When my son goes down for his afternoon nap, you can often find me in my bathroom experimenting with my eye makeup (instead of doing more productive things like cleaning my always-messy house or tackling the endless laundry). I do a full eye on myself every day and rarely do I leave the house without the full works. This is not a personal vanity thing, I assure you, this is because I truly enjoy applying eye makeup and I actually look forward to it every day.
One of the questions I get the most often is how to do variants of a smoky eye. The answer is simple; the right brushes (obviously) and matte eyeshadow. Matte eyeshadow is boring and is not nearly as pretty as the multitude of eye-catching shimmer, satin, metallic, luster, and all-other-words-that-mean-shiny shades. However, using matte eyeshadow is the difference between professional looking, polished eye looks and amateur-looking application. Matte shades are what create the most depth, drama and definition. When applied to your crease, a matte looks much cleaner and sharper than a shimmer, which can appear muddy when blended with your main lid color. When eyeliner is smudged with a corresponding matte shade it softens the liner and smokes out the entire look, as well as giving eyeliner more staying power.
There are a few essential matte shades that can work with all of your other colors and finishes to create a multitude of eye looks. A dark brown and a true black can create the definiton desired for more dramatic looks. A matte off-white can always be your base lid color and used as a highlighter. A light brown or taupe shade can serve as the all-important transition color. What is a transition color? It is one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone depending on your natural undertones, that is applied as a "transition" to blend your eyeshadow into the skin and to smooth out any harsh lines. Finding your transition shade definitely takes some trial and error, but once the right shade is found, using it with your eye looks makes such an incredible difference. If only I had known about transition shades in seventh grade when I used to smear crystal blue shimmer eyeshadow up to (and, lets be honest, often INTO) my eyebrow. I would have been less awkward and more confident which could have led to greater success and I would probably be a senator or CEO and not be sitting here in my pajamas squawking about eyeshadow on the internet. Stupid Maybelline Aqua Trio. Oh well. Anyway, some good places to look for a transition shades are MAC singles, NYX singles, Makeup For Ever Artist Shadows, and the Urban Decay Naked Basics palettes. I use a few different shades. I have a medium complexion with neutral undertones, therefore a warm brown leaning more toward orange works best for me. My favorite and most often used is MAC's "Soft Brown." Do you use a transition shade? I am always on the look out for different ones and would love to hear about your favorite shade.
Now for first installment of my new "Brush of The Week" feature. I own a few hundred brushes (right?) and, for the sake of brevity, I will talk about favorites one at a time. The first one is the MAC 217 Blending Brush. It is a mack-daddy, workhorse of brushes and you would be hard pressed to find a makeup artist who does not have at least one in their kit. It is is a dense, tapered brush made of white goat hair and it can do pretty much anything. It is ideal for applying your transition color, blending out everything and it is also dense enough to handle emollients. I have three of these and I can say, literally literally, that I reach for it every single day.
Had enough? No? Come back next week. And if you can't bear to be without me until then you can follow me on Instagram. My handle is michelle_stylewhipped. See you round like a donut.