your eyes look bigger.

1. “Tightline” your upper water line

how to make your eyes look bigger

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in 88 Noir Intense

Darkening your upper water line by placing a dark eyeliner along the base of, and between, your lashes, also known as “tightlining,” makes the line look thicker, which appears to lift, brighten and enlarge your eyes.

The key is to really get down there with liner (waterproof works best for me) as close as possible to the base of your lashes. Just run it along your upper water lines, really getting in between the lashes at the roots, and repeat until you’re happy with the line.

2. Curl your lashes

how to make your eyes look bigger

If your lashes naturally stick out straight or point slightly downward, they might cast a slight shadow under your eyes, which can make them look a little smaller (my lashes do this!). If this happens to you, steal your cat’s favorite lash curler. ๐Ÿ™‚

But seriously, curled, lifted lashes don’t cast the same annoying shadow under your eyes, and they draw attention up, up and away!

Curled lashes can also appear to sort of fold over on themselves, which can make your lash lines look thicker, which also enhances the whole “tightlining” effect.

3. Apply mascara to your top AND bottom lashes

How to make your eyes look bigger

By darkening, thickening and lengthening lashes, especially curled lashes, mascara can also make your eyes look bigger.

To really maximize the doe-eyed effect, look for a mascara that lengthens AND thickens, especially at the roots, and apply it to both your upper and lower lashes.

4. Line your lower water line with a white or beige eyeliner

How to make your eyes look bigger

The MAC Chromagraphic Pencils

OK, so you’ve thickened your lash line and stretched out your lashes — now what? Well, grab a white or beige eyeliner, and line your lower water line with it.

Yup, this one’s another illusion, but it works! Lining your lower water line with white or beige liner makes the whites of your eyes (also known as the sclera) look like they extend below your lower lash line, creating an illusion of MORE white space, which then makes the eyes look bigger.

NOTE: If you tightlined your upper lash line with black eyeliner in step one, some of the eyeliner may have transferred down onto your lower lash and water lines. Just in case (and because you don’t want your white/beige liner to mix with black and turn into a funky, murky gray), you might want to gently run a Q-tip along your lower water lines to clean them up.

Basically, you want that lower lash line to look as bright as possible.

5. Highlight the inner corners of your eyes and just beneath your brow bone

Highlights with Covergirl Eye Shadow in Notice Me Nudes


Almost done!

Now, grab a shimmery or satiny beige eyeshadow that goes well with your skin tone, and pat and blend it into the inner corners of your eyes and just beneath your brow bone. This way, as light reflects off the eyeshadow in these areas, your inner eye area looks brighter, and your brow arches look higher, both of which contribute to eyes that look wider, bigger, brighter and lifted.

Here are some of my top picks for eye-opening products…

What are your favorite tips and tricks to make your eyes look BIGGER? Inquiring minds want to know.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 29 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Dee says:

    Agree 100% with all the tips here and I do all of them but find that the inner highlight is what makes my eyes pop the most! Tightlining the upper water line is something that CAN exacerbate puffiness on me sometimes I find but in general works great. Thanks for the tips ๐Ÿ™‚ xo
    Dee recently posted … Beauty Influencer’s Sunday Column Vol.10: ​What are essential makeup brushes everyone should own?

  2. Katherine M says:

    These are all great tips and pretty on par with what I do (except curl my lashes). I like mascaras that pump up the volume or extend my lashes – like L’Oreal Butterfly Intenza. I do my eyeshadow in an ombre/smokey pattern and that seems to help make my eyes look big and really bring the focus on them. I didn’t used to blend my shadow well and I look at old pics of myself and cringe. I also don’t always use jet black liner – I like off black, like a grey or something mixed with black (think Laura Mercier Black Violet). It seems to bring the focus on my eye color, which is a green-gold hazel.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katherine M,

      If you like off-black and gray-black shades try swatching Chanel’s 912 Ardoise Waterproof Eyeliner next time you’re at the Chanel counter. It’s a gorgeous gunmetal gray that would probably look great on you! It’s one of my favorites.

      Hope you’re having a great week so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. sarahc says:

    Great tips! Totes agree that curling your lashes makes your eyes look bigger and that’s my main tip. Sometimes I also tight line but sometimes it’s a big mess.

  4. Rachel says:

    I have “hooded” lids and straight as can be eyelashes, so basically I don’t leave the house without curling them (shu curler, of course) and applying a coat of mascara (Estรฉe Lauder anything is my favorite). During the busy workweek that’s usually all I do!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Have you tried Estee Lauder’s Little Black Primer yet? It’s amazeballs! And please let me know what’s your fave Estee Lauder mascara!

      • Rachel says:

        Hi Karen,
        I was so tired writing that comment last night! What I meant to say is I like any and all Lancome mascara, right now I’m using up a little sample tube of defincils. I’ll have to try that primer, the only other time I tried a lash primer is when they first came out and it seemed really goopy and weighed my lashes down, but I’m sure they’ve come a long way since then!

