The 12 Best Eyeliners for Hooded Eyes—Plus the Best Application Techniques From the Pros
Whenever I look at Cher, there’s one thing I always think of (besides her iconic role in Mermaids)—it’s that I’m slightly jealous of all the real estate she has on her lids for makeup. I have hooded eyes, so any eyeshadow and eyeliner I apply becomes more subtle and hidden. As someone who lives and dies by winged eyeliner, it can be a little frustrating to draw an immaculate, dramatic cat-eye, only to close my eyes and have it almost disappear. Thankfully, I’ve practiced and learned some tricks along the way that have helped me master eyeliner, despite the fact that I don’t have Cher’s adequate lid space—and the star of the show is the best eyeliners for hooded yes. (Just some encouragement for fellow hooded-eye peeps who worry about getting eyeliner FOMO: You can do it!)
If you need a little more insight into what hooded eyes are, Steve Kassajikian, Urban Decay’s Global Makeup Artist, characterizes them as “if the skin on your lid hangs down over your crease.” Hooded eyes come in all sizes, with some being more hooded than others. (Jennifer Lawrence and Blake Lively are examples of celebrities with hooded eyes, FYI.) While it can simply be something you’re born with, hooded eyes can also occur as a sign of aging, as the loss of collagen and elastin can cause the skin above the eye to sag and hang over it.
So now to the important part: drawing winged liner on a hooded eye. “Start from the inner corner and apply liner against the lash line, then when you get to where the crease folds, pull the liner outwards and upwards so that the wing is visible when the eyes are open,” explains Kassajikian. This is a similar technique to drawing on a bat wing, which makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes showed how to do in a viral TikTok video. You can also experiment with other types of winged eyeliner, such as reverse cat-eye, which starts underneath the lower lash line and then extends outward like a regular wing, or a double wing, which is when you draw two lines at the end of the wing. It’s all a matter of preference, but the main point is, if you have hooded eyes, you don’t have to let that stop you from being an eyeliner pro!
As for what type of eyeliner to use, Kassajikian likes pencils best for application in the lash/water line. “Gel is preferred for winged liner for hooded eyes as it’s smooth and will avoid transfer/smudging,” he adds. Liquid liner is also always a good choice, just make sure to find a good water-resistant formula and use a primer before applying to prevent transfer on the lid.
Ready to find the best eyeliners for hooded eyes? Ahead, you’ll find 12 of our favorite picks, from jet-black liquid liners to gel pencils that go on like butter.
The best eyeliners for hooded eyes
This eyeliner pencil goes on so smoothly, you’ll be able to draw on a cat-eye with little effort. The waterproof formula protects your lid against smudges and transfers. Choose from classic black or one of Urban Decay’s numerous other color options, which include everything from Deep End, a stunning metallic peacock-blue, to Goldmine, a golden shimmer with tiny sparkles.
If you’re looking for a liner with an ultrafine tip for tightlining and precise lash line coverage, try out Shiseido’s MicroLiner, which is inspired by the sumi ink sticks used in Japanese calligraphy. When you’re ready to draw your lines, the pencil’s formula transforms from a solid to liquid once it hits your skin.
From Selena Gomez’s beauty brand, this waterproof matte liquid eyeliner is vegan, cruelty-free, and free from all sorts of questionable ingredients found in other products such as sulfates, formaldehydes, parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone, coal tar, and more. The flexible tip on the brush will help you create a gorgeous wing that will last your whole work shift.
When it comes to drugstore faves, you can’t beat NYX’s Epic Ink. The easy-to-use brush tip will help you reach winged eye goals in no time, thanks to its flexible construction. The waterproof formula goes on strong and precise for a bold look, but it’s versatile enough to create a more subdued cat-eye as well (just go lighter on the pressure). Plus, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA certified.
For an inky-black liquid eyeliner that stays all day (and night) long, get your hands on this liquid liner from Lady Gaga’s Haus Beauty line. The flexible tip allows you to draw bat wings with ease. Make sure to nab La Vita Punk, the limited edition gold edition, from the new Casa Gaga collection.
If you’re a fan of vintage-inspired cosmetics, you have to try KVD Beauty’s pencil eyeliner. It’s inspired by the original cake eyeliner that was used back in the day, which required water and a brush to activate the formula. Luckily, all you have to do is draw the liner on with this creamy, intensely pigmented pencil—no water needed.
If it’s a sharp and precise wing you crave, look no further than Huda Beauty’s Quick ‘N Easy liner. It’s ultra-thin, flexible tip will help you achieve a perfect cat-eye, tightline, dot in between lashes for a fuller look…practically anything you need in an eyeliner.
Thrive’s buttery eyeliner has become a favorite among eyeliner aficionados, thanks to its unique formula, which contains shea butter, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. The skin-nourishing ingredients not only help the pigmented formula go on smoothly, but it ensures your lids and lashes are taken care of as well. It’s also dermatologist tested, and proven to be non-irritating for people with sensitive skin.
For just four bucks, you’ll have an incredible eyeliner to work with in E.l.f.’s No Budge pencil eyeliner. Its waterproof, vegan, and cruelty formula delivers high-impact coverage so you can create everything from a dramatic smokey eye to a simple and subtle wing. It’s also under Target’s Clean category, which means it’s free from phthalates, SLES, and more.
The creamy formula on this liner lasts for 12 hours, so you can go about your day without having to worry about embarrassing smudges. But another standout feature is its special easy-grip component, which helps you control and apply the eyeliner effortlessly.
Stila’s popular, award-winning liquid eyeliner has been a favorite of beauty lovers for good reason. The pigmented formula goes on easy, smooth, and dries fast, and the flexible tip allows you to draw on anything from a subtle stroke to bigger and bolder wings.
If you are still unsure about your eyeliner skills but dream of the perfect cat-eye (hey, we’ve all been there), consider using an eyeliner stamp, like this one by Kaja Beauty. All you have to do is stamp a flick on the outer corner of your eye, then follow up with the pen to connect a line. This genius stamp makes it super easy to get an even wing every time.
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