As a working makeup artist in Los Angeles, I do a lot of red carpet, special event, and photo shoot makeup. At least 90% of my clients are still asking for that basic smoky eye. It seems like it will never go out of style. And honestly, even though my clients all look different (different skin color, eye color, eye shape, etc.), I most always use the same colors, tools, and techniques to give them that sexy, smoky eye that they desire. This is one of the most important how-to’s you will ever read. Here is how you can achieve that basic smoky eye that all the celebs are and will be rockin’ for years to come!
Step 1: Eye primers are a relatively new product, but once you start to use it and see the results, you will never forget to apply it again. Your shadows will not only apply smoother, but will last all day and night. If you are a tranquil sleeper, you will wake up with your eyes still completely in tact and although, I wouldn’t make a habit of doing that, it is an interesting experiment. Apply a shadow primer, like Luminizing Eye Primer by Bodyography, all over the eyelids to prep the eyes for color application and encourage longer wear. * Tip: Also apply an eye cream under the eyes, like all-natural Rose Eye Cream from www.ClearandSmoothSkin.com to brighten, hydrate, and tighten fine lines.
Step 2: After your primer is blended smooth, use a natural hair lid brush, like the crease brush from www.Jordanessentials.com, to apply a soft iridescent, neutral eye shadow, such as www.HerbsofGrace.com loose mineral eye shadow in Oatstraw, to your entire eyelid and under the brow for highlight. Also, a good rule of thumb is ‘Everything you do on top, also do on the bottom.’ Taking this champagne color under the eye as well with the same brush will give the eye balance. And don’t worry, you can’t mess this up. You can really pile this natural base and highlight color on without over doing it.
Step 3: Just on the ball of the eye (where the eye protrudes), apply a mid tone shadow in a neutral plumy brown, like MAC Shadow in Haux. Use a smaller shadow brush, like Kevyn Aucoin’s Small Eyeshadow Brush, and apply color exactly on the lid, also taking the color lightly under the eyes again with the same brush. This will not only give the eye balance, but also add a little more drama. Apply lightly at first and add more as needed until you get your desired color and depth.
Step 4: Three things to remember when applying the dark crease color- be patient, be precise, and blend. This is the hardest part so allow yourself some time for this step. Lightly and softly begin to apply an opaque black color, like Herbs of Grace eye shadow in Nightshade, to form your smoky crease. Use the natural hair crease brush, to obtain the cleanest application and smoothest blending. Using a more precise angle brush, like Jordan Essential’s Eye Liner Brush, also bring the darker shadow under the bottom lashes to emphasize that sexy dramatic look. Be careful this time not to over do the black color under the eyes. It’s really easy to accidentally give yourself those dreaded raccoon eyes with this dark color.
Step 5: Now we are on to the eye liner. I know this seems like a lot of steps, but once you have it down, you will be able to do it with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back (well one hand at least). I have said it before, and I will say it again, black gel liner is the greatest invention since, well, I don’t know what. It’s just fabulous and has transformed the look and application of the smoky eye. Using a smooth black gel liner, like Mac’s Creme Pot Smudge Proof Liner in Black, gently trace around the entire inside edges of your eyes (the water line). Retrace if needed for more intensity. Then apply the liner softly on the top lid as close to lash line as possible, directing the line upwards toward the end of the eye. Blend out with the angle brush angling upwards at the end of the eye creating that cat’s eye effect. Keep adding and blending the liner until you achieve to your desired smokiness and sexy cat eye. But be quick because once this liner dries, there is no moving it around.
Don’t forget to curl your lashes and apply a coat or three of lengthening and thickening mascara, like Jordan Cosmetics Black Fiber Mascara, www.anessentialyou.com Long, thick, fluffy lashes will perfect this smoky eye look. Just add a bit of sheer gloss and you will be red carpet ready!
Jenny Karl owns and runs Jenny Karl Hair and Makeup Agency based in Los Angeles. The agency has a highly trained team of hair and makeup artists, specializing in Airbrush Foundation, Print, Film, Television, Beauty, Fashion, Special Event, Mens and Ethnic hair and makeup.