A smokey eye can be one of the easiest eye designs to master! Hard to believe? Well, I am letting the cat out of the bag! Not only am I about to prove it, but I am about to prove it using one eye shadow color. You heard me correctly, ONE color! And even better news: you do not have to be a pro to get it right! So dust off those dark shadows that have been cast away to the bottom of your makeup drawer, and put those brushes to work! Chances are you will surprise yourself with your skills!
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- Eye Shadow base that is one or two shades lighter than your skin tone
My pick- Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion
- Any single eye shadow of your choice; preferably one with intense pigment
My pick- Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Eye Shadow
- Small, dense brush
My pick- Giorgio Armani Small Round Eye Shadow Brush
- Large, fluffy brush that comes to a point
My pick- Chanel Eye Shadow brush #12
- Intense eyeliner pencil
My pick-Trish McEvoy Intense Waterproof Eyeliner
- Deep black mascara
My pick- Cover Girl Lash Exact
Preparation: Start with a cleansed, moisturized face. I prefer to apply eye shadow before foundation, especially when doing a smokey eye because there is often shadow fall down. Yes, there are tricks to make fall down better to deal with if you have already done your foundation and concealer; however, I just find it easier not to have to worry about it. Also, make sure you give time for your moisturizer and eye cream to settle in before you begin so that it does not cause your eye makeup to run.
Use your finger to pat a thin layer of eye shadow base to the entire upper eye area; from the lash line all the way up to the brow bone. This step is especially important so that you get the most pigment out of your shadow, as well as extend the wear time of your smokey eye. Too much base and it will have the reverse effect, possibly creasing the shadow- too little and it will not do its job.
Apply your eyeliner to the entire waterline, in between the lashes; upper and lower. This will help beef up your lash line and accentuate your eye color, no matter what it may be. Throw out the idea that you cannot wear liner inside your eye for fear that it will make your eyes look smaller. We are going for a sultry, smokey eye. Line it up!
Taking your small eye shadow brush, press a generous amount of eye shadow into the lash line, working up the lid but stopping just below the crease. This step will look very messy with no rhyme or reason, and that is okay! Here we are simply laying down the pigment in an intense way. Do not get stuck on trying to apply it evenly.
Blend, blend, blend…and then blend again. Move your fluffy, pointy brush back and forth (think windshield wiper motion) in the crease of the eye. This type of brush will perfectly soften the line where the eye shadow pigment stops. Do not stop blending until you see a gradient effect. You want the darkest portion to be at the lash line and softly blended just above the crease. Do not blend the shadow all the way up to the brow bone; that area should remain void of shadow. Some artists use a highlighter here, but I prefer to leave it clean, keeping the focus on the deep pigment on the lid. The lighter-than-skin-color eye shadow base that you applied in step one will serve as your highlight without looking dated or over-done!
Apply one coat of mascara to the upper lashes starting as close to the root as possible. Then, taking your small eye shadow brush, swipe some shadow under the lower lashes to intensify the sultry look- all the way from the inner corner to the outer corner. *Note: this should look very soft and smudgy, no hard lines! Now, go back to the upper lashes because it is time for their second coat. Use whatever mascara remains on the wand, wiggling onto the bottom lashes. It is best if you do not dip the mascara wand back into the tube to prevent tarantula-looking fringe!
So, how did you do? If you did not end up with the result you were expecting, do not be discouraged! This may be a technique that you have never heard of, and just like anything else, practice makes perfect. If you take away only one thing from this “how-to,” always remind yourself to blend, blend, blend! Keep that in mind, and there is little that can go wrong.
Rachel Paul is a New York based makeup artist, encouraging and training women to be their most beautiful self. Follow @rosecolored_glasses on Instagram.