A classic smokey eye is one look that never goes out of style.
A classic smokey eye usually consists of shades of black, taupe, brown, and grey, with the black all sooted out from the lines of the eye. It is often paired with a subtle cheek and brow and nude lip, as the eyes are the focal point. The key to a classic smokey eye is not even the colors in my opinion, it is the technique. I prefer any type of smokey eye to be blended well and look a bit lived in, so that you do not go into the dated territory. Google Image ‘smokey eye’ and you will know what I am talking about. Unless that is truly the look you are going for, which is fine!
This look is actually quite simple to do, as the main point is to blend and blend. Here I used four shadow colors, one liner, and of course, plenty of black mascara. The shadows are from the NARS Narcissist palette, which is absolutely beautiful. The four shadows I used are Madrague I (matte cream), Madrague II (matte caramel), Bali (matte greyish, brown taupe), and Pandora II (matte black).
I started with my eyes first, before applying base, concealer, blush, etc. This is so my face would be easy to clean if bits of shadow and liner dropped onto my face. I did apply some concealer (Marc Jacobs Remedy Concealer Pen in Wake-Up Call) and a light dusting of powder (Chanel Poudre Universelle in #20) onto my eyes for a base. After prepping my eye, I dusted and patted Madrague II, the light, matte caramel, onto my lids, following the shape of my eye and bringing it out just above the socket line. I used the wonderful MAC #217 Brush for this step (if there is one eye shadow brush you should own, it is this one). Using the same brush, I lightly picked up some of the Bali shadow, the matte greyish, brown taupe. Just a bit at a time, I started blending it out at the outer corner of my socket line, bringing it in towards the inner corner, stopping just past the iris. A good tip is to open your eyes and look straight ahead into a mirror to get a sense of the shape of your eye, as well as what you want to create with the shadows.
After getting it to the depth and intensity I wanted, I used the fluffy Sephora Pro Crease Brush #10 to blend the Madrague II and Bali shades. I then used just a tiny bit of the Madrague I, the matte cream, over the brow bone and along the socket line to blend and soften the lines. Another tip so the look does not look too dated – use a cautioned hand or skip altogether a shimmery highlighter shadow that is often put on the brow bone and inner corner of the eye.
Here is where the black liner and shadow come in. Using L’Oréal Smoldering Eyeliner in Black, I lined the top of my eye, as close as I could get to my lash line. It is fine if it is not a perfect line, as you will smudge it. The key is to fill in the gap between your lash line and the liner. No gap please! I also lined the upper and lower water lines, as well as the bottom of my eye. I then smudged the liner with a small smudge brush (my favorite, Sephora Classic Smduge Brush #70). Using the same smudge brush, I picked up the tiniest amount of the matte black shadow, Pandora II, and smudged that into the black liner, all around my eye as well. I concentrated the black color at the outer corner of my eye, using the #217 brush to blend and blend that out.
I then applied a bit more Bali, Madrgue II, and Pandora II to my liking, even using my barely touched Sonia Kaschuk Domed Brush #20 to soot out and blend. I also learned that I should use this brush more, as it is pretty useful! I topped off the look with a good amount of mascara, using Maybelline Full N’ Soft in Very Black. It is a great drugstore mascara, and I have been reaching for it more often that not lately – no clumps, malleable formula, great brush, and easy to remove. I skipped curling my lashes only because I have my lashes permed, which is a completely separate post in itself.
Et voilà! The finished look. I paired the eyes with a nude lip using Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo in No° 6. Brows were filled in only in sparse spots with a brow pencil (Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette) and brushed into place with Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. My base here is Vitalumière Aqua in Beige Rose #22, as I chose to use a light foundation for a sheer look. If it were for the evening or you wanted to amplify the look, you could go with a more matte, full coverage foundation. Any spots were concealed with Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2. I added a bit of color to my temples, all around the jawline, and cheekbones with Chanel Les Beiges powder in #20, and did a very light peachy pink for the cheeks with NARS Blush in Sex Appeal.
What is great about this look is that many of you might already have the eye shadow colors I used and a black liner in your kit. Again, this look is more about technique (blending), so you can really have fun with different color, texture, and intensity spectrums outside of the classic smokey eye. A navy, emerald, brown, or bronze range come to mind, so the sky is the limit.