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Eye Makeup Ideas - Techniques for Natural, Smoky, and Dramatic Looks

Dramatic eye makeup Natural Eye Makeup

To enhance your natural beauty, keep your makeup light and simple. Consider using colors that compliment your hair color:

Brown or black hair - mochas and chocolate browns

Blonde hair - taupes, creams, and pale pinks

Auburn or red hair - taupes, peaches, coppers, reddish browns, dark browns, greens, or cool tones like lavenders and pinks

Gray hair - blues, purples, and grays

or your eye color:

Brown eyes - a wide range of colors work with brown eyes. Try peach, pink, coral, champagne, gold, green, blue, plum, purple or brown.

Blue eyes - try taupe, gray, orangey brown, mauve, purple, deep blue, or metallic (gold, silver, copper, bronze). Avoid aqua and other greenish blues.

Green eyes - Try gold, bronze, earth tones, flesh tones, shades of brown (including deep brown and reddish brown), pink, or purple.

Hazel eyes - Try soft pink, lavender, plum, purple, and earth tones. Avoid using a lot of blue.

Smoky Eye Makeup

There are many variations on smoky eye makeup and no real "right" way to do it, but here are some tips to get you started:

  • Prep the eye area with foundation or primer before starting, and dust generously with translucent powder. The coat of primer will help your eye makeup go on smoother and last longer, the powder will set the primer and also make it easier to remove any eye shadow that falls onto your under-eye skin during application.

  • You will need 3 eye shadows in the same color family (light, medium, and dark). If you want a subtler smoky daytime look, keep all three shades in the lighter end of the spectrum (while making sure that each one is still darker than the last). For a more dramatic, nighttime look, shift toward darker colors.

    You will also need a coordinating eye liner pencil that is dark, sharp, soft, and creamy.

  • Good color families for smoky eye makeup include grays, blues, purples, and browns.

  • Start by lining your upper eyelid tightly along the lash line and your lower lid just below the lash line. Then smudge the lines with a smudge brush (a small firm eyeshadow brush made from stiff hairs or foam) or your finger, if you don't have one.

  • Apply the darkest eyeshadow on the entire upper eyelid from the lashes (blending it into the liner) to the crease. Use the medium shadow from the crease up partway onto the brow bone, and the lightest shadow from there to the brow. Use a eye shadow blending brush to smudge and blend the three colors into each other, leaving no distinct lines between the zone.

  • Apply the darkest shadow at the lash line on the lower lid, and the medium shade just under that. Smudge and blend as you did on the upper lid.

  • Finish the look with multiple coats of black mascara, letting the lashes dry between coats.

  • Use a soft cotton swab to clean up any stray specks of eyeshadow or mascara under and around the eye.

Dramatic and Fantasy Eye Makeup

If you want bold, eye-catching colors, not just any eye makeup will do. You won't be able to get this look with typical sheer shadows, so look for brands with highly pigmented colors, such as MAC, L'Oreal HiP, or Milani.

If your fantasy look calls for a little more than standard eye shadow, face paint might be for you. (Not those little kits and crayons you see around Halloween, but real, professional face paint.) Whether you want to be a tiger, a fairy, or just abstractly colorful, check out brands like Kryolan, Snazaroo, and Paradise for face paint palettes in a variety of colors, including metallic and UV reactive paints.

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