A black and white picture of Rita Hayworth in a black, off the shoulder dress, looking very sultry and glamorous.

Finding my Vamp: How to do Smoky when your Eyes are Hooded (and Old)

The App

Last week I discovered this amazing app which allows you to apply filters to transform your image. One turns you into a man, another works some wizardry which makes you look 18 again and, best of all, another transforms you into a Hollywood movie star with the Hollywood filter.

This shows four images set in a square. The top left image is of Trump with his mouth open looking quite old with white hair and eyebrows. The one top right has used a filter to make him look very young. Eye bags and wrinkles are removed and he has dark hair and brows. He looks about 20. Bottom left is the Hollywood filter. Trump's jaw has been squared and sharpened, his skin smoothed, his eyes are bigger and more clear and his face is tight and youthful looking if a bit perma tanned. On the bottom right is a brilliantly funny picture of Trump as a rather glamorous older woman with peach lipstick and a cascade of blonde hair.

Initially, it was the youth filter that obsessed me. When you apply the filter to your photograph, there is a little doohickey you can press which switches the image between the before and after images.

I spent a good hour flicking between old me/young me, old me/young me, old me/young me, trying to work out what was different. It was enough to make you cry. When did my lips thin so much ? When did my skin become so saggy and uneven? And look at those wrinkles! Also, I hadn’t realised how much your face shape changes as you get older. It moves from a nice, tight triangle to a square. Oh, and your forehead joins the party by drooping and falling forward. Jowls appear – thanks, jowls – leaving your face looking square and mannish.

I had to put the phone down and go for a walk outside to stop myself obsessing about the ravages of age.

The Hollywood filter was much more fun. It doesn’t make you look younger, really, and doesn’t make big changes. When I forced Rob to look at my before and after Hollywood filter images, marvelling at how amazing I looked, he said, ‘well they haven’t really changed your face very much, they’ve just added loads of make up.’

I had another look. He was right. I could probably fake this filter by slapping on some carefully chosen make up. I was particularly struck by what the app had done to my eyes – it had added a smoky kind of thing which I really liked.

This is the original close up of my eyes – no filter
This is what the Hollywood filter did to my eyes

As you know, I love lipstick and a bit of eyeliner, but I’ve never got into eye shadows and the like because my eyes have always been so hooded it seemed a waste of time. Now I’m nearly 50 those hooded eyes have got even worse. If you look at this picture you can see that the flesh of my upper lid is hanging so low you can hardly see my eye.

As you can probably tell, this is me without a scrap of make up. Look at that flabby hanging hood! It’s actually drooping across my eye making it look very small.

The App got me thinking. Could I get that smoky eye look just by using a ton of make-up?

I realise this is something everyone else has known for years, but I have just discovered there are hundreds of videos and web posts on how to use make-up. How did I not know this? And what is brilliant is there are loads of tutorials specifically aimed at women of my age. The ones below were some of the best ones I found. All clips are aimed at hooded eyes but a few also have some excellent tips on making up the older eye (such as making sure to lift up and stretch bits of the skin on your eyelid to get the brush in to ensure even coverage.)

The YouTube Videos I used

1. Hooded, Droopy Eyes – Tips and Tricks

2. Warm Smoky Eye for Hooded Eyes Makeup

3. Smoky Eye Makeup for Mature Skin & Hooded Eye

The Make Up I Used

In my research, I kept reading comments  about older women sticking to colours like ‘bone’ and ‘brown’ having not changed their eye make up look since the 90’s.


Those are the ONLY colours I have used since the 90’s. Oh dear… I have become that older woman I used to laugh at for having her hair in the rigid curls of a shampoo and set, a style not fashionable since the 50’s. Decidedly uncool in the late 80’s. I have been living in the past!

Apparently bone and brown are too harsh for the older eye. So, suitably chastened, I went down to my local MAC counter for advice. An amazingly patient woman called Emily helped me to choose all the products she thought I needed to recreate my Hollywood filter. Yes I did show her the filtered photo. I had no shame. And she was very nice about it.

I explained I wanted a dramatic eye look, like the Hollywood filter effect, intended for late night in low light or photographs. Definitely not for day time. I wanted something really different for special nights out.

Mac Solar Glow Palette (£26)

I left the shop with a pallete of eye shadows. The Mac Solar Glow Palette (£26) is a gorgeous mix of browns, golds, silvers, plums and greys – some glittery some matt.

Now my make-up advisors say that a woman of my age shouldn’t wear glitter or shiny shadows. But as this is only for a special night out and I was only going to use the light glittery stuff just below the brow, I thought I’d get away with it.

I also bought a host of different brushes and a pair of false eyelashes. Yes. False eyelashes. I haven’t worn them since my days as a Rocky Horror Picture Show fan when I rocked a Magenta falsie lash look wearing them on top AND bottom lids. Forgive me, I was only 17. But if false eyelashes are good enough for an 80 year old Jane Fonda, they are good enough for me.

I used my nearest foundation and the Bobbi Brown Concealor and the Mac Liquidlast I wrote about in an earlier make-up post.

