How to Do Eye Makeup to Enhance Older Hooded Eyes

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Over 50? If your eyes have become droopy and starting sagging as you've aged, we've got the answer! Here's a complete tutorial on how to do your eye makeup for older, hooded eyes. This tutorial includes tips on blending and highlighting the crease of your eyelids so that you can look fresh and alert!
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A few years ago, I looked in the mirror and realized that my eyes had become hooded and droopy as I got older. I panicked and watched a ton of make up videos to see if I could learn how to disguise the hooding and make my eyes look bigger. Thankfully, I learned a few tricks to help my aging eyes look their best. Today, I’m sharing all my favorite techniques for flattering eye makeup for older, hooded eyes.

What are Hooded Eyes?

As we get older, our eyes can become hooded, where the skin of our brow becomes heavy and droops over our eyelids, covering our eyelids partially, or in some cases fully. This side-by-side comparison of me at 17 and then again at 50 shows what happens in painful detail. 

Katy Kozee at 18 without hooded eyes on the left and Katy Kozee at 50 on the right with hooded eyes

As you can see, my eyes were always somewhat hooded, with very little eyelid showing. But as I’ve aged, the excess skin over my brow area (like so many other body parts!) has sagged and drooped.As we age, we can also develop crepey eyelids which makes it harder for our eye makeup to go on smoothly.We can’t regain our youth, but we can, at least, update our eye makeup techniques to enhance our features as they are now.

How to Tell if You Have Hooded Eyes

Do you have hooded eyes? To determine if you have hooded eyes, hold a mirror in front of your face and lift your eyebrows. If the skin on your eyelids looks smooth without any creases or folds, then you don’t have hooded eyes.If instead when you look in the mirror with lifted eyebrows, you have excess skin that covers part or all of your eyelid, then you have hooded eyes.

Are Hooded Eyes the Same as Droopy Eyes?

Hooded eyes are not the same as droopy eyes. Hooded eyes are a normal eye shape that many people have, regardless of their age. Blake Lively, Emma Stone, and Jennifer Lawrence are beautiful women with hooded eyes. But if your hooded eyes are caused by aging, then they are caused by your skin sagging and this can make your eyes appear droopy and sad. (I know, ugh, gravity)

How to Do Your Eye Makeup for Hooded Eyes: Step by Step

Here’s a detailed video with makeup tips for hooded eyes. I describe each step of the process in depth below. 

The eyeshadow palette I used in this video, Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar, has been discontinued! However, these palettes offer similar colors.

Eyeshadow Palettes Similar to Too Faced’s Chocolate Bar

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Start with Your Brows

When you have hooded eyes, your brows are very important. They can visually lift your eyes and make them look more open.

You want to shape your brows so that the your eyebrow has a noticeable arch. That will make your eyelid area appear bigger. Don’t bring your brows down too low as that will drag your eyes down and make them appear droopy.

I have a tutorial on how to fill in skimpy, thinning brows to flatter hooded eyes.

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Always Use Eye Primer

Apply primer with a concealer brush or even your finger evenly over the whole eye. Then lightly set your eye primer with powder. If you try to apply eyeshadow over a sticky primer, your eyeshadow will skip and drag and apply unevenly.

You can use eyeshadow for this step (I used White Chocolate in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette) or simply a translucent powder applied with a fluffy brush. This sets your primer and gives a nice smooth surface on which to apply the eyeshadow.

Placing eye primer as the first step in hooded eye makeup
I used NYX Eyeshadow Base in Skin Tone

Why Eyeshadow Primer is Important for Over 40 Hooded Eyes

Eyeshadow primer is crucial when doing hooded eye makeup for several reasons:

It keeps your eyeshadow in place. I notice more and more that my eyeshadow can tend to slip around the day. Eyeshadow primer keeps my eye makeup in place throughout the day.

It helps create a smooth surface for your eye makeup. My skin on and around my eyes is probably the most wrinkled and crepey skin I have right now. Creating a smooth surface is a quick anti-aging technique. If I put on eyeshadow without primer, it sticks to some parts of my eyelid and skips over other parts, leaving my eyeshadow looking messy and unfinished. I hate to use the word “spackle” in terms of the face, but primer really does act as a kind of spackle to even out the surface of the eye.

Primer gives your lids a consistent color and can brighten the eyelid. Like a lot of older women, my eyelids have freckles now, as well as other dark areas. Using primer helps keep my eyeshadow colors looking the way they do in the palette, rather than taking on an undertone caused by my uneven skin tone.I like to use a primer that’s slightly lighter than my lid color it helps to smooth and brighten my eyelid.

