Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth…just a few of the sultry, steamy sirens of the Golden Age of Hollywood. They conjure up images of gorgeous gowns, full and pouty lips, and big “bedroom” eyes. It’s thrilling to try to recreate those looks, but for those of us with small eyes, makeup can be challenging. How can we achieve that Old-Hollywood-glam, amazing eye makeup style? It is possible, with the right tools and techniques, for small eyes makeup to turn the look of your tiny peepers from meek to full-on, bombshell, big-eyed glamour!
1. Primer – You want your Old Hollywood glam look to last, and you want a clean, fresh canvas for your soon-to-be “bedroom” eyes…so you will need to apply a bit of primer to each lid and blend well. Let dry before applying liner or shadow.
2. Concealer – We can’t have any under-eye bags or darkness detracting from your bombshell look (and the darkness also tends to “close in” the look of your eyes), so don’t skip the one of the most important eye makeup tips and, using a peach tone concealer, dab and blend under each eye.
3. Pay attention to your brows – Hollywood starlets have perfectly groomed eyebrows. Remove any stray hairs with tweezers, and play up your arch as much as possible (or create one) using an eyebrow pencil or dark brown/black eye shadow on a liner brush.
4. Shadow – Eyeshadow for small eyes can work wonders to enlarge the look of them, but placement is critical. For the Old Hollywood glam look, the lid is mostly bare. But since we are trying to make your eyes appear larger, a subtle smoky eye make up will do nicely. One of the most important small eyes makeup tips and tricks is to add a very light brown or gray shadow to the outer corner of your eye, creating a sideways V. Blend well.
5. Highlight – Bring shimmer and light by adding a pearlescent white or pink shade of highlight under the brow and in the inner tear duct. This will also help to open the look of your eyes.
6. Liner – Think big, bold, smudge proof eyeliner. Since your eyes are small, the liner should go from a very thin line starting at the inner corner of the eye, growing thicker toward the outer corner. At the outer corner, “wing-out” the liner, thereby extending the look of the size of the eye. Also known as a “cat eye” effect, it is the epitome of Old Hollywood glamour. Avoid lining the inner rim (waterline) with a dark pencil though; that will only make your eyes look smaller. Instead, opt for lining with a flesh tone or white colored pencil for your small eyes makeup, which will open up and brighten your eyes.
7. Mascara – No matter how much liner or shadow you apply, your small eyes makeup will essentially be naked without the extra “oomph” that comes from mascara. There isn’t any real secret how to put on mascara; two coats should suffice. A couple of useful tips here are to make sure there are no clumps by separating lashes with a bare mascara wand or comb after application, and to use a heated eyelash curler to prep your natural lashes for the step #8.
8. Extra lashes – Another amazing trick for small eyes makeup that still holds true today is that adding false lashes will easily double the size of your eyes. For the ultimate in lush lashes, think mink! The starlets wore them over their shoulders…you wear yours over your eyes. Mink lashes are actually quite affordable, and come in an array of lengths and styles. Check out the Minki Lashes authentic Siberian mink lashes collection and read our other articles to help you find the right style for your eyes!
9. Flawless face – One of the earmarks of Old Hollywood makeup was a flawless face. Depending on the condition of your skin, this might take anywhere from a little to a lot of work. You will need to prime, conceal, apply foundation, and finish with powder for a matte, flawless look. That perfect face will let your big, glamorous eyes do all the talkin’!
10. Red lips – What would a glamorous Hollywood starlet be without her red lips? If you want to try daring, opt for a dark wine color red (this especially looks striking on pale skin). A classic, bold red is always an excellent choice. For the proper look, be sure to keep the lip matte. If your lipstick is glossier, try blotting and then dusting with translucent powder.
No matter what your eye shape or style, there is a makeup technique out there that will give you the look of glamour that you crave. Small eyes makeup is not necessarily that much different from makeup for hooded eyes, or makeup for deep set eyes, in that they all require a slightly different application method, and a little bit of practice. But you know the old saying…”practice makes perfect” …and your Old Hollywood glam look certainly will be!