Eyelid surgery to create double eyelid creases or remove excess hooded eyelid skin, known as blepharoplasty, has soared in popularity over the past decade. In fact, it’s currently the third most popular cosmetic procedure according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Many people pursue blepharoplasty in hopes of transforming their hooded eyes into wide-open, non-hooded eyes.
So what exactly are hooded eyelids versus non-hooded eyelids, and what causes these differences in eyelid anatomy? As someone with hooded eyes myself, I decided to do a deep dive on the distinctions between hooded and non-hooded peepers. Read on for a complete guide on identifying hooded versus non-hooded eyes, their impact on appearance and vision, plus pro tips for eye makeup, skincare and treatments to enhance your gorgeous gaze!
What Are Hooded Eyelids?
Hooded eyelids have an excess of sagging and loose skin on the upper eyelid that droops down over the natural crease. This hood of skin obstructs the visible eyelid space between the crease and lash line.
In severe cases, the extra upper eyelid skin is so substantial that it actually touches or covers the entire lash line. This creates a “hidden” eyelid crease that lies beneath the overhanging hood of skin.
Characteristics of hooded eyes include:
- Absent or negligible visible eyelid space between crease and lashes
- Low, absent or obscured natural eyelid crease
- Rounded shape to the eyelids instead of a defined crease
- Excess upper eyelid skin drooping over lash line
It’s common for both eyelids to be hooded, but it is possible to have a hooded eyelid on just one side. Hooding in both eyes usually occurs at similar levels of severity.
Non-Hooded Eyelids Defined
In contrast to hooded eyes, non-hooded eyelids have no excess upper eyelid skin overhanging the natural crease area.
Key features of non-hooded peepers are:
- Visible eyelid space between the crease and upper lash line
- Defined natural eyelid crease that’s clearly visible when eyes are open
- No saggy upper eyelid skin obstructing the crease zone
- Overall more open, lifted, “awake” look to the eyes
Those with non-hooded eyelids have a crisp, angular shape to their eyes versus the rounded, sloped silhouette of hooded eyes. Their upper lash line is fully exposed rather than partly or fully obscured by hooding skin.
What Causes Hooded Eyes?
So what leads to having hooded eyelids versus non-hooded eyes? Here are the most common causes:
Genetics – Hooded eyes often run in families. East Asian ethnicities in particular tend to exhibit hooded eyelids as a genetic trait. If your parents and other family members have hooded lids, you likely inherited them.
Aging – Over time, the collagen, elastin and fat pads in the eyelids break down. This leads to loss of elasticity and volume that allows upper eyelid skin to droop. Hooding typically gets more pronounced with age.
Weight Gain – Fat deposits in the eyelids can increase with substantial weight gain or loss. This added fat bulk in the lids causes sagging.
Sun Damage – Chronic sun exposure degrades collagen and elastin over time. This contributes to wrinkling and laxity in eyelid skin that worsens hooding.
Eye Rubbing – Frequent firm rubbing of the eyes can weaken eyelid muscles and skin elasticity. This makes hooding incrementally worse.
Ethnicity – Hooded eyelids are far more prevalent among those of East Asian descent. However, hooding can occur in any ethnicity.
Impact on Appearance and Vision
How do hooded eyes differ visually from non-hooded lids? There are a few key distinctions:
- Hooded eyes appear smaller and more closed – The hooding skin covers up a portion of the actual eyelid, making eyes seem less open.
- Hooded lids can look perpetually sleepy, sad or disengaged – Since less of the eye surface is exposed, it’s harder for others to read your facial expressions. Even when you’re alert and attentive, severely hooded eyes may give the false impression you’re tired, bored or upset.
- Severe hooding can interfere with peripheral vision – When upper eyelid skin starts obstructing your actual field of vision, it’s time to see an ophthalmologist. Mild to moderate hooding doesn’t impact sight.
- Non-hooded eyes look more open, approachable and awake – The wide-eyed appearance of non-hooded lids is often considered more youthful, alert and inviting.
Makeup Tips and Tricks for Hooded Eyes
Luckily there are lots of makeup techniques to help hooded eyes look more lifted, defined and open:
- Lifted cat eyeliner – Create a subtle feline flick that angles up to “lift” hooded eyes. Keep lines thin since thick liner can close eyes off even more.
- Highlight brow bones – Using a light shimmer or matte highlighting shadow under brows makes eyes look less hooded.
- Fake a crease – Add depth by using shadows to sculpt out a crease higher above your actual hidden crease.
- Brighten inner corners – Draw focus outward by highlighting inner corners with light shimmery shadow or concealer.
- Curl lashes – Curled upper lashes help open up hooded eyes versus sticking straight out. Waterproof mascara also helps hold the curl.
- Balance eye and lip color – Avoid dramatic heavy eye makeup and lips together. Play up either lips or eyes to avoid completely closing off your face.
Skincare and Treatments for Hooded Lids
If your hooded eyelids bother you cosmetically or impact vision, there are skincare treatments and medical procedures that can help:
- Retinol creams – Using retinol stimulates collagen production which improves skin elasticity and firmness to reduce hooding.
- Peptide serums and gels – Like retinol, peptides boost collagen growth to tighten sagging eyelid skin over time.
- Eye exercises – Performing exercises to strengthen eyelid muscles can combat drooping muscles that worsen hooding.
- Eye creams with caffeine – Caffeine is a natural antioxidant that helps improve circulation and fluid drainage to reduce puffiness.
- Blepharoplasty surgery – This procedure involves surgically removing excess upper eyelid skin, muscle and fat to eliminate hooding.
- Non-surgical skin tightening – Options like laser resurfacing, ultrasound or radiofrequency treatments tighten eyelid skin. Effects are milder than surgery with no downtime.
Hooded vs Non-Hooded Eyes: Conclusion
While hooded and non-hooded eyelids have distinct differences in terms of appearance, neither is inherently better. Hooded eyes are very common and completely normal. The tips above can help you enhance your eyes beautifully whether your peepers are hooded or non-hooded.
If severe hooding begins noticeably obstructing your vision or creating functional issues, do schedule an exam with an ophthalmologist. For cosmetic concerns, consult a board certified cosmetic surgeon or oculofacial specialist to determine your options. Most importantly, remember to appreciate your unique eye shape and flaunt it fabulously!
Sophia Rodriguez is the creative force behind IGXO Cosmetics, a popular beauty blog and brand. As a long-time makeup artist and beauty industry insider, Sophia realized there was a lack of authentic, relatable content for the everyday woman. This inspired her to launch IGXO Cosmetics in 2018 as a platform to share her passion for beauty.