A Soft Smokey Eye
Style With 'Just A Little' Edge
Beautiful and always ready to go, the soft smokey eye makeup style is great for those of us who want just a little of that edgy feel to our makeup.
When it comes to any smokey eye, the degree of edge or drama really is up to you.
Your choice of palette, the sequence of color layers (lid, crease, highlight), thickness of lines, creating a design focal point. In this case, by defining your lips with a softer shade (nude, and peach are very popular right now), you let the eye makeup dominate the over all look and design.
Here is your step by step guide to a gorgeous, smoldering, soft smokey eye that is sure to bring sparkle to your style.
Gather the makeup and tools.
By the way, this style can work well for anyone.
A soft smokey eye is probably my official 'go to', special event makeup and it certainly works for the holiday party season. And, by the way, you don't have to be a twenty or thirty something to pull it off.
Three shades; 1.DEEP, 2. MEDIUM and 3.HIGHLIGHT
This corresponds with the photo below and the specific makeup products that I used. I have used part of my present arsenal of shadows incorporating Clarin's Enchanted Quartet for my Soft Smokey Holiday Makeup Palette brown (2.)and metallic coppery gold (3.) plus MAC's Shale (1.).
On trend lately is more of a soft smokey using a softer, warmer palette of golds, browns and plums. (*If you really want to be on trend with your color choices, cosmetic companies launch special holiday palettes every year. Usually, you will get a metallic with a couple of other shadow shades.)
Example Soft Smokey Eye Makeup, Palette and Tools
You can have it all! You can do it all!.
A palette I think worth considering for this season, actually for any season (and is on my wish list:-) ?
The totally AWESOME, 12 (shadow plus eye primer), mother of all gorgeous neutrals and more palette Urban Decay Naked2
Create many shadow styles from soft smokey to a rock n' roll smokey eye, to a mod graphic eye, to your extremely classic, sophisticated precision, eye makeup style.
Many of the products you and product suggestions can be found on my best makeup products page.
ii) PENCIL EYELINER
The correct application of this makeup pencil is key to the signature style of the smokey eye (and your Holiday makeup 'jet set' edge:-). A soft, smudge-worthy, black eye pencil will make the ideal choice.
I use one suggested by a MAC makeup artist, that is a "true black" (that stays black no matter what other colors are in the mix ). It's part of their Eye Kohl Pencil collection and called Feline (4. in my palette above).
iii) BRUSHES & TOOLS
- Medium Eyeshadow (6.)
- Small Smudge or Blender (5.)
- Large Soft Eyeshadow Blender (7.)
- Angled Small Eyeliner Brush (8.-a thin alternative to thick shadow under lower lash line and a handy brush to have anyway)
- Blush Brush (10.)
(The ones you see in my collection are MAC Medium Eyeshadow Brush, MAC Small Angle Liner and Bobbi Brown Eye Blenders small and large).
- Eyelash Curler
Whether you opt for prestige or budget brand, choose the blackest mascara you can find. Dior Diorshow or Maybelline Great Lash are two good choices.
A soft glow is the goal. This year, NARS Zen Powder Blush (matte) will replace my Bronzer (applied with my Bobbi Brown Blush Brush (10.). And, for full effect, I will skip the creme blush and opt for NARS The Multiple (Multi Purpose Stick) in Antibes (icy lilac pink to highlight cheekbones and provide balance to the warm tone of Zen).
Lots of great blush options out there; NARS as mentioned, Tarte Amazonian Clay, Stila, Bobbi Brown, Benefit etc.. LOTS!
Neutral but not colorless. Lips should always have some definition with a color statement, even if it's low key). I love glossy nude shades paired with a Dramatic Smokey Eye and have opted to use MAC Oak Pencil Lip Liner a nude shade) (12.), and paired it with MAC Lip Glass Love Nectar (13. a glossy peach with a little shimmer - a peach lip is also popular this season).
Soft Smokey Eye - Start With Black Eye Pencil
Following your foundation phase (remembering less is more AND just enough to even out the skin tone, deal with imperfections, minimize shine and create a base to add color to, refresher)...
Start your eye makeup with the black eye pencil. As I said, this step is the most critical to the signature look of a smokey eye.
Although the line is thicker, it is still very tight to the upper lash line, allowing no gaps or skin to show through at the lashes.
I start my line two thirds from the outer corner of my eye, and with angled thick strokes work my way to the outer corner (a lining strategy to avoid the appearance of close set eyes). Your blender brush will ensure all gaps and a smudgy line, with horizontal sweeping back and forth along the lash and liner path.
The black pencil is also used as a finishing touch, along the lower water line (and the upper if you wish). For this softer version of the smokey eye, we skip using black under the lash line and replace it with one of the other shadow shades.
