"Yes, it's dramatic, but a smokey eye is actually a very soft look," says makeup artist Mally Roncal, whose clients have included Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce. "There are no harsh lines — just a perfectly blended halo of color."
Trace a black eyeliner pencil along your upper and lower lash lines, as close to the lashes as possible. Make the line thicker on the top and thinner on the bottom, advises Roncal, but don't worry about getting it perfectly even. If you have almond-shaped or large eyes, also line the inner rims to amp up the intensity.
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Gently smudge the line around the eye with your finger. (A cotton swab or skinny eyeshadow brush with a rounded tip will do the trick, too.) This softens the hard edges. If you're using a waterproof eyeliner — a smart move, since it's longer-lasting — blend quickly before the color sets.
Run a dark eyeshadow (we used a midnight blue) over the liner on your upper lid and lower lash line, then blend the color farther up the lid to the crease. Dust off the brush and then dip it into a lighter shade (we used a silvery blue). Blend it along the crease and to the outer corner for a smokey finish.
Define your lashes with several coats of black mascara. Intense mascara is the key to this look, so load it on! And don't forget your lower lashes — just be sure to gently wipe the mascara wand with a tissue before applying. Let your lashes dry before blinking, otherwise you'll end up with streaks.
Read the most important step and the products to use at LHJ.com: Smoky Eyes Made Simple
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By Erica Metzger for LHJ.com