Floating contour for deep set and downturned eyes

deep set eyes makeup



If you want to try something new for your deep set or downturned eyes, why not try a floating contour? I like to do this when I feel like doing something different and want to keep my eyes (lids) more bare.

This technique works for downturned and deep set eyes, as the idea is to pull away the attention from the hood and the (downturned) crease with a matte eyeshadow. You see, typically I would add a darker eyeshadow to hide the so called problem area. But in this look I totally just ignore it, applying eyeshadow elsewhere to trick the eye. I call it the floating contour or an open contour, because it floats on the lid and is not connected in the outer corner, like the usual style. It’s all about contouring and shaping the eye with a darker eyeshadow, mimicking shadow.

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Floating contour for deep set or downturned eyes

As most eye makeup tips, it’s easiest to explain and do when your eye is relaxed and open. See that outer corner in my eye? It’s where my eye creates a tiny little hood and my crease tilts downwards. This is the area that I typically hide with matte colors. But in this look I apply matte eyeshadow on top of that area to lift up the eye. And then I highlight my lid with a lighter shimmer color, making my eye look more open.

floating contour deep set eyes

deep set downturned eyes makeup from the side
How this floating contour looks from the side.

Now – how to find the right spot for the contour?

I’ve shared this tip before, but it’s all about working with the natural shape of your eye. The right spot is where a natural shadow occurs on the eye, where the brow bone ends. When you put a brush in that spot, you can kind of feel that brush sink in there: that’s about where your contour should go. Though in my eye I apply it there, but tilt it slightly upwards.

I also shared a video tutorial of the technique on my Instagram (@charlottaeve).

eyeshadow trick for hooded deep set eyes

how to contour deep set eyes
You can feel the ‘hollow’ in your eye, where the brush sinks in. That’s a good guideline for the contour!

Another way to look at it is to keep your eye open and draw the contour where you can see it.  Obviously it’s way higher than the natural crease. How high you want to bring it is up to you though. Just make sure to leave a gap right under your brow.

This technique doesn’t hide the so called problem area (the crease/hood), but it shifts your focus to someplace else. Makeup is all about having fun and trying different things. So you know, why not try a different look every once in a while? There are no rules. Personally I enjoy wearing my eyeshadow a bit differently sometimes.

deep set downturned eyes different makeup styles
1st photo: how I usually do my makeup, adding dark matte eyeshadow in the outer corner. 2nd photo: An open/floating contour.

Related posts:
Do’s and don’ts for deep set eyes
How to: makeup for downturned eyes

makeup tip for deep set eyes

Floating contour – step by step photo tutorial

Floating contour deep set eyes tutorial

Here’s the step by step for this look.

  1. Draw the floating contour on the eye with a pencil brush. (I used Zoeva 230.) You can tilt it upwards in the outer corner to create a bit of a  winged look.
  2. Blend that out using a slightly bigger and rounder brush. (I used Zoeva 225.) You can also take a color that is slightly lighter than the one you just used and blend it out using that. Blend slightly on top of the line or towards your brow, so that the lightest color is closer to your brow, blending nicely to your skin tone.
  3. Add the same colors to your lower lid as well.
  4. Then you can add your lid color. I added it all the way to the inner corner, because it was so light. Blend it slightly (still Zoeva 225), so that the contour line is not that harsh. Or you could also leave it more visible, faking a crease type of thing. (I used a flat brush from Coastal Scents brush set.)
  5. Line your eyes and add mascara. Done!

deep set hooded eyes makeup floating contour

Eyeshadow palettes I love:
Illamasqua Unveiled Nude Artistry Palette  *Illamasqua Unveiled Artistry Palette (UK)
*NYX Perfect Filter Palettes
*Too Faced Gingerbread Extra Spicy Palette

Makeup brushes I use:
*Coastal Scent Brush Set (this brush set is what I started with)
*Zoeva rose gold brush set (more expensive, but more quality too)

Key products used in the makeup:
*NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
*NARS Soft Matte Concealer, Custard
*Ilia Multi-Stick Cheek & Lip I Put A Spell On You
*Laura Mercier Transluscent Powder
*Urban Decay Primer Potion
*Benefit 24-HR Brow Setter Gel
*Jane Iredale Triple Luxe Lipstick, Ellen

Here’s also two other looks with a floating contour. There’s also a video tutorial of the look below & the technique on my Instagram (@charlottaeve).

By the way: That red dot on my cheek is not a pimple, but spider veins. So annoying, but I’m waiting for it to just disappear. I’ve had one before on my nose and that went away on its own. Don’t ask how I got it, I live in Finland okay? (Sensitive thin skin on the cheeks + harsh weather is not the best combo.)

Do’s and Don’ts for deep set eyes (and lightly hooded eyes)

do's and don'ts for deep set eyes


Do’s and don’ts for deep set eyes.

I’ve done quite a few tutorials for deep set and hooded eyes, but this time I thought I could also show you what not to do. Showing you side by side the “dos” and the “don’ts” can be helpful in mastering your eyeshadow technique!

