Expert Makeup Tips from Tana D’Amico: Hooded Eyes

As I was doing research for this piece, looking through scads of before-and-after photos on the internet, I was struck by just HOW much the effects of aging around our eye area contributes to us looking older, more tired and even angry. I was also struck by the vast amount of videos and articles dedicated to the “hooded eye.” Everything from plastic surgery ads and reviews to clear plastic inserts (you read that right!) one would wear daily to make it look like you still have the visible moveable part of your eyelid (this just seems strange – and uncomfortable!) to simple makeup tips (like I’m giving you) and, finally, specific facial exercises to help lessen the drooping!

At first, I rolled my eyes at this but then decided to give it a crack (as silly as I felt!) and what do you know – it actually felt right! I could feel areas that I had never felt being used and conditioned. Now, you’d have to have the discipline to do this every day – if you do, terrific, look it up; it definitely can’t hurt! But, for the majority of us, I think we’ll just stick to simple, quick makeup tips!

As someone who has lived with hooded eyes my entire life (some of us are lifers!), the most rewarding thing for me in learning how to do makeup was finding out how I could contour the eye into looking lifted and more refreshed. And as I’ve aged, the technique has become even MORE of a godsend. The enthusiasm of the clients who I’ve had a chance to show this to tells me it’s something women really want and appreciate. In fact, it’s probably the No. 1 technique I’ve wanted to share with you!

There are a few more things I wanted to mention in this lesson, so let me get to them now.

As in my prior ‘Eyebrow’ video, shaping the eyebrows is also a LARGE part of giving the illusion of a lifted eye, so start with that in mind! It’s an INSTANT lift! So have a look at that video if you haven’t already.

Then, I wanted to mention mascara and lashes. Some people actually subscribe to the theory that using mascara actually draws attention to the part of the lid that is coming down over your eye, so they simply skip mascara altogether. While I understand what they mean, I also think there are ways around it and that using mascara helps to liven up our eyes and give them definition that may have been lost. I’ve even seen people go so far as to CUT their lashes to a shorter length – now that’s a TAD radical!

So what I like to do instead is concentrate mascara mostly at the base and the very outer corners. Don’t try to lengthen them TOO much, especially in the inner corners and middle because that will draw attention to the protruding droopy area. Mind you, some people have lashes that have gotten shorter and more sparse, in which case, too much lengthening isn’t an issue. In this case, we really want to thicken them at the base. Use multiple coats!

Also, try to find mascara brands that have SMALL fine brushes. This will help you get in closer, without too much smudging – another side effect from having hooded eyes.

The current mascara I like using is L’Oreal Telescopic. The brush is perfect– nice and delicate. The wand is slightly too long for really great control, but it does the trick. It’s a very good mascara!

I also recently sampled the Stila Forever Your Curl Memory Mascara, and that had the PERFECT wand for this type of eye.

To find the right wand, most packaging at the drug store has a picture of the wand right on it, and if not, ask the person at the counter to recommend one. Ask for something small and delicate, nothing with a large fat wand OR tip! That’s just asking for trouble.

Another tip: Keep Q-tips at hand too for quick clean-ups! And if smudging from smiling or squinting is a real problem, try using waterproof mascara. In fact, waterproof liners are a great idea too! Lise Watier has a TERRIFIC waterproof pencil; it’s a best seller, in fact.

Also, if your lashes have started to grow downwards and straight, which is extremely common, it’s important to use a good eyelash curler to really open up the eye. Curl the lashes at the base really well, but actually concentrate the curling on the middle and upper part of your lashes to give to a great upward curl. I’m a big fan of the Tweezerman eyelash curler, and it’s very reasonably priced.

And finally, I can’t stress enough, make sure that when you are contouring with your shadow, you don’t go beyond the line of your last lash with the shadow. And remember to apply makeup in an upward and slightly outward direction, but UPWARD is key. Make a visual line from your last lash to the outer corner of your brow. Going beyond that area will draw your eyes down — a BIG no no!

That concludes this lesson, ladies. As always, please send in your comments. I look forward to answering your questions!

Best, Tana