Soft Smokey Eye -
Eyeshadow shades to upper lid and lower lash line.
Illustration of Smokey Eye Makeup Application ©beauty-and-makeup-tips.com
1. DEEPEST SHADE
With your medium eyeshadow brush, apply the deepest shade of your three eyeshadows. Start at just under your crease line using a horizontal sweeping motion and then move this action down toward your lash line, blending into the black pencil liner at your lash line.
By starting at the crease line, you will maintain a better sense of the pure color before it blends into the black.
2. MEDIUM SHADE
Wipe your brush off on a tissue, and then take your medium shade to work and blend the crease zone. The application should overlap and blend into the upper range of your deepest shade.
3. HIGHLIGHT SHADE
Again, wipe your medium eyeshadow brush off on a tissue, then select your highlight shade. Work along the brow bone (not into your eye brows) and down into the crease.
Complete the soft smokey eye effect by taking your large blender brush to softly further blend the entire upper lid zone.
To maintain a really tidy, shadow dust free, finish, try placing a folded tissue under your lower lash line as you work the upper lid. This is a great trick for avoiding shadow dust under your eyes and on your cheeks and will help create a professional finish.
UNDER THE LOWER LASH LINE
You can opt to choose the medium or deepest shade. It just depends on the level of dramatic definition you would prefer.
Since I am fair skinned, blonde and middle-aged, I wanted a softer finish. I opted for the medium shade, applied under my lash line using the small angled liner (8.) and then blended that shade with the small blender brush (5.).
I then added the highlight shade .3 to the inner corner of my eye and used the blender brush to work and blend the inner third of my lower lash line.
Finish your lower water line (inner rim), and upper if you wish, using the black pencil. An alternative shade in gray or brown would further soften this style (experiment!). This is the signature detail of any smokey eye style.
Soft Smokey Eye - Mascara
Always use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara and do it with your full focus!
A great technique for a more a natural round curl comes from Billy B top pro makeup artist:
Position the curler close to your upper lash line base and GENTLEY squeeze. Then release and slide the curler to a mid lash position and GENTLEY squeeze. Voila! A big round bend.
Take a volume oriented black mascara and start at your eyelash tips, angling the mascara wand to paint the tips of as many as you can.
Then dip your wand into the tube again and begin your application, gripping the base of your lashes with your mascara wand in a horizontal position.
Pull the wand through your lashes, all the way through your tips, using a wiggling motion. This motion helps grip as many lashes as possible for a maximum mascara application.
Repeat to desired finish.
It's best to work your lashes as you go, separating and placing them etc. while they are wet and malleable. Then use a lash comb or brush (or recycle and clean a wand from a finished mascara) to finish off.
Soft Smokey Eye - QTip Clean Up Of Smokey Eye Zone
With a QTip clean up mascara specs, missed eyeshadow dust, out of zone shadow placement (avoid winged eyes for the softer smokey eye look) and that stuff that collects in the corner of your eyes.
Soft Smokey Eye - Cheeks & Glow
Using a blush brush (10.) gather color from your chosen blush, dab off some of the color pigment on a tissue if using powder like I did.
Begin your sweep at central cheek, moving along your cheek towards your ear.
Give your forehead and chin a touch of color too.
With Zen and it's natural looking finish, I also placed it on the sides of my forehead, under my chin, on my décolletage, and the tip of my nose. This creates visual flow for the observers eye.
Use clean middle and ring finger pads to soften the edges of your blush placement, gently rubbing in a circular motion.
You could use a different shade of blush with a little more punch at the apple of your cheek, to create a more natural multi tonal blush.
I opted for NARS Multi Purpose Stick in Antibes (11.) because I wanted to really counter the brown warm tone of the Zen at the apples of my cheeks, and highlight the cheekbone area. The effect is soft, creates a subtle glow and compliments the natural drama of a smokey eye style.
I used my fingers to place and blend the Multi Purpose Stick at the apples of my cheeks and along the tops of my cheeks blending downwards a touch.
Soft Smokey Eye - Lips
Grab you nude lip liner, ensure that it is sharp for a precision application, and line your lips. For some lip lining strategies click here.
Soften the line with a lip liner brush.
Apply some lip balm and then apply your lipstick, or gloss as I did. Choosing a softer shade doesn't mean void of color. Nudes and lower key shades just compliment the smokey eye design beautifully.
Blot any excess into a tissue (getting a greeting from a friend with goopy lips is typically not enjoyed:-).
With special events or holiday season parties, gatherings of any kind, there is a lot of kissing and eating SO bring your lip makeup for reapplications (they will be inevitable).
For special events, you can never go wrong with a smokey eye style, soft or edgy. Remember to put your own custom stamp on this style with palette choices and degree of dramatic edge to suit your unique look and personal style.