Work Smart, Not Hard: How to Cheat the Smokey Eye

BY JENNY JUNG

Despite the high-impact, smokey eyes are far from complicated to create. Here’s a fool-proof three-step guide to take your look to new heights.

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AUG 12 - 2022

A three step guide to create the most effortless smokey eye in just ten minutes.

I love smokey eyes. They don’t have to be precise to look great and you don’t need to worry about perfecting a wing liner. Even though most people reserve the smokey eye for night time festivities, it has quickly become one of my favourite day-to-day makeup looks.

Over the years, I have experimented with different ways to make the smokey eye easier and faster to achieve. During this process, I’ve realised that the smokey eye is a fantastic option for when you can’t be bothered but you still want to make an impact with your makeup.

Today I will be sharing my tried and true three step guide to create the most beautiful smokey eye: line, smudge and sweep!

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'@narssissist Mambo Eyeliner, $40.

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'@hungvanngo for Adria Arjona.

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Step One: Line

Start out by lining your upper and lower lash lines with a black (or brown) pencil or gel liner. When lining your eyes, get close to your lashes. Don’t worry too much about getting it precise as we are only getting ready for the next step.

Depending on your skin type, you may need to apply an eyeshadow base or primer. However, even though I usually suffer from insane creasing, I find that I can omit the primer for this particular look. This is because eyeliners provide a strong foundation for any powder eyeshadows that I apply on top.

For this step I recommend the Nudestix Magnetic Matte Eye Colour Pencils. They come in a range of delectable browns and a highly pigmented black, too! The Magnetic Eye Colour Pencils are an elevated chubby stick formula with insane coverage and longevity.

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'@emrata.

Step Two: Smudge

For this step, a short shader or medium pencil brush will be your best option as we will need to smudge out the eyeliner from step one. You don’t want to use a brush that is too fluffy as you don’t want to end up looking like a panda! On the other hand, using a brush that is too small, or too tightly packed, will only make your life more difficult.

I love playing around with the depth of smokey eyes depending on my mood. While the traditional smokey eye brings out the darkness into the crease, feel free to keep the smoke close to your lashes if that’s more comfortable for you. This will require adjusting the amount of eyeliner you apply in step one. However, the smokiness can also be amended to your liking during the smudging process.

If you find that you have applied too much, you need not panic - it just means less layering! Simply continue to pat and blend in small motions until you get a semi-smooth edge. It’s important that you use an eyeliner that is forgiving. This means that you’re better off using creamier products that allow you some time to play around before it sets. The aforementioned Nudestix Magnetic Eye Pencils in step one has the most amazing blendability!

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'@hungvanngo for Lily James

Step Three: Sweep

Lastly, take your favourite brown eyeshadow and sweep it right on top of the smudged liner. Don’t forget to bring it all around the edges to disguise any patchiness and you will be left with a seamless blend.

Use your favourite fluffy blending brush for this step. This is your time to work on the blend. Don’t stress if you’re a makeup rookie, it doesn’t have to be perfect or precise. Afterall, the smokey eye is all about that effortless grunge vibe.

If you aren’t sure what shade of brown to use, the golden rule is to use a shade that is three tones deeper than your bronzer. However, this is not the only way to know what shade will suit you best. For example, if you have green or brown eyes, using maroons or burgundy browns will compliment your eyes beautifully. On the other hand, blue eyes will benefit from mauvey brown tones! The NARS High Pigment Longwear Pencil in the shade ‘Mambo’ has a unique burgundy undertone that is bound to compliment the bluest and the deepest of eyes.

Whenever I think of smokey eyes, I always think of Julianne Moore. If you need smokey eye inspiration, hit up @hungvanngo on IG for the most stunning smokey looks on the most gorgeous Julianne Moore!

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'@hunvanngo for Julianne Moor.

Smokey Eye 2.0

Don’t be discouraged by the smokey eye aesthetic that is often very intense. If you’re looking for a smokey look that’s soft and sultry, using a brown eyeliner swept over with your bronzer can deliver the same kind of impact without the fierce quality of a pitch black liner.

On the hunt for the perfect milk chocolate brown pencil? Check out the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in the shade ‘Whiskey.’ It is one of the few brown eyeliners on the market that is a true medium neutral brown. Otherwise, the NARS High Pigment Longwear Eyeliner in the shade 'Mambo' is a maroon brown that makes your eyes pop!

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NARS 'Mambo' High Pigment Longwear Eyeliner, NZD$40.

A Pop of Shimmer

I also love using shimmery shades on top of step one and two to add texture to the eyes. Using shimmery shades on top of a black base is always going to amplify the pigment and bring out the reflective tones of the shimmer shadow. Furthermore, shimmers are much easier to blend than matte eyeshadows! You can cheat your way into achieving that flawless, professional look, especially if the eyeliner is giving you a hard time with blending.

Keep an eye out for the New Anastasia Beverly Hills Nouveau Palette! Featuring stunning shimmers and buttery matte shadows, it’s a neutral palette with a twist. The shades ‘Belle,’ ‘Lily’ and ‘Hope’ in particular are perfect for topping off your smudged black or brown liner to achieve that professional, glimmering smokey eye- Just like the one you see below!

Check out the Nouveau Palette here.
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'@narsissist showing off the shimmery smokey eye!

Conclusion:

Wearing masks has made it difficult to explore exciting makeup trends and styles. However, our eyes are becoming the main feature now that lipsticks have taken the backseat. Smokey eyes are very much the easiest way to show creative expression so I encourage you to experiment with confidence!

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