Here's everyone's favourite make-up look, decoded...
It’s hard to pinpoint when my love of a smokey eye started, but I’m pretty sure it’s got a lot to do with Sandy from Grease. That bit when she turns up at the graduation to rescue Danny right before he ’turns jock’ to win her over embedded itself in my impressionable young mind for all the right reasons – yes, I know the ‘change yourself for a man’ message is dubious, but to me it just screamed: ‘look at the transformative power of make-up!’ Sandy looked saucy. Sandy also, more importantly, looked like she felt saucy.
Such is the power of the smokey eye – it channels the insouciant sexiness of the look’s pioneer, Brigitte Bardot, and all her be-kohled successors, making the wearer feel at once a little bit glamorous and a little bit rebellious. It’s therefore unsurprisingly a red carpet favourite, where glittering gowns are offset by the hint of punk that a lick of smoke lends the wearer; google Debbie Harry circa Heart of Glass era and you’ll see her wearing a slinky dress with wild hair and a diffused rim of black around her eyes at all times, perfectly demonstrating the innate coolness of a smokey eye/polished outfit combo.
Onto how to do it… For a blow by blow, watch the video – it outlines the nuts and bolts of a smokey eye that would look good during the day or at night. Once you’ve got the basic steps down, you can play with it by amping up the kohl element, winging it out, or even changing the colour to a deep emerald or amethyst. Provided you stick to the rules outlined below, you can’t go wrong.
For some added smoke a kohl liner is the way to go. To find one that suits you (and your budget) tell Powder your biggest liner bugbears and they’ll match you up with one that won’t disappoint.
How Never To Mess Up A Smokey Eye
1) Blend, blend, blend. And then blend some more. Seriously: you cannot overdo the blending thing – just do it with a clean brush or cotton bud in lots of little circles and back and forth motions to make sure it’s all seamless.
2) Don’t go too close to your brow with dark shadow – that’s when things slip out of effortless and into drag queen (a look the beauty desk applaud, but don’t want to sport on a day-to-day basis). Follow the step in the video and just nestle the shadow in your crease line and then blend for the right ‘height’.
3) Remember to graduate the intensity. Sounds elementary, but the rule of thumb where the bit closest to your eyeball is darkest with the shadow becoming lighter around the rim of kohl is the easiest – and most foolproof – way to wear a smokey eye.