We were going out Friday night so I decided to try out what I had learned. We were going to a pub renowned far and wide for being extremely dark, so I thought that would be a good time to showcase a smoky, false-lashed, red lipstick face. I know, I know you aren’t supposed to have strong eyes AND lips but the pub really is very dark. You can barely see the food on your plate. It would be fine.

The Make Up  – Step by Step

1. I started with a full face of slap. I did it properly with a posh brush, rather than fingers.

The MAC saleswoman had recommended this kind of slanted plug shaped thick brush which really did put on my foundation more smoothly than when I use my fingers. It’s like you are stippling the foundation on.

2. Here is my hooded eye again. Apparently, the secret is to put a dark shadow over and across your hooded eyelid to give the illusion of a hollow formed by the eye socket. This makes your eyes look bigger and more dramatic. All the advice I read said to keep checking the hood had been covered by checking in the mirror, looking straight ahead, without lifting your eyebrows, as I am doing in this picture.

3. I used my Bobbi Brown concealer as an eyelid primer. I then used a fairly thick eye powder brush to sweep the pale golden colour (top left of the palette) over the whole area, right up to the eye brow – and I mean right up to the eyebrow. As you can see by my hooded eye, I’ve not got a lot of eyelid on show so I have to maximise all the space I have. So up to the eyebrow I go with the light colour.

4. This is the point when I put the dark colour on. I chose the bottom middle colour of the palette, I think it’s called ‘Soot’. By the way don’t forget to put a cotton pad or tissue under your lower lid at this point, otherwise you will have ‘Soot’ everywhere.

Stupidly, I didn’t take a picture of the closed eyelid to show you. I based it on Stephanie Lange’s brilliant video on her dome technique. She refers to it in her video number 2 above.

Lange’s ‘dome shape’ for hooded eyes – works with any colour!

5. It is really quite shocking how high you have to take the dark colour. I kept looking straight ahead thinking I had put on more than enough but there was no sign of the colour when I looked straight ahead! I felt exactly like this brilliant image from tyra.com

6. But I kept on going shading higher and higher until I was perilously close to my eyebrow. Looking at the final image I could have gone even higher.

7. Once I was happy I had covered the hood with soot, lol, I then ran a line of Liquidliner across the bottom of my eyelashes and then applied the falsies. A quick colouring in with an eyebrow pencil and I’m done.

Can I just say that I made the mistake of choosing my ‘good eye’ to do my make up on. As I am blind in my right eye this made things very difficult. I also didn’t wear my contact lens so I did all this squinting into a Powder compact mirror. I am so short sighted I had to squash it up against my nose to be able to see anything. This led to me getting very cross and sweaty.

8. The finish!

Before you look please bear in mind the above half-blindness/short-sightedness issue, but also I know I need to trim the falsies as they are a little too wide and long. The videos I saw advised running an eye pencil INSIDE the upper eyelid (video 3 above). Looking at my final image I understand why but YEESH I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wish I’d persevered, but maybe next time.



Both eyes… who needs a Hollywood filter? You just need five tons of slap!

What do you think?

I am going to work on improving it – but not bad for a first attempt, eh?

Stay vampy, people!

25 thoughts on “Finding my Vamp: How to do Smoky when your Eyes are Hooded (and Old)

  1. Good job! I have just been thinking lately that I need to revamp my makeup style…I, too, have been doing my face the exact same way since…gulp…high school, I’m pretty sure. These are great tips! Maybe I’ll get brave and try giving myself a makeover. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! It’s so easy to stick to the same old shades and then the years go by and you don’t change and I think that’s ageing. With hazel you have so many options! I would imagine pinks and plums would make your eyes more green while other colours can make your eyes more brown – maybe soft oranges and umbers? You can then work two looks! Thank you for the compliment I have a beautician who is obsessed with creating nice brows she loves my right brow but hates my left one as it’s got thinner as I’ve got older! 😂 needs much more help

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bootiful! I never wear much make-up as I have a tendency to look like a man in drag 😉 I’ve never tried false lashes, but as I’ve got older I wear more mascara and it makes such a huge difference. I have a fringe, for very good reason ;), so never have and never will care about my brows! Hope the pub was at least bright enough so everyone could admire your Hollywood glamour 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds good I must have a look at NYX and I’ve heard the Bobbi Brown eye crayons are good too. I’m also not really a fan of the glittery shadow but thought it was Ok for a night out. There are Matt shadows in the palette which are lovely and soft – will have to have a bit of a play with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous – and I think those colours are rather lovely. I am really short sighted too, basically I go by feel – I sort of remember where the sales assistant was poking/stroking when she coloured me in and then I try to recall whereabouts it was, sometimes more successfully that others, although I am too squeamish to start colouring in right up to my eye. I also think your eye colour is a lovely tone to bring out all those trendy colours

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Juliet – it’s a real pain being so short sighted – and if I put my contacts in I can’t see close up! They are lovely colours and actually all the palettes there are nice. How about next time you have a make over video it with your phone and then you can watch again! Lol

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve just looked it up and I think I’ve worked out how to do it. I’ve added text to the headline photo and trump’s photo. Could you check it out to see if it works and you can hear the descriptions? Thanks I’ll try and remember to do that more often in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

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