Doe eyes makeup explained: the clever technique that makes your eyes look wide-awake

We explain how to try doe eyes makeup – a flattering trend that creates the illusion of larger eyes

Zoey Deschanel, Laura Harrier and Sydney Sweeney wearing the doe eyes trend
(Image credit: Future)

The dictionary definition of doe eyes describes large, innocent-looking eyes. If you weren’t born with Bambi-esque peepers, then worry not. Doe eyes is the latest make-up trend to sweep TikTok, with over 494M views and counting, so there’s plenty of eye-opening inspiration to be found. 

If you’re up on your trending make-up hashtags, you’ve probably come across siren eyes - the sultry, sexy, heavy-on-the-liner look that lifts and widens the eye like a beguiling Catwoman. Doe eyes are much more subdued and cutesy, making the eyes appear larger and more wide-awake, like a ‘60s-inspired Disney Princess. “The doe eye makeup look creates an innocent wide-eyed style in comparison to the sexier smokey and cat eye makeup looks,” explains Jamie Coombes (opens in new tab), Dior Pro International Makeup Artist. The doe eyes trend does bear a few crucial hallmarks – a bright waterline, a neutral eyeshadow base, and superbly curled eyelashes, with the best mascara bringing some lower lash drama. The overall effect is rather doll-like and incredibly flattering. 

So if you’ve ever wanted to make your eyes look bigger, doe eyes could be a perfect match. We’ve enlisted the help of expert make-up artists to reveal their easy-to-follow tips and create this sweet and versatile look.  

What is the doe eyes trend?

So what defines doe eyes? It’s a look that you can really play around with, tweaking the elements to suit your eye shape. Generally speaking, the look starts with a wash of neutral shadow across the eyelid. White liner is applied to the waterline to knock out any redness and make the eye appear more awake, adding a dash of highlighter on the inner corner. Next comes eyeliner, rounded over the upper lash line, before coating lashes with mascara applied in upward strokes. The result is big, open eyes with plenty of lash action.

Doe eyes also come with many perks. Firstly, they’ll make small eyes look larger. It’s also one of the best eyeshadow looks to help brighten the eye and disguise signs of fatigue when you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. And the good news doesn’t stop there. According to Coombes (opens in new tab), “The doe eye look suits most eye shapes as it makes the eye look wider and larger.” However, Coombes does admit that if you’re looking for make-up for hooded eyes, doe eyes might not be the right choice. “The makeup will just vanish and can make the eyelid look heavier,” he says.

How to do doe eyes, according to a makeup artist

Laura Harrier on the red carpet with doe eyes makeup

(Image credit: Getty images)

Ready to open your eyes? Jamie Coombes shares his step-by-step process for doe eyes:

  1. Prep the eye area with serum and fix with powder.
  2. Apply a neutral shade over the eyelid. Using a deeper color, add soft definition along the socket, focusing slightly more on the outer socket area.
  3. Apply liner along the upper lash line, taking it wider from the mid to outer lash line, stopping where the lash finishes.
  4. Add a little highlighter on the inner corner of the eye then use white kohl along the waterline to open up the eyes.
  5. Curl lashes and dress with mascara, working in an upward motion to create length and enhance the widened eye shape.

doe eyes vs siren eyes

Zooey Deschanel

(Image credit: Getty)

Forget Brad and Angelina. The biggest battle in the social domain right now is between two TikTok eyeliner looks - siren eyes versus doe eyes. As trends go, they are night and day. Where siren eyes smolder, doe eyes sparkle. Siren eyes are defined by a sharp wing of eyeliner that stretches out both ways, past the inner and outer corners, with lashes swept outward to lift and elongate the eye. The effect is alluring, seductive, and arguably better suited to evening wear.

Doe eyes, on the other hand, are all about making the eyes look larger, brighter, and more rounded. They feature a white-lined waterline, a dash of highlighter in the inner corner, and rounded eyeliner (you can add a little flick at the wing if that suits your eye shape). Mascara is piled onto the central lashes and swept straight up to reinforce the shape. As doe is a softer look than siren, this is an example of when softer brown wins out in brown vs black mascara (another TikTok debate.)

The best makeup for doe eyes, by our beauty editor

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Dior 5 Couleurs Couture 649 Nude Dress | RRP: $54.49/£49

This is Jamie’s palette of choice, and the perfect selection of neutrals to create a base for the doe-eyed look. The colors are elegant but highly pigmented and enriched with aloe vera for a comfortable feeling on the eyelid.

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3INA The 24H Pen Eyeliner 900 | RRP: $17.95/£15

This liquid liner has a nice flexible tip that feels comfortable and easy to control. It dries quickly too so you don’t get that irritating transfer on the upper eyelid. I personally prefer a matte finish to my eyeliner, which this has - it feels more wearable and understated. 

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Revolution Kohl Eyeliner in White | RRP: $5/£3

White kohl will prove an indispensable part of your doe eyes makeup bag - a quick swipe along the waterline will pare down redness and make your eyes look brighter. This one has pretty punchy pigment and glides along the inner eye without dragging or stuttering. 

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Kylie Cosmetics Kybrow Brow Highlighter | RRP: $15/£15

Dab and blend this creamy, pearlescent highlighter into the inner corner of each eye for a brightening effect - the cornerstone of the doe eyes trend. It also works well used under the brow to enhance the arch and lift the eye. 

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Tweezerman Curl 60 Eyelash Curler | RRP $17.97/£19

Don’t be tempted to skip the lash curling stage, however arduous you find it. For rounded eyes, I rate these. The cleverly angled top bar hugs the lash line to crimp every eyelash without pinching the skin.

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Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara Cosmic Black | RRP $9.98/£11.99

I’m calling it - this is the best lengthening mascara (opens in new tab) ever invented. It’s basically lash extensions in a tube. The formula delivers inky, glossy black lashes in a non-smudgy, non-flaky formula so you won’t find dark flecks under your eye by lunchtime.

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Lashify Control Kit | RRP: $145/£131

Add these gossamer-fine lashes to the center of your eyes to enhance the rounded shape and make them appear larger. These DIY lash extensions can last up to 10 days and are easy to apply yourself at home - it just takes a little practice. 

Stephanie Maylor is a Beauty Editor working across five national magazine titles, with almost 15 years' experience in the industry.  She has written for many brands, including woman&home, Grazia, Now, More!, Fabulous, NW, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly, Essentials, Best, Chat, and OK! online. 


In 2010 she launched her own beauty blog, which was shortlisted for Best Beauty Blog in the 2011 and 2012 Johnson & Johnson Beauty Journalism Awards. She has interviewed many high profile industry experts and celebrities including Alesha Dixon, Twiggy and Christina Hendricks.