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How and Why to Create a Smoky Eye

Whether for evening, by day, or for pictures, no makeup look makes a statement quite like a smoky eye. Unlike the red lip or thick brows of yesterday, smoky eyes can look great on every woman, regardless of skin color, bone structure, or face shape. So here is how to heat things up by creating a smoky eye!

Step 1: Do the Prep

Start with a clean face and prep your eye area with moisturizing primer. Use a makeup brush or sponge or your finger to sweep the product across your entire eyelid, from lash line to eyebrows, as well as over the skin immediately beneath and beside your eyes, as these areas will need coverage, too. Primer helps condition your skin, keeps eye shadow and other products from melting into your eyes or skin over time, and creates a nice, smooth base for the other pigments to sit on.

Step 2: Let There Be Light!

Once primer is dry (it takes about a minute or two), apply a light-colored, shimmery eye shadow from the lash line to the brow bone. Find a color that suits your skin tone, though just a bit lighter than your skin; champagne, beige, blush, tan, or icy shades will do the job well for most women and occasions. For an edgier look, try a deep pink, pale green, or pastel purple, and then get ready to rock on!

Step 3: Deep Cover

Now add the color that will make the eyes actually look smoky: sweep on eye shadow in traditional black, or dark browns like mocha or espresso, for a versatile night or day face. Violets, aqua blues, and sage greens can also work in a more artistic environment, as long as the color is deeper and darker than the base hue.

Use an eye shadow brush to cover the lash line, then blend upward with smooth, short strokes. For a soft look, blend the color about halfway to the crease of the eye. For a harder, edgier appearance, don’t blend; keep it thick and concentrated right around the lash line.

For the ever-popular cat-eye look – which really helps widen tight or small eyes – use your dark shadow to create a Pac-Man mouth or sideways V at the corners of each eyes. Simply use your trusty brush to take the shadow across the lash line to the corner of the eye and then up into the crease of the eye. Don’t draw long lines with the shadow; stop about ¼ of the way across the eye and then blend to soften the look

Step 4: Line ‘Em Up

Use an eye pencil in the same deep hue as your shadow to line the upper and lower lids. Cover the entire upper lash line, but only use a few strokes near the outer edge and middle of the lower eye for a flirty, feminine appeal. Using pencil will allow you to smudge the pigment without smearing it, contributing to that smoky look. If you’re going for a punk-rock or hardcore profile, line the entire eye in thick, dark color and consider using a liquid liner (only for the very experienced, though!).

Optional Steps: Make It POP!

For extra oomph, you can apply highlight colors like pale peach, shimmering taupe, or plain white to the brow bones; this will help open up a small face and give the impression of larger or wider-set eyes. You can also top off your dark-colored shadow with an even deeper one to give your eyes extra dimension.

Step 5: Lash Work

To finish off your smoky eye, curl your lashes and apply at least 2 coats of mascara (more is eve better) or a set of false lashes. Make sure to apply mascara from root to tip, concentrating more on the roots than the ends, and to allow coats or glue to dry thoroughly before adding the next layer or heading out for the night. (Tip: Wiggle the applicator at the base of your lashes to get more product on there.)

And that’s all there is to it! Brush on a bit of blush and a bit of sheer or neutral lip color, and you’ve got a look that both catches eyes and makes yours seem like lighthouse beacons, just calling the boys in! Creating a smoky eye is definitely not for makeup beginners, but it’s well worth it. So practice, practice, practice!

Take care of yourselves,


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