Eyeshadow Primers that Work Well for Women Over 50

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Cover the Entire Lid with Powder to Set the Primer.

You can use eyeshadow for this step (I used White Chocolate in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette) or simply a translucent powder applied with a fluffy brush. This sets your primer and gives a nice smooth surface on which to apply the eyeshadow.

Redefine Your Crease so It Can Be Seen When Your Eye is Open

Have you ever painstakingly applied eyeshadow only to discover you literally couldn’t see it when your eyes were open? I have and it’s frustrating.

On hooded eyes, the upper part of the eyelid hangs down over the crease of your eye and hides your natural crease and much of your eyelid.

Apply a Transition Shade Slightly Above Your Natural Crease

So, we’re going to fake a crease by applying a medium eyeshadow shade (just a little darker than your natural skin color) slightly above your natural crease to make your eyes appear bigger and to cause the hooded part of your eyelid to visually recede.

Apply a medium eyeshadow shade with a small, flat eyeshadow brush slightly above your natural crease. Keep your eyes open as you do this to make sure the transition shade is visible with open, relaxed eyes. Extend it out only as far as the edge of your brow. Blend this down to your lid and up toward your brow with a fluffy brush.

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I used Salted Caramel in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Emphasize Your Lower Lash Line and Outer Corner of Your Eye

Using a flat brush, take the same color you used for your crease and line underneath your lower lashes. When you get to the outer corner of the eye, bring the color up toward your outer brow for just the width of the liner brush.

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I used Salted Caramel in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Add a Lighter Color to Your Eyelid

Apply a lighter eyeshadow shade over the lid, up to your transition color. It’s good to use a lighter satin or even slightly shimmery color on your eyelids. This will reflect light off your eyelids, which in turn will make the fold above crease seem less prominent.

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Can You Wear Shimmery Eyeshadow Over 40?

There’s a persistent myth that women over 40 can’t wear shimmery eyeshadow because it emphasizes our textured, wrinkled skin. However, shimmery eyeshadow is great for calling attention to areas you want to enhance or make appear larger. A little bit on your eyelids adds a nice pop of light that accents your eyes.

Remember the rule is to use darker, matte colors on areas we want to receded, such as the fleshy part of our eyes below the brows. Then we use lighter, shimmery shades on areas we want to enhance and enlarge such as our eyelids and the inner corner of our eyes.

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I used Salted Caramel in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Define the Outer Edge of the Eye

Take a darker color and further define your crease and the outer corner of your eye by applying a darker shade slightly under your original crease color. Use the same color to cover the outer third of your eye. 

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The blended look so far

Add a Bit of Highlight to the Inner Corners of Your Eye and Brow Bone

Using a small brush and a bright, light color, highlight the inner corner of the eye, then just under the brow bone to add definition. Don’t bring down the highlighter on your entire brow bone as that will only enhance the fleshy part of your eyelid.Instead, just add a tiny little bit under the arch and outer corner to highlight your brows.

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I used Champagne Truffle for this

Should You Wear Eyeliner with Hooded Eyes?

Eyeliner is a tricky thing for those of us with hooded lids. The standard winged eyeliner look can end up taking up our whole eyelid and making our eyes look even smaller.

Instead of a winged liner, I like to enhance my lash line by dipping a flat brush into dark eyeshadow. Then, I press the brush into my lashes, giving the illusion of depth to my lashes and making them appear thicker.

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I used the color Triple Fudge in the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Curl Your Lashes and Apply Mascara

Curling your lashes helps give a lifted look that helps combat the look of down-turned eyes. I like to use a waterproof mascara on my upper lashes so it doesn’t smear onto my hooded lids.

I used a more natural mascara on my bottom lashes to just give them a bit of definition.

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I used IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara on my top lashes and Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara in Blackest Black on my lower lashes

Apply Concealer Lightly Under Your Eyes

A bit of concealer can hide dark circles and further help life your eyes. I shared my favorite eye-lifting concealer technique when I reviewed my favorite TikTok makeup tips.

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The Finished Makeup for Hooded Eyes

And here’s the finished makeup look.

My eyes have a nice, defined crease that makes my natural eyelids appear larger. The lighter color on my lid helps draw attention away from the hooded part of my eye and up to the outer corner where I placed a bright highlight shade. The dark shadow on the outer corner of my eye makes it look more defined and helps to create the illusion of a lifted eye.

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Katy Kozee | Midlife Rambler

Hi! I'm Katy. I started Midlife Rambler when my youngest child was a senior in high school. I was staring at the coming empty nest and wondering what was next for me.

