5 Beauty Tips to Perk Up Droopy Eyes

Is it just me, or does it feel like your features are doing a long, slow vanishing act? My lips are less plump, my eyelashes and eyebrows are getting thinner each year (OK, each month! LOL), and my once wide eyes seem smaller and smaller each time I look in the mirror.

aging eyes


What’s a gal to do? Well, number one is to put on a smile and remember what’s important in life. And number two is to channel your inner Houdini and do a few makeup tricks of your own to make the most of what you’ve got.

Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow

1. Minimize Droopy Eyelids with the Right Eyeshadow

It’s no secret that as we get older, body parts go south (this situation bothers me, gravity!), and your eyelids are no exception. As they sag and droop, your eyes start to look smaller and smaller. An easy and effective way to camouflage this is with some strategically placed eyeshadow.

  • Light colors make things stand out or come forward, and darker colors cause things to recede. Make your lower lid more noticeable with an eyeshadow in a light neutral color Bone by Bobbi Brown is a good way to go.
  • Next, brush a darker neutral color slightly above the crease on the droopiest or puffiest part. The easiest way to do this is with your eyes open and looking straight at the mirror. Taupes or light and neutral browns are a good choice of color for doing this. I’ve tried several different colors over the years, but the best one I’ve found for this is Bobbi Brown’s eyeshadow in the horribly misnamed shade, Grey. Despite its moniker, this is actually a very neutral taupe color that works on pretty much everyone and creates a shadow over the droop that makes it disappear into the background. Gently blend up and out.


Bobbi Brown Liquid Eyeliner

2. Line Your Eyes the Right Way

  • Loss of firmness in our skin as we get older makes it hard to apply eyeliner. Pencils tend to get caught, making the clean line look a little jagged and broken up.  A better way to use the right kind of liner and dab, or gently push it into your lash line. I like to use a super soft pencil like Bobbi Brown or a gel liner with a brush. You can also use a liquid liner if you have a steady hand. And if you really want to use your regular pencil liner, go for it but make sure to keep it sharp – you’ll get better results.
  • Make the line a little thicker on the outer corner to help open things up and after you’ve applied your liner, smudge it with a cotton swab for a more natural look.
  • There is an ongoing debate about whether lining your lower lashes will make your eyes look smaller. If you do like them, keep the line very thin or line the outer corner.
  • After mascara has been applied and is dry, line the upper waterline for more drama and definition.
  • Use a white or light pencil – Rimmel makes a good one – to line your lower waterline to make your eyes look bigger.
  • Be leery of black eyeliner after 40; it can look really harsh on our complexions. Navy or brown are much more flattering.

IT Cosmetics 3-in-1 Primer, Eyeliner, and Mascara

3. Use This Trick With Mascara to Make Your Eyelashes Look Longer and Fuller

Here’s a neat trick that I recently learned. Instead of just putting mascara on my thinning eyelashes and hoping for the best, I start by applying Tightline Mascara Primer. It comes with an itty bitty brush that lifts and separates my lashes – kind of like a bra for your eyelashes.

Legendary Lashes Mascara by Charlotte Tilbury

Then, to give them some volume, I apply a volumizing mascara. An excellent one is Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes mascara in Black Vinyl.

Yves Saint Laurent Highlighter Pen

4. Add A Highlight in the Corners

A little highlighter in the inner corner of the eyes will really open your peepers up. Dab a little on starting at the top inner corners of your eye (upper and lower) close to the edge of your nose and blend with your index finger. YSL Touche Eclat Concealer (which isn’t really a concealer but a highlighter) is a cult favorite for this.


Left: Benefit Brow Volumizing Gel  |  Right: Charlotte Tilbury Brow Gel

5. Define Your Eyebrows


Remember when we were younger and used to bemoan our thick eyebrows? Now that I’m in my 50s, I would give my eye teeth to have them back. But, since I can’t turn back the clock, I do the next best thing and fill in the sparse spots with a pencil or gel liner.  There are several great options out there for this. Still, I like a natural, non-painted look: benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel and Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows Sculpting Gel. For more great tips on how to deal with disappearing eyebrows, check out this post.

Over to you. What tips do you have for opening up your eyes after 40?

Shop these favorite products for making your eyes pop:





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14 thoughts on “5 Beauty Tips to Perk Up Droopy Eyes

  1. What I found to be an answer to my thinning eyebrows is a good tattoo artist. It’s very inexpensive compared to cosmetic products and time. If done right, they can last a year. Touch-ups are required after that. It’s lovely to wake up in the morning with my natural-looking eyebrows.
    Another tip is to avoid lining the lower eyes. No matter what color is used, it always looks like raccoon eyes and makes a gal look older.
    Lashes with good mascara open up the eyes without looking made up.
    This is advice from seniors aging gracefully.

    1. Thanks, Sylvia, Good to know! I agree about the lining of the lower eyes. It’s very harsh and draws attention to undereye circles and wrinkles. I’m so glad you stopped by! Cheers, Deb

  2. There is a lot of great information in this post. I especially agree with adding a highlighter in the corner of the eyelid to make the eyes pop. It seems like just an added step, but it can impact the overall effect of the eye’s brightness. In addition to the information you’ve given about makeup, I would add that moisturizer around the eyes is equally essential for givingprovidingyes a less droopy look and allowing the eye shadow and liner to do their trick.

  3. A trick I learned years ago is to place a highlighter in a C-shape starting at your temple and arching downward toward your cheekbone. It lifts the eye area and gives you a mini “eye lift.” Try it on one eye, then compare your eyes in a mirror. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

  4. I recently read an article from The Zoe reporting that Benefit has recalled their Gimme Brow for substandard reasons. No other details were given. You might want to check it out.

  5. I think matte eye shadows -rather than frosted – bring less attention to the crepe-like texture of eyelids. I also try to stick with mostly neutral tones, such as browns and taupes, rather than colors.

    1. I’m afraid I have to disagree. As a licensed Esthetician, something I’ve noticed while doing makeup is that matte shadow accentuates crepey eyelids, whereas a soft shimmer deflects the creepiness. There is a vast difference between shimmer, and glitter, though. Stay away from anything that has large particles. They are too shiny and can also tear at the delicate eyelid.

  6. Less is more as we age. Using eye shadow creates more wrinkles. Eyeliner also draws attention to already aging eyes…instead, I recommend lash lengthening techniques and brow fillers as described in your blog. Pretty lashes open up the eyes more than all the paint.

    1. Ditto. I will use a neutral around the eyes, not even a shadow but a makeup dot. Dramatic eyes, like cat eyes, r best left to Millenials. Also, powder accumulates increases all over the face.
      As for brows, I like Anastasia. Mature women need to stop drawing the Liz Taylor brow! Too much for aged faces. And egads sometimes it is the wrong color!

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