Discover how to wear a black smoky eye without looking like a raccoon
We’ve all seen it: the over-the-top, harsh, jet-black smoky eye that makes the wearer appear like a not-so-chic—not to mention, less-than-pretty—raccoon. And during the day (ahem, Kris Kardashian) nonetheless! But the truth is, it’s just as easy to wear black makeup in a beautiful and restrained or edgy and dramatic way as it is to pile it on without abandon until your eyes disappear. “Anyone can wear a [black smoky eye,]” says Kim Soane, Bobbi Brown’s director of global artistry. “You can go from a smudged line to a full, dark smoked-out eye; a smoky eye can be just the top eyelid or the top and bottom line. You can pair it with a simple ‘no makeup’ look or a more polished face.”
This month the beauty brand celebrates the staple shade with its new Choose Your Black Collection, comprised of jet-black liner options ranging from a smudge-able kohl pencil to a 12-hour wear gel and a limited-edition Kohl Cake Liner that goes on wet or dry with the Smokey Eye Liner Brush. Says Soane, “Fall and holiday season is a great time to create a polished look or be a bit more dramatic with your makeup.” It’s been especially popular in an ultra classic sense on red carpets like on Ginnifer Goodwin and Portia de Rossi at the Emmys.
For daytime wear (or for extremely fair complexions), Soane says brown and gray shades may be preferred, but for a special event or nighttime, feel free to amp up the black. “A simple approach is to layer shadow colors”—start with a light overall shadow, then layer a soft gray and a third deeper gray or black shade on top, before adding black liner. “This layering technique will help you slowly build the drama of the eye and make the shadows easier to blend.” And while matte powder shadows create depth of color, they can be difficult to blend, in which case try a shimmer or cream shadow on top. When applying liner, “make sure it’s thicker along the top lash line versus the bottom lash line. If the bottom is thicker and stronger, it will only make you look tired,” says the beauty guru.
Perhaps the most critical step actually comes after applying the eye makeup, according to Soane. “Clean up any fallen shadow, then apply an under-eye corrector or concealer—such as Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit or Corrector—to help brighten your under eye.” It’s all about adjusting the look to accentuate or define your particular features, not just about wearing a trend despite your age appropriateness. “It’s a youthful, fun, dramatic look, but the trick is making sure you keep it lifted and bright [with the under-eye corrector]. Also, wear a pale pink blush to keep the look pretty and balanced.”