The eye area is one of the most important parts of the face and crucial for human communication. We use the eyes to read each other for cues, as well as to evaluate each other for health. Hunter Eyes are key to having a great eye area. Most models have this feature or at least deep-set eyes in some form. On the other hand, if you have the opposite, a bulgy eye area, it sticks out like an eyesore.
So, how does one achieve the hunter eye look…?
Unfortunately, there are no direct procedures to get Hunter Eyes. There are only a handful of surgeries for the eye area that can indeed give a “Hunter Eye” shape, but none of them actually make your eyes more deep-set. The best way to get true Hunter Eyes is a long-term dedication to mewing.
Definition of Hunter Eyes
Before we can explain why that is, let’s first define Hunter Eyes. These are eyes that are deep-set and sit far back in the skull. How far back they sit depends on the orientation of your orbit bones, of which there are many:
Unfortunately, this is largely genetic. Even many models have large orbits. Some models even have large orbits and Hunter Eyes at the same time. But with a lifetime of proper posture and chewing hard foods, enough pressure can be exerted on the maxilla to compress the orbital bones in a vertical direction, though this takes many years.
A vertically compact eye orbit is essentially the core feature of Hunter Eyes. But the shape is important too and also helps distinguish Hunter Eyes.
Look at model Sean O’Pry’s eye area:
His eyes are hooded, which means you can’t see his upper eyelid.
Hunter Eyes are straight, deep-set, hooded, horizontally wide, vertically narrow, and have a positive canthal tilt. To understand canthal tilt, note the medial and lateral canthus on this chart:
A positive canthal tilt occurs when the lateral canthus sits higher than the medial canthus.
In the above image, the attractive eye on the left has a positive canthal tilt, whereas the image below has a negative canthal tilt. This leads to a tired/depressed look but is one of the things that can be fixed by surgery.
For more information about what constitutes an attractive eye area, see our article How to Get Attractive Eyes.
Canthoplasty is surgery on the canthi of the eye. This is done to give the eyes a more attractive shape.
A lateral canthoplasty consists of repositioning the lateral canthus. The surgeon cuts a slit across the lateral part of your eye horizontally. The canthal tendon is severed from the orbital rim and reattached. This serves to essentially raise the lateral canthus vertically.
An epicanthoplasty enlarges the eyes horizontally. This is done in Asian populations because small eyes are seen as unattractive.
A canthopexy is similar except that no cuts are made in the tendons/muscles, and only stitches are used. A canthoplasty will provide better results and last longer, at least in the hands of an experienced surgeon.
While this surgery can make a huge difference in your eye area, it does nothing to make the eyes more deep-set. However, it can contribute to the Hunter Eye shape.
Blepharoplasty is simply eyelid surgery. It’s used to fix skin/laxity issues of the eyelids. This surgery is mainly done when sagging upper eyelid skin infringes on the field of vision itself.
As you can see in the gentleman above, the eyebrow skin was starting to drape over the upper eyelid and impair the patient’s field of vision. After the blepharoplasty, the upper eyelid became visible again.
But this has nothing to do with Hunter Eyes. In fact, the patient actually gained more upper eyelid exposure, a conventionally unattractive feature, in exchange for a better visual field.
Ptosis is drooping of the upper eyelid. It can have causes ranging from paralysis, to disease, or you could have been born with it. Ptosis Repair surgery is meant just for fixing this specific condition. It tightens the muscle that is responsible for lifting the eye and is meant to help restore normal functioning.
This patient had a ptosis repair which fixed the asymmetry in their eyes. As a result, the patient appears more awake.
Eyelid retraction surgery is for lifting the lower eyelid. It’s like a ptosis repair, but for the lower eyelid. This is done to fix any scleral show issues or just reverse any age-related skin laxity issues.
This is a useful technique to help achieve the Hunter Eye shape. But again, it doesn’t actually make your eyes deep-set.
Orbital decompression surgery is exactly as it sounds. It helps relieve built-up pressures in the eye that mainly arises from Grave’s eye disease, a type of thyroid disease. This is done by removing bones and fat in the orbit itself.
