Eric Ray Davidson
Like your boobs, your booty, and members of AARP, your eyelids seem to head south with age. (Retirees flock to Florida—get it?) And while saggy eyes can make you appear older and exhausted, here’s the perky news: Recapturing that 22-again, I-slept-like-a-baby status doesn’t require injections, laser treatments, or going under the knife. In fact, all you really need is an eye lift—and by lift, we mean all you need to do is lift your fingers and fake it with makeup.
Good thing, because the average cost for a real eyelid lift in 2013 was almost $3,000. What’s more, a recent JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery study found that eye lifts make women look a mere three years younger. (Kind of a rip-off when you consider the cost, pain, and average two-week recovery time.) So if your eyes have been looking smaller or more tired lately—or if they’ve always been droopy (thanks, genetic lottery)—don’t head to the doctor’s office. With these simple cosmetic tricks, things are going to start looking up quick.
1. Boosted Brows
Bushy brows are trendy, but let yours go too native and they can start to drag eyes down. “Creating a higher arch results in a more awake look, says Sania Vucetaj, founder of Sania’s Brow Bar in New York City. First, make an outline of your desired brow shape with a brow pencil. (The basic guideline? “Brows should align with the top of the bridge of your nose,” says Vucetaj. Thickness is a matter of preference.) To ID your arch, find the highest point—about three-quarters of the way out from where your brow starts. “If you naturally have a lot of space between your brows and lid, you will need to remove only one or two rows of hair; if your brows are lower, plucking three will get you a noticeable arch.” Hold up the top of the arch and tweeze the hairs that fall below your map. Fill in bald spots with a brow pencil in a color that matches the darkest shade in your head hair. Try Lancôme Le Crayon Poudre Powder Pencil for the Brows ($26, lancome-usa.com).
Then—and this is key—extend the tail slightly upward with your pencil. “A rectangular brow shape visually lifts the end of the eye,” says makeup artist Troy Surratt. Use a spoolie brush to help blend in your original outline.
2. False Lashes
We can thank Mrs. Kanye West for one thing: Faux lashes have gone totally mainstream—and they’re a great tool to make eyes appear rounder, more open, and, in turn, more lifted. Small clusters of lashes are easier to apply and more natural-looking than full strips, says makeup artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen. Unless you’re literally trying to keep up with the Kardashians, choose a short or medium size; long is pretty over the top. Try Eylure Pro-Lash Individuals Fine to Full ($5, ulta.com).
To do: Dip the base of the lash into lash glue. Pick up the lash with a pair of tweezers, lift your eyelid with the other hand, and stick the falsie between your existing lashes, about a quarter inch from the outer edge of your eyes. Add two or three more to the same area, moving toward the middle. Let the glue dry for two minutes, then apply a coat of mascara to blend the real and faux lashes together.
3. Magical Makeup
A few flicks of the wrist…and we have liftoff!
Eye shadow: Smooth concealer over your eyelids (redness or darkness can make the area look droopy and closed in). Then dust a shimmery bone-colored shadow over your lids. “A light shimmer will reflect light, making your eyes look bigger,” says makeup artist Mally Roncal. Finally, use a darker matte taupe shadow to contour the outer corner of the eye for a lifting effect, says Surratt. Starting at each eye’s outer edge, slightly below the brow, sweep the shade into your crease, stopping above the pupil.
Eyeliner: Draw a short, thin stripe of liquid liner along upper lashes, flicking it up and out at a 45-degree angle at the edges. “This can lift eyes that are saggy or turn downward,” says Surratt. Trace your bottom lashes with a lighter-colored pencil liner. (If you used black as your top shade, go with brown on the bottom; with brown on top, opt for bronze, beige, or taupe below.) “Using a lighter shade on the bottom prevents the eye from looking closed in,” says Roncal. Try CoverGirl Bombshell Intensity Liner in Pitch Black Passion or Chocolate Kiss ($8, at drugstores) with Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio in Warm Nude Eyes ($12, at drugstores).
Mascara: Curl your lashes to open up the eye and disguise any hooding or crepiness,” says Surratt. Then brush waterproof mascara onto upper lashes only. “For a really lifted look, waterproof mascara holds curl better than regular,” says Roncal, who suggests pointing the tip of the wand toward the bridge of your nose while applying to fan out the lashes. A mascara with a super-tiny (i.e., very precise) brush is especially helpful to pull corner lashes up and out,” says Surratt. Try Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Waterproof Mascara ($31, at sephora.com).
More from Women’s Health:
10 Ways to Look Younger Without Using Any Products
5 Eyebrow Enhancers—Explained
5 Beauty Routines You Should Never DIY