Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Eyes Have It: A How-To

After my post on makeup, called “The Eyes Have It,” I was asked if I could write a how-to guide for makeup application. So, I have compiled a step-by-step outline of the classic and smoky eyes, but first, here’s a run-down of the tools you’ll need to help you create these easy looks. 

Tools: Just like a painter, you must invest in brushes. Those little sponges that come with eye shadows just won’t cut it. To get you started, and without paying a pretty penny, Sonia Kashuk for Target carries a wide variety. The six-piece wood set offers brushes for lipstick, concealer, crease, eyeshadow, blush, and powder. I’m not a fan of sets—I like to purchase individual brushes—but this is great and economical way to get started. If you choose to buy individually rather than purchasing a set, your must-haves are brushes for concealer, crease, eyeshadow, a flat for brow bone area, an eyeliner brush, a blush and an all over powder. As you work with brushes and try different techniques, start adding a few more to the collection.

If you decide not to invest in brushes, at least spend the money on an eyelash curler. I never used one until about a year ago and what a difference this little guy makes! My eyelashes are long but flat so even with coats of mascara I never had much definition. I have tried the curled mascara wands to provide lift and those just didn’t work either. An eyelash curler takes your lashes to a new place. They actually widen the look of your eye. If you are one for mascara, blush, and lipgloss only, I promise you this curler is something to add to your routine. It will add just that little extra oomph to your overall look.

Makeup: A cosmetologist can try and convince you that you need to purchase a million different products to get the look they created for you, but that’s really not the case. When I go for a makeover, I generally walk away with about five things that I truly think I will use after I leave the store. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the collection. The items you need, let’s call these essentials, are minimal. My essentials are a great foundation or tinted moisturizer, concealer, an all-over lid primer, a group of shadows, eyeliner, mascara, and blush. I’m not a huge fan of powder. I feel it makes one look cakey and can settle into the small creases of the face. Never a good thing when you are trying to reduce the look of fine lines! However, MAC has a product called Set Powder. It is made up of looser powders that stabilize and fix the makeup. The finish is very sheer which will make your face feel less heavy.

Application: The classic eye is very easy to achieve and takes only two shades. There are times where I use a set of shadows, called pink chocolates, to create this look. I will provide the how-to steps for both.

Classic Eye Two Shadows:

  1. Apply with brush the MAC Paints in Untitled over entire eyelid.

  2. Apply with eyeshadow brush the MAC Satin Finish Eye Shadow in Shroom should be over entire eyelid.

  3. Apply with crease brush the MAC Matte Eye Shadow in Espresso to just the crease of the lid. Make sure you apply all across the crease, not just from the outer corner to the middle of the eye. This will break up the line and effect you are trying to create. Blend well.

  4. Apply with eyeliner brush the MAC Matte Eye Shadow in Carbon along the lash line of the upper eyelid. I do not line the lower lash line but if you feel the need, use a very small amount of the Carbon shadow. If you are not sure about using a eyeliner brush, I recommend using a pencil for the lower lash line until you feel more comfortable. Or, use a couple of different products: the liners by Clinique go on smoother than most and have a velvety feel. Their Black Diamond should provide the same look as the MAC shadow version. I also like the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Black. Like the Clinique pencil, this goes on smooth and provides a creamier look than that of the Carbon shadow.

  5. After using your new eyelash curler, apply two coats of your favorite mascara. My favorite of the moment, well over the past year or so, is the Clinique High Definition Lashes Brush Then Comb mascara in Black. This product received the Elle Genius Award in 2008 and I have to agree. Use the brush side to apply the mascara and the comb to even out any clumps that were created. It helps define your strands more than just the average wand. Again, I rarely apply mascara to my bottom lashes. I heard an expert say that they don’t recommend either because it can start create a raccoon effect as it flacks off through out the day. After applying the top lashes, you will actually apply mascara to your lower lashes as you blink. That’s all you need!

You now have the perfect Classic Eye! If you are interested in adding a little depth to your Classic Eye, try the Pink Chocolate quad from Clinique.

  1. Apply with brush the MAC Paints in Untitled over entire eyelid.

  2. Apply the Rose Pink with a small eyeshadow brush to just the bottom lid of your eye.

  3. Apply the Warm Midtone Raisin to the crease of your lid with the crease brush. Again, apply all across the crease, not just from the outer corner to the middle of the eye.

  4. Apply the Dark Chocolate to the outer corner of the eye using the tip of the crease brush. Make sure you blend well but do not take into the center of your crease.

  5. Apply the Pale Pink with the flat brush to the brow bone just under the eyebrow.

Steps six and seven are the same as five and six for liner and mascara.

And now here are the steps for creating the smoky eye:

Smoky Eye using the Chanel Smoky Eye Quad:

  1. Apply with brush the MAC Paints in Untitled over entire eyelid

  2. Apply with eyeshadow brush the Slate Gray shadow to the lower lid.

  3. Apply with flat brush the Pale Gray to the brow bone just under the eyebrow.

  4. Apply with flat brush the Light Gray over the Pale Gray at the brown bone.

  5. Apply with crease brush the Dark Blue to just the crease of the lid. Make sure you apply all the way across the crease, not just from the outer corner to the middle of the eye. This will break up the line and effect you are trying to create. Blend well.

  6. Apply with eyeliner brush the Dark Blue shadow along the lash line of the upper eyelid. In this case, I do line the lower lash line, but do it finely. Do so with the Dark Blue shadow keeping very close to the lash line. I tend to blow of the access shadow before I apply.

  7. Apply with eyeliner brush the MAC Carbon shadow over the Dark Blue to re-enforce the lash line. Do not use the black on the lower lashes.

  8. After using your new eyelash curler, apply two coats of your favorite mascara. Again, in this case, I use mascara on my lower lashes sparingly. Try dotting the wand along the lashes instead of stroking.

You now have a modified version of the Smoky Eye. You can intensify the colors by adding a little more shadow than you would for daytime or by dabbing your brush in a tiny bit of water. Adding water to your shadows will intensify the look, but do not add water directly to the color. This will allow bacteria to grow. Instead, dab your brushes in water first and wipe off access water before applying to shadows.

To finish your looks, keep your cheeks very neutral. I like MAC Powder Blush in Blushbaby and Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Cupid. Keep your lips neutral as well especially, when wearing the Smoky Eye. I love the look of MAC Lustre Lipstick in Lovin’ It with their Tinted Lipglass in Young Thing dabbed over. It creates the perfect pout! If you want a little more color, use Clinique’s new Vitamin C Lip Smoothie Antioxidant Lip Colour in Absolute Acai. It’s a nice berry without adding too much color.

There are so many things you can do with shadows but this will get you started. Again, investing in the right tools is your first step. If you can’t afford the brands I mentioned, take those colors and look for something in your local drugstore. Most drugstore lines are actually a subsidiary of the ones you find in department stores. You don’t have to spend a lot to get the same effect. Play around. That’s how you become comfortable with broadening your canvas. I’m here to help as well. Post any questions you might have! 

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