As a makeup artist, the one thing I always get asked about — by my friends before we go out, by stylists on magazine shoots, and even by clients for a red-carpet event — is a smudgy, sexy, and not-black smoky eye. (One of my dearest clients, Shailene Woodley, has worn it on many occasions: She loves brown, rimmed eyeliner.) I've come to know it as the cool-girl smoky eye, since only the freshest, chicest people I know want to rock the look.
I think its appeal lies in the fact that it makes a statement without screaming. You feel like your eyes are defined without going overboard. And, I think that's the key. I've come to love a certain take on the eye that I think you'll like, too: It's a multi-textured cat-eye with total '60s appeal.
As you can see in the photos, I started by using a brown liner (Votre Vu Le Joli Crayon in Chocolat) to sketch all over the lid. The goal is to create an almond-shaped cat-eye that's angled upward and has a pointed edge. Choose a warm, reddish hue, because they're pretty much foolproof for any skin tone and look super rich. Makeup artists love using liner as a base on the lids, because when you layer metallics or creams on top, they stick really well. Liners are usually water-resistant, so they perform even better than shadow primers. (Plus, they're not sticky.)
After I filled in the shape, I blended. You need a clean, stiff-but-round brush for this step — I love Antonym #10 — because it gives you enough control to smudge the color without making it too messy. Once you've blended both eyes, it's time for the fun part: layering! I used a bronze shade from Pixi Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Emerald Gold and swept it from the inner corner onto the lid, allowing it to serve as a highlight. I also brought that color underneath the bottom lashes, building the intensity on the outer half of the eye to create a wide-eyed, '60s effect. (You can bring it in tighter than I did, which makes things smaller and sleeker. But, I wanted more of a doe-meets-cat-eye!)
Then, with a short, synthetic brush, I layered a lighter golden shade from the same palette on the center of the lid for an extra pop of intensity. (The stiffer synthetic brushes tend to be better for packing on textures like glitter or metallics.) To finish, I blended the edges once more to make sure all the shimmer was evenly diffused.
For me, it's also important to give structure to the brows. With makeup, it's always subjective, so you do you — but I definitely felt that, with the peachy-pink lip, the brows needed some definition. A tailored brow and a cat-eye, to me, are an ideal pair: They live in the same world. You could also skip it and go for a classic red lip: It depends on your taste.
Just remember, though, that this should be effortless and cool! Just remember, though, that this is supposed to be effortless and cool! Keep the hair tousled — like our awesome model, Alex Noiret — and pile on the mascara like you're getting ready to go out. It's all about smudged lines, wide eyes, and a lot of attitude.