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How to do the perfect smoky eye

Health & Beauty /

How to do the perfect smoky eye



Lucy Cleland learns the art of perfecting your own makeup at new beauty academy Athena on Brick Lane.

The smoky eye is just one makeup trend that refuses to die. It’s a beauty stalwart, because – like a great pair of jeans – it just works. It can turn you from working girl to seductive siren with a flick of kohl. It also works on everyone. For amateurs, it’s a case of getting out the eyeshadow, the kohl and the mascara, but to achieve that professional look so beloved by everyone from Liz Hurley to Kim Kardashian, it’s time to learn the art from a professional. Pencils at the ready.

According to Aleysha Mawani, the founder of new beauty boutique, Athena, on Brick Lane, ‘it’s all about the blending’. At Athena you can actually attend masterclasses not only t0 learn the art of the smoky eye and contouring, but also anything up to catwalk or bridal beauty, so you’ll never have a dud makeup day again.

Anyway, back to class…

1. The prep

I didn’t know this, but apparently you need to prime your eyelid so all that hard work doesn’t just melt into your creases. We recommend SmashBox’s Photo Finish (£21).

2. The shadow and blend

Choose your colour palette. If you’re blonde and pale you need to choose three complementary colours, starting with quite a pale base, building up intensity with the second and third colours. For black skins, choose golds and purples. Clarins’s Essentials Mineral Eye Makeup Palette (£35) is a good place to start. Once you’ve chosen your ‘base’ colour, sweep your entire eyelid up to the browbone. We recommend updating your brush kit with Zoeva’s rose gold set (£56.95). Now you’re ready to apply the second (slightly darker) colour (for even more intensity, dip the end of the brush in a little bit of water). But only take this colour from the lash line into the crease. Lastly, apply your darkest chosen hue, starting at the lash line and going halfway to the crease. Use cottonbuds to take away any wayward smudging.

3. The eyeliner

Choose black, brown or a dark grey (depending on your skin colouring / chosen palette) or, if you’re going for a more sparkling ‘jewel-toned’ eye, go for a purple, green or blue eye liner. Hold your skin at the corner of your eye and draw the eyeliner from the inner corner across. We’re fans of Eyeko’s Making Eyes Automatic Gel Eyeliner (£15). If you feel you have smaller eyes and want to accentuate them, don’t use liner on your inner bottom lid, but use on lower lash line. Otherwise, apply on inner lid. Remember, eyeliners don’t have to be pencils! There are a fantastic array of products out there, from gels to liquid liners.

4. Lashings of mascara

You’re now ready to plump those lashes, but remember not to pump your mascara brush up and down in the bottle – it only lets in air so your mascara will dry out a lot faster. Use wiggly movements to apply a few layers of colour to upper and lower lashes. If you’re blue-eyed, give blue or purple mascara a whirl (try Yves Saint Laurent’s Luxurious Mascara in Fascinating Violet, £24.50). It will really really make them pop!

5. And, did you know…

… that you’re supposed to then put on the rest of your makeup? I certainly didn’t. I always assumed that concealer, foundation, cover up, powder and blusher came first, then you worked on the eyes and finally the lips. But, not so, confirms Aleysha. ‘Eyes come first.’ That’s me told, then.

Of course, if you can’t be bothered with all that. get the girls at Athena to do it, and they’ll have you looking the way you want within minutes.

From £30;