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  • Writer's pictureElise Marquam-Jahns

7 Ways Older Women Can Make Their Eyes Look Bigger and More Lifted

Link to Accompanying YouTube Video:

There are some wonderful makeup techniques we can use to create bigger and even more beautiful, lifted eyes. And since our eyes are the first place to show age, this is especially important for those of us over 50. The right makeup used the right way can make a world of difference in helping us look and feel more confident.

I’m going to be focusing on all of the eye area real estate – from the brows down to the lower lashes. Now you certainly don’t have to use all 7 of these techniques. I just want to give you as many different options as possible so you can choose what’s right for you.

Eye Primer

The first way to help our eyes look bigger and more lifted is to apply an eye primer. An eye primer does two things: since we have oil glands in our eyelids, it keeps eye shadow on our eyelids from creasing and smudging.

And if we get an eye primer in a color that matches our skin tone or is slightly lighter, it helps brighten the eye area by covering any discoloration we may have. This brightening effect helps make our eyes look larger. I put eye primer on first so it can thoroughly dry and set while I do my eyebrows.


Have you ever seen that photo of Anne Hathaway with and without eyebrows that’s circulated on the internet? It’s a brilliant reminder of how important eyebrows are for framing and lifting our eyes. One beauty expert has said that “brows are the facelift without the surgery” which I think absolutely rings true.

First, brush the brows up which helps the eyes look a little more lifted. Then fill in the brows with eyebrow powder, pencil, or a pomade. It can also be helpful to use an eyebrow pencil to trace in the pattern you want along the top and bottom of your brows.

And finally, you can also use a brow gel to keep some of those wiry hairs in the tail areas of your brows in place. Here’s my recent eyebrow “how-to” video:

Eyeshadow Above the Eyelid

Using eye shadow helps the eyes look larger because it draws attention to the area on and above the lid. One of the most important things we can do to make our eyes look bigger is to use a light eyeshadow color on our lids. It all goes back to that color theory we all learned as kids in art class: light colors bring things forward which makes them look larger, and dark colors make things recede which makes them look smaller.

You can also use this light eyeshadow color directly under the arch of your brow and above the brow if you already have foundation on. This helps lift the eye area even more. And it also expands the size of the lid to put this light color on the inner corner of the eye as well.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Eyeshadow in the Crease

To create some dimension in the eye area, add a mid-tone color to the crease. If you have hooded eyes, bring the color slightly above the crease as well so it’s actually visible. But be very careful about how far over and down you bring the eye shadow on the outer corner of the eye. Bringing it down too low can make the eye look downturned or droopy. We want to create a backward 7 pattern.

To ensure that we don’t bring the eyeshadow down too low, it can be helpful at first to use a guide such as a tissue, a piece of masking tape (with as much adhesive removed as possible by sticking it to your arm and then pulling it off several times) or a purchased product like Elf’s “line and define” tape. Apply the guide so it goes in an angle from under the lower corner of your eye to the end of your eyebrow. Then when you apply shadow to this outer area, the “guide” will prevent the eye shadow from being going too low.


We can use eyeliner both below the eye and on the upper lid to provide some additional lift. We want to create a slight upward flick with the eyeliner, but we don’t want it to look severe or harsh which is why eye shadow works so well.

Also, it can be very helpful to use the outer 1/3 of the area under the eye to first create the pattern for the upward flick.

Then, for the upper eye liner, line the eyes only to the point right before where the eye starts to curve downward.

Instead of following the eye downward with the eye liner, bring it up toward the brow bone so it meets the flick you created from the line along the bottom of your eye. Then fill in that elongated triangular space with the eyeshadow you’re using as eye liner.


Using an eyelash curler and mascara makes our lashes look longer and lifts our entire eye area. This technique increases the amount of curl in our lashes which results in our eyes looking larger.

The technique we use to apply mascara can also make a difference. We want to start at the very base of the lashes and wiggle the brush upwards. Then let the lashes dry before applying one more coat of mascara.

Putting mascara on your lower lashes – just a touch – can expand the entire footprint of the eye area, making your eyes look larger.


Finally, we can apply concealer, slightly lighter than our skin tone color, right along the very edge of where we applied the masking tape guide. It’s amazing what a difference this small amount of lighter color, applied in an upward sweep, can make.

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