The patient got rid of the prey-eye look. But this surgery won’t help you get any closer to Hunter Eyes unless you have this specific condition.
Almond Eye Surgery
The almond eye shape is considered the most conventionally attractive. Popularized by Dr. Taban, Almond Eye Surgery is a combination of different surgeries. Usually, it’s canthoplasty + ptosis repair + lower eyelid retraction. But this is at the discretion of the surgeon.
And the results are usually amazing. The patient above went from having a tired look to youthful and vibrant looking almond eyes.
But again, his eyes were never actually made more deep-set. I keep harping on this because it’s the crucial difference that makes all the difference in the world. Adriana Lima, for example, has true Hunter Eyes:
Her medial canthus tilts downward, her orbits are horizontally wide & vertically compact, and there’s no trace of eyebags or dark cicles like most people have.
Whereas this patient had Almond Eye Surgery and it’s just not the same:
Because the maxilla support is not optimal, the eyes just can’t maintain their ideal shape. Note the medial canthus in these pictures. Lima’s medial canthi are pointing to her nose instead of each other.
There might be other surgeries out there like Almond Eye Surgery with different marketing and/or different combinations of surgeries. But the ones covered in this article are the main techniques used for the eyes, and they can’t get you true Hunter Eyes.
Luckily there is one thing that can give you true Hunter Eyes. The main downside is it takes years, if not decades of dedication in adults. The only way to make the eyes more deep-set is a consistent dedication to mewing.
If you doubt that bones can change, just look at the normal aging process of the skull:
Look at Stephen Hawking, who was diagnosed with ALS. This is a disease that affects the muscles and not the bones. And yet the muscles, over a long period, warped the bones significantly.
A similar process happens in muscular dystrophy. This patient was not born with an open bite:
This kid was unwittingly allergic to hamsters and made the mistake of getting one. Over time, this caused him to mouth-breathe and transition more slowly to the typical mouth-breather face:
So where does mewing fit in? Well, basically, mewing is simply proper tongue posture and body posture. This is something that humans have lost as we went from a nomadic outdoor lifestyle to living in houses. Allergens such as dust mites have impaired our abilities to breathe through our nose at an early age. Also, the poor posture that’s common in today’s society, exacerbates poor tongue posture. Slouching your head forward to look at a phone or computer causes your mouth to hang open. So, you need to do the opposite.
The technique itself is simple:
- Straighten your back, stop hunching and straighten your neck.
- Close your lips. This will create a seal and prevents mouth breathing.
- Have your teeth touching. Don’t quite clench your teeth, but make sure your lower jaw is supporting your maxilla.
- Then, rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth, not just the tip of the tongue. Press your entire tongue on the roof of your mouth. Cover as much surface area of your upper palate as you can. Focus on the back, by your wisdom teeth. Since the roof of the mouth is curved, you won’t be able to get it completely flat. So just contour your tongue to cover as much surface area of the roof of your mouth as you can. Again, focus on making sure the back third of your tongue is on the roof of your mouth.
- Contract your muscles under your chin to help force your tongue onto the roof of your mouth.
This is your hyoid bone. You should be able to squeeze the muscles around this area and watch this part of your neck go up. A helpful way to think of it is to suck your hyoid bone upward into your skull.
- Hold this posture for as long of a duration as you can. Remind yourself to do it constantly throughout the day. Keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose the entire time.
As you push up on the roof of your mouth and have your teeth touching, this creates a constant force that pushes up on your maxilla and helps create more eye support. Focus on the back third of your tongue as this is what’s going to have the most direct impact on your orbit bones, but don’t forget to have consistent coverage over your whole mouth.
Notice earlier in the anatomy section all the sutures in the orbit area of the skull? During normal development, these sutures are sites of new bone growth. Your face moves around these suture like pieces of a puzzle. The orbits are meant to deform to consistent pressures from your tongue and chewing hard foods throughout a lifetime.
This is why consistent dedication to mewing over years is one of the only things that can help you achieve true Hunter Eyes. In addition to making your eyes more deep-set, mewing will also raise your cheekbones and improve your canthal tilt along with the rest of your eye area.