How to Make Your Eyes Pop In the Age of Face Masks

These simple eye makeup ideas will make sure your face mask doesn't steal all the attention.

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After a year of social distancing and ordering takeout, your makeup bag might look barely touched. After all, if people only see your eyes when you're out and about, what's the point of applying concealer and a bold lip? But if you're ready to experiment with your look again, get started with these eye makeup ideas that will make sure your peepers stand out above your protective face mask.

A Warm Gaze

For the freshest eye look, set your sights on nature-inspired tones of canyon rusts, petal pinks, and shimmering quartz. "These shades create such a pretty sun-kissed vibe and are flattering on all skin and eye shades," says Charlie Riddle, a makeup artist and Stila Cosmetics's editorial director of artistry. (If you're hitting up the gym, try these sweat-proof makeup products.)

To make this eye makeup idea a reality, you have options depending on your mood: Create a simple, subtly mesmerizing wash by sweeping a rust or pink shade across the lid with a fluffy eye shadow brush, blending from lash line to above the crease. Or give your gaze more wow by starting with a shimmery champagne shadow, like Stila Trifecta Metallica Lip, Eye & Cheek Stick in Kitten (Buy It, $26, amazon.com) or a bronze cream shadow. Focus it on the lash line, or go for the whole lid for a soft, metallic sheen. Then pair it with a few coats of vivid mascara — purple is a cool way to add contrast and interest.

Stila Trifecta Metallica Lip, Eye & Cheek Stick in Kitten

Stila Trifecta Metallica Lip, Eye & Cheek Stick in Kitten
Amazon

Alluring Lashes

Thick, luxe eye fringe makes the most of your star feature. The secret to a full effect: an application move best described as the wiggle. "Hold your mascara wand at the base of the lashes, and move it side to side as you slowly glide upward," says Riddle. Wiggling the brush in different directions layers mascara on every lash.

Do this eye makeup idea with two mascara formulas on the top and bottom lashes, says Riddle. First, apply a lengthening formula, such as Marc Jacobs At Lash'd Lengthening and Curling Mascara (Buy It, $27, sephora.com). Let it dry, then add a coat of a volumizing mascara, such as Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara (Buy It, $11, ulta.com). For a smudge-free eye area, sweep mascara onto bottom lashes first to prevent transfer.

Marc Jacobs At Lash'd Lengthening and Curling Mascara

Marc Jacobs At Lash'd Lengthening and Curling Mascara
Sephora

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara

Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara
Ulta

Or you could go for false lashes. The new options on the market are easier than ever to apply yourself. For a natural effect, place a few individual lashes, such as Ardell Trios Lash (Buy It, $5, amazon.com), to the center and ends of your lash line, says Riddle. Or try LoveSeen strip lashes (Buy It, $22, loveseen.com). The styles and shades (black, brown-black, and light brown) are subtle and flattering to all eye shapes. (

Ardell Trios Lash

Ardell Trios Lash
Amazon

For an eye makeup idea that offers major oomph, check out the dramatic offerings from the Lashify Control Kit (Buy It, $145, lashify.com) which has a sealant that holds falsies in place for up to a week. To apply a strip of lashes: Brush a thin line of glue along the band of the false lash, and wait 30 seconds for it to get tacky. As you're looking down, place the band at the base of your natural lashes. Use a tweezer to nudge the corners into place.

"I like to gently push down on the lashes with a Q-tip while they set," says Riddle. (Here's what you need to know if you're applying magnetic lashes.)

Bright Skin

Looking well rested, smooth, and radiant is the best backdrop for gorgeous eyes. That means combating the most common issues that crop up in this area. "The skin here is very thin and delicate, which is why it's so prone to puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines," says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a dermatologist in New York. When it comes to products, it's important to read the ingredient list. Potential allergens and irritants like fragrance and essential oils in eye creams can cause redness and a scaly texture, especially if you have sensitivity, eczema, or rosacea.

On the flip side, a treatment with pre- and probiotics maintains a healthy, protective skin barrier that keeps skin smooth and plump, says Dr. Bowe. Try Tula Skincare Instant De-Puff Eye Renewal Serum (Buy It, $58, amazon.com), which comes with a metal-tip applicator that feels cooling and helps deflate bags.

Tula Skincare Instant De-Puff Eye Renewal Serum

Tula Skincare Instant De-Puff Eye Renewal Serum
Amazon

But topicals aren't the only factors that help or do harm. The many hours of screen time, heaters, and fans, a change in weather, masks, hormonal fluctuations, and certain oral medications can do a real number, causing dryness and redness to your actual eye, says Shanika Esparaz, M.D., an ophthalmologist in Ohio. (Read: What Is Computer Eye Strain?)

She recommends using over-the-counter eye drops, called artificial tears, four to six times a day. Lower your bottom lids, put one drop in each, then blink. Blot any tears, and let the skin dry before applying makeup to avoid smudging. (

L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Cream Treatment

L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Cream Treatment
Amazon

To treat fine lines around the eye, retinol is the gold standard, but it can be too harsh for some. An eye cream that blends retinol with a hydrating ingredient like glycerin, such as L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Cream Treatment (Buy It, $11, amazon.com), might be more tolerable, says Michelle Henry, M.D., a dermatologist in New York. Pat the cream along your orbital bone at night.

Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches

Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Amazon

For dark panda rings that won't fade no matter how many hours of sleep you log, a product with a brightening agent, like niacinamide or vitamin C, is your savior, says Dr. Henry. Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches (Buy It, $65, amazon.com) have vitamin C, which helps inhibit the overproduction of pigment in your skin cells, as well as caffeine to reduce puffiness. (

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