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23 thoughts on “How to Do Eye Makeup to Enhance Older Hooded Eyes”

  1. These are great tutorials and tricks! I don’t have hooded eyelids, but there is crepeyness and sun damage. My brows have thinned and lightened up so I am always on the hunt for good brow makeup and tricks.

    • Very timely comment Terri! I’m also dealing with thinning eyebrows and I’m about to investigate some ways to deal with that issue. Stay tuned!

    • I have the same issue. Anastasia is the name for any brow enhancement… and the “pot of gel” I find to be the best. I have discovered one shade lighter to be the best option. I use a pencil first? Either type of pencil, to basically draw your favorite shape. I have two slanted brow brushes- one shorter than the other. I know it takes a bit longer, but I keep a tiny cup of water next to my application area to ensure accuracy, and swipe at the end for a realistic look.

      • Thanks for the tips! I’ve also recently switched to using a lighter color then the one shown in the pictures- it looks a little more natural for every day use.

  2. I imagine you’ve solve this problem by now. Fortunately a lot of the make ups now come with wax and brow powder. I’ve always had very light eyebrows both in color and amount of the brow. This is been the best solution so far.

  3. Good tips. I have a slight difference in shape of eyes, due to eye operation, didn’t wear eye make-up for ages. Will definitely try new techniques, I like the primer.

  4. Thank you! I will purchase the smash box primer. I don’t care for the one I have. I’m excited to check out the new techniques.

  5. I wear glasses so I would like to see a video of how you would do your eye makeup if you were glasses. Thank you.

    • I have hooded aging eyes and wear glasses. I don’t do anything different with the eye makeup except to be sure I do the brows. I think the shape and color of your glasses will make more of a difference. A definite no-no for hooded eyes IMO is eyeliner going all the way around. A lot of liner and shadow on the lower lids make the eyes look smaller.

  6. I really enjoyed the video. To be honest, since retiring, I rarely wear makeup. In the last few months, I’ve tried to find some basic tips because I have some special events coming up soon and I would like to feel pretty. It’s been a long time since I’ve worried about that! Anyway, I’ve tried to watch a few videos, but never made it beyond the first few seconds, felt silly, even a little frustrated- closed the laptop quickly and moved on to other tasks. Now, with just a week before a big family gathering, I thought I’d try again. Your video was the first thing I clicked on in my search. Wow! You won me over immediately. Your comfort on camera, made me feel more comfortable about something that was making me feel a bit ridiculous. Thank you for being a real woman, talking to viewers like they are real, and giving such detailed and useful tips. You seem so comfortable on camera, it’s like having a girlfriend talking you through the process. Please keep doing what you do! You have a gift that real women need.

    • Oh thank you so much! I know just how you feel about feeling silly. One reason I’m starting to make these videos (and a few more our on their way soon) is to show women our age that it’s totally ok to still care about these things and we don’t need to be a 20-something YouTube star to look good and wear makeup. Your comment made me tear up! Thanks so much!

  7. Thanks, Katy. I will be trying these ideas. My eyelids are not quite hooded yet, but they are definitely sagging and I’m dealing with the unevenness of my skin now.


  8. I recently became glasses-free thanks to cataract surgery with replacement multi-focal lenses. Wow that is a life-changer. BUT now my eyes seem so plain and small and, well just out there without my glasses. I’m 60. I stopped wearing eye shadow a long long time ago when my lids started sagging, and it just all ended up in the crease. In the past years I’ve just worn eyeliner on the bottom lids and mascara, got away with that when wearing glasses but not flattering now.
    I started researching videos and articles for sagging/hooded eyes, yours is by far the most helpful and most comfortable. Your techniques are well demonstrated in the video, and I like very much your no-nonsense dialog. This has changed my life, in that I am now feeling excited to highlight my “new” eyes and you have given me the go-to techniques. My eyes are older and “crepey-er” than yours but the approach is great and I am tweaking as needed for my eyes. Thank you SO MUCH. You are truly a beautiful woman, all the more for sharing and helping others. You have made a wonderful difference for me.

    • Wow Cathy – thanks so much for your comments! I’m actually releasing a new post in the next week or two with some hacks I’ve learned lately. One thing that’s helped me a lot was switching from primer to concealer or a creme eyeshadow as my base. This seems to really help smooth out my eyelids and the crepy-ness that plagues us so.

  9. Wow!! I loved your tutorial and can certainly relate to the droopy, crepy, non-consistent skin on my lids. I will try these techniques — so easy to watch you do it. Loved the peaceful, calm way you demonstrated and described the colors and brushes. Thanks a bunch!!


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