Perfecting The Art Of Floating Eyeliner On Small Eyes

Having small eyes can be frustrating when it comes to makeup application. Many makeup techniques that work well for large, round eyes don’t translate as nicely on smaller eyes. However, with the right tools and techniques, it’s possible to make small eyes appear larger and more defined.

One product that can help achieve this is floating eyeliner. Floating eyeliner is a makeup technique that uses eyeliner to open up and define small eyes.

In this article, we will discuss how floating eyeliner works, tips for applying it properly, the different types of floating eyeliner looks, and the benefits this technique offers for small eyes.

Floating Eyeliner On Small Eyes – How It Is Used?

Floating Eyeliner On Small Eyes - How It Is Used

Floating eyeliner helps make small eyes look bigger by creating the illusion of a larger eyelid space. It works by drawing a line above the natural lash-line and winging it out. This stretches out and lifts the eyes, making them appear less closed-off.

The liner is drawn just above the lashes, so it appears to “float” rather than resting right on top of the lash-line. This floating effect helps open up the eyes. When done correctly, floating eyeliner can make eyes look wider, rounder, and more awake. It adds shape and definition in a very flattering way for those with smaller eyes.

How Do You Apply Floating Eyeliner For Small Eyes? Steps For Applying It  

Applying floating eyeliner well takes some practice. Follow these steps to create a flattering look:

  • Start by curling your eyelashes using an eyelash curler. This helps open up the eyes. 
  • Apply a brown eyeliner pencil along your top lash-line. Make sure it is pressed right up against the base of your lashes. This will serve as a guide.
  • Use a felt-tip liquid liner pen to trace along the brown pencil line, staying just above it. The line should be thin at the inner corners and thicken slightly as you move towards the outer corners. 
  • As you reach the outer half of the eyes, begin to angle the line upwards to create a wing. Make sure the wing angles up towards your temples. 
  • Connect the wing back down to your lash-line by drawing across your lid while still staying above your actual lash-line. 
  • Soften the inner corners by smudging with a cotton swab. This helps transition the floating liner look.
  • Finish with two coats of black mascara on your top lashes to blend with the liner.

Using a light hand is crucial when applying floating liner. The line should be visible but not overtly bold or harsh. Take your time getting the shape and thickness right.

Types Of Floating Eyeliner On Small Eyes

There are a few different styles of floating eyeliner that work well for small eyes. You can customize the look you want.

  • Subtle Floating Liner: This style keeps the floating liner very thin, light, and natural-looking. It adds gentle definition and lifts without being too bold. Just a slight flick upwards at the outer corners.
  • Puppy Eyeliner: Puppy liner features a thicker, more exaggerated wing that extends farther upwards. This helps elongate the eyes. There is still no liner on the lower lashline.
  • Double Floating Liner: For extra enhancement, this look doubles up the liner, tracing two thin, floating lines along the upper lash-line. The two lines should be barely separated from one another. 
  • Reverse Floating Liner: This unconventional take reverse the floating effect by applying liner below your lower lashes rather than above the upper lash-line. It can create a wider, doe-eyed look.
  • Bold Floating Liner: Use a dense liquid liner to create a thicker, bolder floating line. This amps up the eye-opening effect.
  • Colorful Floating Liner: For a fun twist, try floating liner in a color like blue, purple, green or pink. The color pops against the skin.
  • Glitter Floating Liner: Incorporate sparkle by using a glitter liner. The shimmer draws light upwards.

Benefits Of Floating Eyeliner On Small Eyes

There are many advantages to using the floating eyeliner technique for small eyes:

  • Makes eyes appear larger and more open. The upward lift is flattering.
  • Creates the illusion of more eyelid space.
  • Elongates the eye shape rather than highlighting rounded width.
  • Defines eyes without the hardness of classic eyeliner drawn right on the lashes.
  • Adds shape and fullness to otherwise flat or downturned eyes.
  • Draws attention upwards away from under eye areas or sagging lids. 
  • Opens up and brightens the entire eye area.
  • Balances top and bottom proportions, reducing the look of under eye bags or dark circles.
  • Generates a wide-awake, positive look compared to small heavily-lined eyes which can appear droopy.

Read More:- Mastering The Waterline Eyeliner Technique: A Pro’s Guide For Perfect Application

Tips While Using Floating Eyeliner On Small Eyes

Mastering floating eyeliner takes some practice. Here are some tips to help:

  • Go slowly and work in thin strokes when first trying the technique.
  • Drawing with eyes open and looking straight on in the mirror helps get the shape even.
  • Be sure to lift the wing upwards, extending past your natural lash-line.
  • Using an eyeliner stamp can make quick work of getting the wing shape correct.
  • Apply liner after eye makeup and mascara so any fallout is taken care of.
  • Use a cotton swab to perfect and soften the line, especially at the inner corners. 
  • Choose a matte liquid liner formula that won’t budge or transfer.
  • Set the liner with matching eyeshadow to make it stay put all day. 
  • Try the reverse line under the lower lashes for a unique bold liner look on small eyes.
  • Accentuate the floating effect by skipping any eyeliner on the lower lash-line.
  • Stick to brown or grey shades if black liner looks too harsh.


Floating eyeliner is an excellent makeup technique for enhancing smaller eyes. By opening up and lifting the eyes, floating liner adds shape and definition in a way that is extremely flattering. There are many styles to suit different looks from subtle and natural to bold and glamorous.

Taking the time to practice the application and choosing the right products ensures floating eyeliner enhances eyes beautifully. With innovative makeup tricks like floating liner, small eyes can be gorgeously accentuated.


1. Does Floating Eyeliner Work On Hooded Eyes?

Yes, floating eyeliner can work well for hooded eyes since it helps open them up. Just be sure to extend the wing slightly longer to account for any hooding.

2. Is a Felt-Tip Pen Best For Drawing Floating Liner? 

Felt-tip liquid liners are the easiest to use for floating liner. The fine tip provides control for drawing the thin, precise line.

3. How Do You Keep Floating Eyeliner From Transferring or Smudging?

Use a smudge-proof, waterproof formula and set it with matching powder eyeshadow to help it last without transferring or fading.

4. Is Floating Eyeliner Better Than Tight Lining For Small Eyes?

Floating liner is less harsh and opens the eyes more than tight lining along the upper lash-line. But you can combine both techniques.

5. Should You Put Anything On The Lower Lash-Line With Floating Eyeliner?

For optimal opening of the eyes, it’s best to skip any liner or eye makeup on the lower lash-line and just enhance the upper lash-line.

Dr. Luna Rey specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin conditions, from common conditions like acne and eczema to more complex conditions like psoriasis and skin cancer. In addition to her medical practice, Dr. Luna has a strong interest in writing and has published numerous articles on dermatology topics in leading medical journals. Her writing style is clear, concise, and easy to understand, making her work accessible to a broad audience.

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