Beauty How-To: The Smoky Eye

There is nothing sexier than a smokey eye. Done right, this come-hither look can take you from the office to the red carpet just by changing shades. Deeply set silvers and plums make for a vixonish night on the town, while a mixture of nudes and toupes from 9 to 5 might score you an early promotion.

Prep the Area:
When we want staying power, we wipe some of our concealer or foundation across lids for a smoother canvas. But plenty of products out there, like Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, is designed to grip your eye shadow all day long.
Dust loose powder under the lids. Not only will this say buh-bye to bags, but the excess shadow that gets dropped from lashes will disappear with the brush of your fingers.

Frame Your Eyes:
Start with a soft, smudgy dark liner like Elizabeth Arden’s Smoky Black Powder Pencil. Staying as close to the lash lines as possible, sweep the liner across upper and lower lids. Can keep a steady hand? No problem, just use shorter, dash-like strokes. Retouch the top lid by thickening the line at the outer corner of your eyes, and for a very Angelina Jolie effect flick the pencil upwards a the corner to create a cat’s eye.

Highlight:
Sultry is one thing; looking like you’ve been punched in the face is another. The goal is sexy, not snookie. Sweep a light shimmering shade, like MAC Cosmetics eye shadow in shroom, from lid to brow bone to keep eyes bright. If you are working with a grey palette, try a platinum shadow like this Bare Minerals glimmer in pearl luster.

Add a Second Coat:
Layer, layer, layer. The key to the smokey eye is multi-dimension. Blend a mid-tone grey shadow from lid to crease until the color peaks through your lashes when your eye is opened.

Go Deep:
We hope you were one of those kids who could color inside of the lines, because the next step is using a dark, smudgy shadow over the lid while staying inside of the crease to avoid caking. Try a highly pigmented color like MAC’s Black Tie shimmery shadow, and blend it with your fingers. The heat and pad of your tips will meld the pigments together better than a brush.

Extend the Smoky Look:
To enhance your smoky eyes, use a sponge eye shadow applicator or liner brush to add a narrow line of dark shadow just below the lower lash line. Avoid going goth by keeping the line thin and using a softer grey color on fair skin.

Heighten the Drama:
The sexy finish comes in the form of the blackest black mascara. DiorShow elongates, darkens, and curls. Purrrrfect.

Shorten the Decision-Making:
If you still aren’t convinced of the smokey eye’s style stability, check out Chanel’s Smoky Eye wet/dry shadow quad in traditional gray and black tones. It has all of the tools of a pro, while Stila makes a talking compact that talks you through the smokey eye process.

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