I live in Alaska, the land of the Midnight Sun, where summer brings four months of perpetual daylight. The closest we get to nightfall is when the sun pops behind the horizon for a few hours--but there is no cover of darkness.
All that sunshine really cramps my style when it comes to smoky, smudgy eye makeup. Dramatic eyes can look a little immature in the light of day...
But there's always the nude smoky eye. Easy and flattering to literally ANY skin tone, a good nude smoky even fades gracefully. All you need is a shadow palette, some mascara, a good shadow brush, and a light hand. You’re going to be doing some blending.
How To Create A Nude Smoky Eye For Summer
For this tutorial, I picked up Wet n’ Wild’s Naked Truth Eye Shadow Palette. (I’ve never even seen Urban Decay’s Naked palette, but I imagine it would be perfect for this look.) I’m currently waiting for my Sleek AU Naturel palette to arrive--it’s been sent from the UK by carrier pigeon, it would seem. In the meantime, Wet n’ Wild has delivers exactly what I need--long-lasting, blendable shadow for under $4. We’ll forgive them for the glitter; it's actually pretty subtle. I generally prefer a matte finish, but for this I’m going to use some shimmer. If you have lighter eyes, you might choose a palette that's a few shades lighter.
Whatever palette you end up using, choose three shades: A dark shade to define, a medium shade to blend, and a light shade to highlight. The main difference between a nude smoky eye and a regular smoky eye is the absence of black shadow and/or liner.
Start by covering your eyelid with a primer or base shadow. This will help with blending and avoiding patchiness. A reader recommended E.L.F. primer to me and I'm forever grateful. It's $1 and it's amazing.
Next, wet your liner brush, pat it to remove excess water, and pick up a decent amount of your darkest shade. Tap the brush to shake off any excess and line the outer three-quarters of your eye, using small, light strokes.
Don’t worry about your line being perfect. We’re going to smudge the bejesus out of it in just a minute. Whether you line your waterline or not is up to you. I've done it in this look.
With the pearly medium tone, cover the outer three-quarters of your mobile lid (if you have a monolid, take the color up about the width of a pencil past the dark color), blending where the twain shall meet, and up towards your inner eye and brow bone.
Then, take your lightest color and, starting at the inner corner of your eye, blend it into the darker shadows. Use the same technique for your brow bone, pull the lighter shade down to blend with the medium. I prefer to move color like this because the end result is less muddy than if you were to blend from the darker shadow, and it's easier to control.
After I’m finished with my eyes, I wipe up any errant shadow and apply mineral foundation with a brush, cutting in to the makeup to cover any dark circles. Nude or otherwise, a smoky eye + dark circles = Skeletor.
I tried Milani’s Runway Lashes, and while I loved the formula, they lied about the brush! The display shows a big spoolie brush, but what you actually get is a lackluster plastic comb that makes for a very gloppy application. It worked great after I swapped out the brush.
I usually cool it with the rest of my makeup when I do a dramatic eye, so I finished this look by highlighting with Bare Minerals True Gold and adding a touch of Maybelline Dream Sunglow bronzer.
Have you ever tried a smoky eye without liner? Are you noticing that these plastic comb mascara brushes are becoming more and more prevalent? Do you hate them, too?