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14 Makeup Tricks to Make Your Eyes Look Bigger

Big doe eyes, here we come.

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Cover and brighten dark circles

Instead of using a flat concealer that matches your skin tone perfectly, use a brightening one with pink or peach undertones that counteract the green and blue dark circles under your eyes, says Hannah Baylog, lead makeup artist trainer with Blushington makeup and beauty lounge in Dallas. Just don’t be fooled into thinking that going lighter than your natural skin tone will brighten that area. “A lot of people think they need a lighter concealer to cover up the dark circle, and it ends up looking a little gray or too white, or just like there’s makeup under the eye,” says Baylog. Don’t miss these other makeup mistakes that make you look sloppy.

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Don’t limit concealer to under your eyes

Concealer doesn’t have to be restricted just to dark circles. “If you just put it right under the eye, which people tend to do, it makes that little area look brighter,” says Baylog. But by sweeping it farther up, you can brighten your entire eye area. Bring it up past your eye, blending it all around your eye and up to your cheekbone to make your peepers look bigger and brighter. Don’t miss these other simple makeup tips to make your eyes pop.

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Stick with light colors on your lids

“If you have smaller eyes and your goal is to make them look bigger, avoid using dark tones—specifically cool dark tones,” says Jessica Mae, founder, creative director, and makeup artist of WarPaint International Beauty Agency. Those dark colors will close off the lids, but lighter ones will brighten your eyes and make them look bigger. Stick with pink and peach tones instead of yellows, grays, and whites, which tend to look muddy or ashy, says Baylog. Check out these makeup tips that make you look even better in photographs.

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Open your crease

Lightly sweeping eyeshadow in and above the crease will make your eyes look more open. Keep your eyes open to hit the right spots, and use a peachy brown instead of anything ashy-toned. “The warmer the better,” says Baylog.

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Brighten your waterline

Line your waterline with a white or light nude eye pencil to achieve a doe-eyed look. “Especially when you’ve had a sleepless night, a nude or white liner will help diffuse that pink or red waterline,” says Mae. “The actual eye itself will look lighter and brighter and reflect light.” Check out these other makeup tips for looking less tired.

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Focus on lining the outer corners

Keep darker liner over the lashes rather than in your waterline, which you want to brighten, not darken. Stop about three-quarters of the way to your inner corner instead of covering the entire lash line. “Carrying it all the way over can look harsher and take away the light from the eyes,” says Mae. “It’s swallowing the light.” Use a cotton swab to blend the color so it isn’t’ such a harsh line, she says. Here are more genius uses for Q-Tips.

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Use lighter liner shades

While black eyeliner can work on dark skin tones, the contrast is harsh on fair-skinned women, making the eyes look heavy and enclosed, says Baylog. Go for a softer color instead to keep the eyes from looking smaller. “Something about brown or even navy blue is going to go with the eye color more and enhance a little more,” she says. Here are more sneaky ways you’re putting on makeup wrong.

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Give your inner corners some attention

Apply highlighter under the arch of your eyebrow to make your brow bone seem more prominent and lifted. Then dab a bit in your tear ducts to make your inner corners look like they’re illuminating light. “It not only makes the eye look bigger, but it also reflects a bit of light there to take away from any shadows created there from the nose,” says Baylog.

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Try tightlining

Heavy eyeliner on the top of your lids makes your eyes look smaller than they are. “Essentially it’s taking up more real estate on your eyelid,” says Mae. “When your eyes are open, it looks like there’s not as much eyelid there, when it’s just covered by eyeliner.” Instead of drawing liner over the lids, try a technique called tightlining. Put tiny dots between your eyelashes, getting as close to the lash line as possible. You’ll get definition without sacrificing your doe-eyed look.

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Curl your lashes

Curling your eyelashes before adding mascara pulls the eyes upward, making them look larger. If you don’t have an eyelash curler, your mascara technique can achieve a similar effect. “Any time you can blink at the same time as you’re brushing up with mascara is really going to lift the lashes up,” says Baylog.

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Choose the right mascara

If your goal is big and bright eyes, a volumizing mascara formula is the way to go. “It helps keep those lashes up and curled, and nice and wide and open throughout the day,” says Mae. Here are more tricks to make your makeup last all day.

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Use more mascara on the outer corners

Accentuating the outer corners of your eyes will draw them out, making your whole eye look bigger. Call attention to your outer lashes by focusing on them during your second or third layer of mascara. “Try not to do so much on the inner corner so it’s not so heavy on the inner corner,” says Baylog. If you’re feeling ambitious, add a few individual false lash tabs for a natural-looking way to make your eyes pop even more.

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Shape up your eyebrows

Eyebrows frame your face, so starting with a nice shape will call attention to your eyes and make them seem brighter. Focus on defining your brow for the most open look. “The eye is following up that arch and giving the optical illusion that the eyes are bigger,” says Mae.

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Change your eyebrow technique

Brush your eyebrows up and over to give them a lift, then highlight the outer corner of your eyes by focusing on the arches of your eyebrows, rather than the fronts. Fill brows in starting at the top of the arch and going down to the outer ends, without going past the corner of your eye. “That can close the eye off, and it starts to look unnatural too,” says Baylog. “You want to leave that lifted, open, drawn-up kind of look.” Don’t miss these other tips for perfect eyebrows.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.