I was actually inspired to do this tutorial when I saw a magazine cover with a model who had very deep set eyes. Her makeup (in my opinion) was not done right and it emphasized the hood and overall was not very flattering. Inside the magazine there was an interview and a photo of her without makeup. I noticed that her eyes didn’t look that deep set on the no-makeup photo and she actually looked better without the makeup (again, my opinion). It just goes to show how powerful makeup can be. It’s all about working with what you got and knowing what works and what doesn’t.

And to be frank, I actually have made a lot of makeup mistakes, when it comes to my eyes. And I’m gonna go through those mistakes now, step by step!

warm reddish eye makeup for deep set eyes


Do’s and don’ts for deep set eyes / hooded eyes

deep set eyes with slight hood and prominent brow bone

So here are my eyes. I have a bit of visible lid space (shown with white dots). If you have hooded eyes, you might not have a visible lid at all. Above it I have a slight hood (shown with orange dots), where my skin droops on my lid. This is also my crease. But in my eyes the most noticeable feature is the big prominent area (shown with brown dots), which pushes forward above the hood. And I like to shade that to balance my eyes a bit. So instead of shading my actual crease, I imagine my crease is somewhere in that prominent area and I do my makeup accordingly.

Let’s go through some do’s and don’ts for deep set eyes.


dos and donts for deep set eyes makeup

Don’t apply dark eyeshadow only on the visible lid

See what this does to my eye? It sinks it in even further. And see what else happens? The hood and the prominent area appears even more prominent.
The contrast between my skin and that dark eyeshadow is quite big, making my hood and prominent area come forward even more (because they are a lighter color).

Do keep your eye open when applying your eyeshadow

how to apply eyeshadow on deep set eyes tips

The most important thing for both deep set and hooded eyes is this: keep your eye open while applying your shadow! The whole idea is to hide the hood so you need to apply the shadow both on top of the hood and slightly above it. Enough so, that your eye gets a nice lift. Keep your eye open so that you can see how high you need to lift the shadow, in order it to show a little (and work!). I might bring it even further than that, since I have so much real estate.


Don’t just line your lower lid with a dark eyeshadow – Do take advantage of that space and smoke it out! 

do's and don'ts for deep set eyes

Here might just be the reason why people are afraid of a smokey eye. When done wrong, it makes the eye appear smaller – exactly what happened here. By lifting up the shadow and smoking out that lower lid, my eyes look huge and more round!


Do lift up the eye by darkening the outer V

lifting up deep set eyes how to

This trick actually works for downturned eyes too. It’s all about lifting up the outer part of the eye in a V-shape towards the end of your brow. Now how to find the right spot? I keep my eye open, look straight ahead determine where I need to add that shadow in order to get a nice V-shape. You can compare the side by side photo and you can see the spot, where I should have lifted the shadow. It needs to be lifted on top of that hood.


Do use shimmer to your advantage

This might just be personal preference, but I like to emphasize my visible lid space by adding a touch of light shimmer there. It also rounds up my eyes. Another reason is that I’m not looking to change my eye shape – just make the most of it. When I don’t have makeup on, you can see my lid (even though it’s small). So with makeup I also like it to be enhanced.


And that’s about it! I think the biggest thing is to really look at the makeup, eyes open, eyes relaxed. Is it doing what it should be doing (enhancing your eyes and giving them a lift? Or are you sinking your eyes even deeper with a bad technique? Hopefully this post gave you some ideas and clarity on doing makeup for deep set eyes.


Reddish brown makeup for deep set and slightly hooded eyes

deep set eyes makeup tutorial

So now that you know all the tricks, here is a warm reddish brown eye makeup tutorial.

  1. Prime your eyes and add a matte color all over the eye. Bring it as high as you need to, in order to hide the hood and in my case, the prominent area. Blend the edges so that it’s nice and smokey.
  2. Deepen the outer corner in a V-shape, so that your eye gets a nice lift. A matte dark color will be fine for this. Blend.
  3. Add a touch of shimmer right on the center of your lid, where it’s visible when your eye is open.
  4. Line your eyes lightly and add mascara. All ready!

Now when it comes to the makeup products, three things help you succeed: primer, eyeshadow and brushes. I use the classic *Urban Decay primer, just because it makes my eyeshadow stay the whole day and night. For eyeshadows, I like ones that have enough pigment, but are still blendable. Three of my most used eyeshadow brands are Too Faced, NYX and Illamasqua. In this particular tutorial I used a Morphe palette, which I also like quite a bit.

Eyeshadow palettes I love:
*Illamasqua Unveiled Nude Artistry Palette (US,CA) *Illamasqua Unveiled Artistry Palette (UK)
*NYX Perfect Filter Palettes
*Too Faced Gingerbread Extra Spicy Palette

Makeup brushes I use:
*Coastal Scent Brush Set (this brush set is what I started with)
*Zoeva rose gold brush set (more expensive, but more quality too)

Products used in the makeup:
NARS Soft Matte Concealer, Custard
Madara Concealer, Vanilla
Madara Skin Equal Soft Glow Foundation, 50
*Madara City CC SPF 15 (US, CA) *Madara City CC SPF 15(UK)
*Laura Mercier Transluscent Powder
Boho Bronzer, Sunkissed Glow
Kjaer Weis Cream Blush, Above and Beyond
*Urban Decay Primer Potion
Morphe 3502 palette
Boho Lipstick, 204 Orchidee


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