How to Highlight Your Eyes

Carefully placed highlighter can change the shape of your eyes.
... Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

You can make your eyes pop with just a few strokes of a brush. As many celebrities and makeup artists already know, highlighting and contouring can overcome nearly any shortcomings you may feel that you have, while reshaping your eyes and giving you a youthful appearance. Carefully placed highlighter is your secret weapon to make your eyes look larger and brighter since it creates an optical illusion that brings the highlighted area forward. When used properly, highlighting your eyes will enhance your natural beauty so that you can put your best face forward.

Apply a medium shade of shadow from your lash line to the base of your brow. This can be any color, depending on the palette that you're using. Whether it's a neutral shade or a striking color, this mid-tone shadow is one of the building blocks for properly highlighting and drawing attention to your eyes.

Select a darker shade to apply in the crease located in the middle of your eyelid, lightly blending it upward toward your brow. If you have close-set eyes, apply the darker shade primarily to the outer corner, extending it past the lash line to create the illusion of wider eyes. If you have wide-set eyes, apply heavier pigment from the middle of your eyelid inward toward the corner. If your eyes are deep-set, apply the dark shadow right above the crease, blending it upward.

Sweep a light shadow along your brow bone just under the arch of your eyebrow and in the inner corner of your lower lash line to give them a larger appearance. Adding the highlighter to the inside of your lower lash line is particularly helpful if your eyes are small or close-set; this helps create the illusion of more space between the eyes, while making them look larger. If you have deep-set eyes, sweep highlighter along your eye crease to help minimize your eyes recessed appearance.

  • Avoid highlighting too much of the brow bone if you have hooded eyes, which typically look partially closed and heavy. Too much highlighter in the brow-bone area will make the hooded appearance more pronounced. Stick with a small highlighted area along the center of the brow bone and on the inside corner of your lower lashes.
  • Select a highlighting eyeshadow with a lighter color and shimmering finish for more dramatic results. For more subtle highlighting, select a flesh-tone shade with a subtle shimmer or a matte finish.

Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.