The Big Smoke: Three of the best smoky eye looks for summer

A Virtual Beauty Shoot

Summer provides the perfect opportunity to up the ante, so we asked New York-based model Ali Tate Cutler to show us three standout eyeshadow looks that provide a twist on classic black. Recreate and prepare to wow.

In partnership with Urban Decay Cosmetics 


Francesca Haward on the Marie Claire UK cover

(Image credit: Vicky Lawton)

Whatever else you wear, peach-hued eyeshadow will have you bar-ready in seconds. This summer’s eye tip? Focus on the finish. A velvety sheen is both chic and cool, and it’s much easier to apply now that eyeshadow formulas are flexible and silky, rather than chalky and dense. One pre-requisite: “skin should be super-fresh and glowy,” says Global Makeup Artist Danielle Roberts for Urban Decay Cosmetics, who suggests the following steps to get this look down pat:

BASE: Start with Quick Fix Prep Spray, £26, and All Nighter Face Primer, £26, to reduce excess shine. Next, buff in Stay Naked Foundation, £31, using the Diffusing Highlight Brush, £24, until it has blended in with skin, and then create definition using Stay Naked Threesome in Naked, £27, by dusting the highlight shade all over the centre points of the face (bounce it up to the temples so you don’t get an obvious stripe), then sculpting the hollows of the cheeks with the bronzer and the tip of the brush.

EYES: Prime your eyelids from the lash line to your brow-bone with Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, £19.50, dabbing the product so it sinks in but remains slightly tacky to offer a base for the shadow to grip onto. Buff the shade ‘Hacked’ from the Naked Ultraviolet Palette, £43, into the crease and then pat the shade ‘Mind Slip’ all over the lid. Let the brush naturally find your socket and then swipe back and forth in windscreen wiper motions making sure to diffuse the edges. You want lashes to have a wispy, not heavy, finish so swipe Subversion Lash Primer, £18, onto the tips and top off with one coat of Perversion Mascara, £21, kissing the bottom lashes too.

LIPS: Finish with a swipe of Vice Lipstick in Naked, £18, patting the bullet onto the lips for a plump, fresh and dewy look. Set the look with a mist of All Nighter Setting Spray, £26. To activate this, shake the bottle and then apply in a T shape and then an X shape for an evenly covered face.



Summer is a time to get creative with colour but, instead of a rainbow palette, try sticking with one shade. Roberts chose millennial mint - unexpected, yes, but boy does it look good once on.

BASE: Create a sheer make-up base as per the look above, then use All Nighter Setting Spray, £26, to wet your Urban Decay Cosmetics Large Powder Brush, £26, and dip it into the highlight shade of the Stay Naked Threesome in Naked, £27, palette. Sweep across your brow-bone and connect it down to your cheekbones to fake a Hollywood glow. Taking the bronze shade, warm up your skin and add a light dimension to the cheeks. Finish with a spritz of All Nighter Setting Spray, £26.

EYES: Prime eyelids with Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, £19.50, then buff pearly 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Yeyo, £16, all over the lid to create a solid base and use your finger to blend. From the Naked Ultraviolet Palette, £43, sweep the shade ‘Lucid’ all over to glaze the lid  for a duo chrome pop of colour. Then use your ring finger to blend (the oils in your skin will help to bring out the high shine texture). Press the colour into the lash line to intensify. Work Subversion Lash Primer, £18, into the eyelashes and top off with a coat of Perversion Mascara, £21, wiggling the brush into the root to build volume at the base and then fan out the corner lashes.

LIPS: Pat Vice Lipstick in Backtalk, £18, onto the lips for solid colour then tap with your ring finger to create a feathered look around the edges.



Smoky eyes are elegant, mysterious and face-lifting, but can also be unnecessarily complicated to create. Roberts' technique involves easy-to-use products and ditches perfection for a more rock chick look.

EYES: Start off with a cream base, such as the Urban Decay Cosmetics Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original, £19.50, to encourage anything you apply on top to stay put and buff the 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Vice, £16, all over the lid. Really scribble the product on and blend out with your ring finger to create a solid base of colour. Next, sweep the shade ‘Euphoric’ from the Naked Ultraviolet Palette, £43, all over the lid, smoke out the outer corner, and then smudge the lower lash line with the shade ‘Digital’. Blend to diffuse the colours so the textures look grungy and lived in. Then take the 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Perversion, £16, and run this along your upper lash line, making sure you are getting between the lashes for a full look. Waterline your eyes with the pencil too so they look really inky. Using the pencil brush, smoke out the bottom liner so it looks really lived in. Work the Subversion Lash Primer, £18 into the eyelashes and top off with a few coats of the Perversion Mascara, £21, to really build up volume.

LIPS: Swipe lips with Hifi Shine Ultra Cushion Gloss in Midnight Cowgirl, £16, for a high shine look. For the gloss, turn the applicator on the side so you can feather off the border line so there are no harsh glossy edges. Set the makeup by misting All Nighter Setting Spray, £26, evenly across your face.



Model Ali Tate at MiLK

Concept, Director Benjamin Kaufmann

Beauty and Style Director Lisa Oxenham

Video Capture and Edit by Nick Tree

Global Make-up Artist Danielle Roberts for Urban Decay Cosmetics

Hairstylist Patrick Wilson at The Wall Group

Set Photographer Sky Cutler

Retoucher Ivan Mihailov

Production Assistant Sarah Barnes

Look 1:

Necklace Maison Irem

Look 3:

Dress Rebecca Minkoff

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