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Makeup Artist Sir John Shares His Genius Technique for Hooded Eyelids

Celebrity makeup artist Sir John — whose impressive clientele includes the likes of Zendaya and Beyoncé — has traveled the world perfecting and sharing his craft. And no matter where he goes, he routinely runs into the same question about eye makeup: “Everyone around the world has one concern… whether they’re younger or more mature: hooded eyes,” he says. “Everyone wants to know [how to put makeup on them] because at some point, we will all have hooded lids.”

Hooded eyelids — that bit of folded skin that can extend down from the eyebrow and partially obscure the crease of the lid — can be genetic, or may start to appear as a sign of aging, when the forehead and brow begin to droop. As a result, eye shadow on hooded lids can seem to disappear with the eyes open. It can also be more prone to smudging and creasing. 

Sir John’s Hooded Lid Eye Shadow Technique

Sir John, who also serves as a brand ambassador for CTZN Cosmetics and Kilian Paris, has a simple three-step makeup technique he relies on to make hooded eyes pop. The key, he says, is about focusing on creating shadow — even more so than on highlighting or brightening, which are common standbys of the eye makeup realm. 

“The biggest thing you don’t want is you don’t want to open your eyes and see nothing,” he says. “I think that’s what a lot of people with hooded eyes feel like.”

Sir John outlined his step-by-step technique for creating an impactful eye shadow look on hooded lids:

  1. First, smudge a matte eyeliner or shadow that’s at least one shade deeper than your skin tone along the lash line. Sir John prefers a waterproof formula, like the MAC Cosmetics Matte Eye Pencil, because once it sets, it won’t smudge or crease. This is not the time for a liquid liner or a jet-black pigment: The idea is to mimic natural shadows, the same way a contour might help to chisel the jawline. This step, notes Sir John, is crucial for creating the illusion of deeper-set eyes. 
  2. After “saturating” the lash line with the darker hue, blend it up to “a hair above” the natural crease, he advises. Short, synthetic brushes like the MAC Cosmetics 242 Shader Brush work best to blend out the pigment with accuracy.
  3. Finally, Sir John tops it off with a similarly colored powder eye shadow — also matte! — to set the look, using another short brush, like the MAC239 Synthetic Brush, to set it. 

Another Sir John trick for achieving this if you’re doing your own makeup? “Whenever you look in the mirror… bring your chin down a little bit more so you can see where the natural crease would be,” he says. “Wherever your lash line stops when you’re looking the mirror, you’ll see that’s the natural crease you want.”

Ways to Elevate Hooded Eye Makeup Looks

The makeup maximalist can build on the aforementioned technique for a variety of more-is-more looks. One simple way to play up a hooded eye look is to add multiple layers of mascara (and maybe even some individual lash clusters) at the outer corners of the eyes to help elongate and exaggerate them. 

Another option is to get playful with color and shimmer, tracing bright blue liner along the lower waterline, dabbing a bit of gold shimmer near the centers of the eyes or even dusting aubergine at the outer corners of the eyes.

“This outer V on someone who has a hooded eye is one of the most charming areas to look at,” says Sir John. Adding a jewel tone like deep emerald, navy blue or purple, for example, can add a pop of color while still enhancing the illusion of deeper-set eyes. 

“Don’t be afraid to maximize the lash line at the bottom, creating a little bit of drama. The goal here is to give your eyes a silhouette,” he adds.

Ahead, scroll through for some Fashionista- and Sir John-approved products to try this technique.

Nyx Retractable Eye Liner, $7, available here

Jones Road The Best Eyeshadow, $25, available here

Victoria Beckham Beauty Smoky Eye Brick, $56, available here

Juvia’s Place The Coffee Shop Eyeshadow Palette, $25, available here

MAC Cosmetics Matte Eye Pencil, $22, available here

Elf Cosmetics Bite Size Eyeshadow, $3, available here

Ctzn Cosmetics Gold Eye Shimmer, $25, available here

YSL Beauty Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eye Pencil, $24, available here

Róen Eyeline Define Eyeliner Pencil, $26, available here

Too Faced Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, $52, available here

Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette, $50, available here

MAC Cosmetics 242 Synthetic Shader Brush, $30, available here

Pat McGrath Labs Mini Eye Shadow Palette Sublime Smoke, $29, available here

MAC Cosmetics 239 Synthetic Shader Brush, $30, available here

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette, $55, available here

Fenty Beauty Plush Eyeshadow Brush 240, $24, available here

Mented Cosmetics Everyday Eyeshadow Palette, $28, available here

Elf Cosmetics Eyeshadow ”C” Brush, $5, available here

Chanel Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow, $68, available here

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