My “3-minute smoky eye” is pretty basic: sweep the lighter shade across the entire eyelid up to the crease, blending upwards and out, then layer the darker shade on top close to the lash line. Use the dark shade to also line the bottom of the eye. Don’t be afraid to be more heavy-handed than usual – the look works better when it’s a little bit messy, rather than precise. Some people are wizards at lining their lower lash rims with liner or kohl, but for me the stuff tends to end up on my contacts and it’s altogether too much bother. When working with dark eyeshadow, be careful about flecks ending up on your cheeks – not a good look. Make-up professionals often dust extra translucent powder under the eyes to catch fly-away specks and then brush it off after everything else is done. A simpler approach is to place a napkin right under your eye while you’re working.
Because the eyes are the focal point for this look, I keep the rest pretty basic. A very light dusting of blush and some pale lipgloss. I love the “nude lip” look, but I find in works best on medium to darker skin tones – I tend to look more dead than sexy. So a light pink or caramel is a good alternative.
The basic approach is very similar to the “babydoll” look. Instead of pink shadow, go with a shade close to your natural complexion; you want a clean, almost-no-make-up feel. Highlight the brow bone and the inner corners of the eyes with an even lighter, shimmery shadow, then pile on the liner. Here is where you can really perfect your cat’s-eye manoeuvre. Then, of course, add the mandatory two (or three) coats of mascara.
Finish off with some blush (not too heavy) and – the pièce de résistance – red lipstick. The key is precision. Ideally, use a lip liner to line the contours of the lip, then go over the entire lip to create a base. Then pick a red lipstick that suits your complexion (I’m wearing MAC’s Lady Bug). I don’t really have any tips for that except … try, try, and try some more on, until you find one that doesn’t make you feel like a clown. [Of course, if you’re already comfortable wearing red lipstick, this will be a breeze for you.] After applying the lipstick, blot with a tissue, wait and then re-apply. This will help give the lipstick staying power. Some people also (lightly) blot their lips with powder before applying lipstick for the second time, but it’s really up to you. The reality of red lipstick is that you will probably need to do a mirror-check and re-apply at some point in the evening anyway.