It’s all in the eyes for celebrities who take red carpets by storm, armed with smoky shadows and liners that transform. Check out the clever makeup tricks these stars use to make the most of their gaze, turning everyday looks into cover-worthy shots.
The highly-photographed star shows that makeup can be simple, yet eye-opening. According to personal makeup artist Mary Burton, wheat shadow is a must to brighten lid to brow, as is soft pencil applied to subtly elongate the shape of the eye. “Angelina loves an exotic eye,” says Burton. Finish by brushing your peachy blush over lids to add liveliness.
While stars like Julia Roberts often rely on lash strips for a doe-eyed look, you can achieve the same lush volume without the glue and fuss. First stroke on a lash primer with fibers to adhere to and lengthen lashes, and then apply two to three coats of volumizing mascara. “The trick to layering up is to allow mascara to dry for a minute between coats,” says YouBeauty makeup expert Fiona Stiles.
Coffee brown eyeliner can soften brown eyes beautifully, and is best worn on either fair skin tones or deeper complexions with caramel undertones. Smudge liner on top and bottom lash lines, and pair with eyeshadows ranging from bisque beige for lighter skin, to golden sunset hues for darker skin.
At the British Fashion Awards, perennial “it” girl Alexa Chung used a simple black liquid line to open eyes and add definition to the top lash line. “Tilt your head back when applying liquid liner,” advises celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor. “It flattens out the upper lid, making it easier to apply.”
To add glimmer to eyes on deeper skintones, avoid white and silver—which can look gray—and instead opt for warm gold, like Jennifer Hudson. “Blending gold on the top and bottom inner corners of eyes adds depth and dimension, making you look more awake,” says Stiles.
The Twilight Saga Star looks to purple to smoke out her hazel eyes—though the royal shade adds depth to any eye color without overwhelming the iris, like traditional black can sometimes do. Soft purple looks best blended into the crease and outer corners of eyes, or as a more intense bolt of the hue as liner on the top lash line or lower rim.
If you love smoky eyes but fear the bar-fight-black look, take a cue from Marion Cotillard. The French beauty is luminous in shades of metallic gold and hazy charcoal at the premiere of Contagion. “Whatever color you apply first will dominate your overall look,” says Sotomayor – who adds that starting with a lighter gold shimmer all over lid will keep your smoke light.
The Today Show host is all elegance in gray shadow that pops next to vibrant lips, though the thunderstorm tone can sometimes make eyes look tired. The key is to pair it with a fresh finish foundation and sheer peach blush as Ann Curry does, in order to balance the icy coolness of the tone with sophistication, says Sotomayor.
Glamour doesn’t get any more classic—or dramatic—than Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood take on the smoky eye. By blending deepest carbon black—which the star has said she relies on Stila Kajal Eye Liner in Onyx to achieve—the color defines the top and lower lash lines with precision and gets smudgy-smoky into the crease and outer corners—which the star always balances with a strong powder-shaded brow.
A wash of sheer champagne pink from lid to crease enlivens this Gossip Girl’s baby blues, and is made more luminous by pearl blended into the inner corners of eyes—a glowing complement to fairer skintones. To add definition, carefully line black coffee liner just outside the bottom rim of line with a pencil for most control, and finish with coats of dark brown voluminous mascara.
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