        • Karen says:

          No worries, girl! Yes, try the Estee Lauder Little Black Primer sometime. It will make whatever you layer on top look that much more amazing. And it isn’t goopy or heavy!

          Hope you had a nice day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Chelsea says:

    Love and live by most of these tips!

  6. Putting mascara on both the upper AND lower lashes definitely helps! Never felt that the white liner trick worked for me though… It somehow always looks weird on me. Kind of alien-like, almost.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Qlabo Collagenerous Advanced Youth Rejuvenator

  7. Ruchita says:

    Great tips! I find tightlining my upper water line really makes a big difference. I have never tried lining my lower water line. Might have to try that!

  8. Anastassia says:

    Great tips Karen. Thank you.

  9. Rosemary says:

    Great tips. If I’m doing a full face of makeup, I do all of these things except the mascara on the bottom lashes. Seems like whatever mascara I use, it migrates to my under-eye skin. Ends up a smudgy mess. I use either Nars creamy concealer or Clinique’s Airbrush concealer under my eyes and wonder if that’s the problem?
    Suggestions, anyone?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rosemary,

      You might want to try setting your concealer with a very fine under-eye setting powder, like Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder.

      You can also try a separate mascara just for your bottom lashes (I know a lot of people who do this). It’s more work, but when you find one that doesn’t smudge it’s wonderful, LOL! I use MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara. It’s the one in the blue tube for the lower lashes. It lengthens, separates and defines the lashes and doesn’t smudge as the day goes on.

      HTH, and let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Rosemary says:

        Hi Karen, thanks for your reply! Both those products are now on my ever-growing wish list.

        I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that I love your blog, have been reading for a couple of years now, and you always make me smile. Going through a rough time right now, so your sharing your great writing style and Tabs, too, let’s not forget him) means a lot to me.


        • Karen says:

          I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through a rough time right now. Remember that this too shall pass, and that Tabs is always here to give you a virtual nose tap or a kitty hug. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Sending you good thoughts!

    • Lea says:

      Hey! I left you a lengthy mascara opinion in my comment below! haha! Hope it helps~it can be so frustrating to find the right mascara (or eyeliner)! Sorry to hear you are going through a rough time. Will say a prayer for you tonight. Believing for you it is for a greater purpose~

      • Rosemary says:

        Hi Lea! What a sweet comment! Thank you so much. I especially appreciate the prayer. I said one for you too. Still having an issue with my health. Nothing terribly serious, but it has halted my life since November.

        I appreciate the mascara recs too. I’ve written them down. Fingers crossed that one of them will work for me.

        Again, thank you for your kindness. ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Shu Uemura Lash curler has changed my life! I have slightly droopy eyes that could really use some lift and this curler is magic! I’ve tried cheaper drugstore price curlers in the past thinking it doesn’t make a difference but it really does!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … L’oreal Paris Infallible Powder Foundation : Review

  11. Anna says:

    That compact is too adorable! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s interesting that some people should NOT curl their lashes- if your lashes are naturally already curled, curling them further will make them curve backwards to the point where they appear shorter when looked at directly, because the tips won’t be visible.
    I wonder if anyone is as incapable of wearing tightline as I am. Too tickly!

  12. Jenny says:

    Karen do you wear contacts? Do any of the pencils you mentioned smudge onto your contact lenses?

  13. Rachel R. says:

    Great tips!

  14. kerry price-haywood says:

    Hello Karen! Being that your blog is my go to for all things lovely..I was wondering what are your feelings about Kat Von D’s new metal shadow line?

  15. Em C. says:

    I have the same coloring as you and have had the hardest time finding the right foundation. What brand foundation and color are you wearing? I just love how natural your makeup looks. Thank you.

  16. Lea says:

    Karen~THANK YOU for all your awesome swatches (so helpful) and listing of products, as above. So great! 2 questions: 1. Where did you find the awesome leopard compact pictured? ๐Ÿ™‚ 2. Do you reeeeeally like Shu’s curler the BEST? It’s all I’ve used, and I need a new one (after like 15 years!). Debated Bobbi’s or MAC’s, but keep thinking Shu is still the best.

    To Rosemary above, I have had the same exact problem FOREVER!!! I have tried every mascara on the market, cheap and pricey, it seems, and all tricks (diff types of concealers, no lower eye makeup, light powder underneath…). As of the past measly year, the one thing I have found and stuck with (a first for me!) is the mascaras that come off like rubber with just water. Trish McEvoy’s High Volume or Lash Curling work, Blinc (my personal fave), L’Oreal makes one (Blue tube, maybe?), and Bobbi Brown may make one. MAC does not, but I do like their one with “MAC” written all over the tube in a charcoal gray print. Hope that helps! Some of those are obviously pricey, but I’ve given up other things if needed to have NO SMUDGES finally AND bonus–they come off with water or cleanser and water! NO eye makeup remover needed! Just get your lashes wet for a second and lightly rub. Little pieces of black will roll off and be kind of messy, but it all washes away. ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Jean says:

    What are other products you used on this look? The palette, lipstick, blush?

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