One day, when I was studying makeup artistry, our tutor gave us a challenge. We had to execute three looks in quick succession: a smoky eye with nude lips, a smoky eye with bold lips, and a minimal eye with bold lips, all on the same model. It was an exercise designed to recreate the pressure makeup artists are under when working on fashion shows, but it doubled as an exercise in creating a smoky eye with as little effort and product as possible.
"As little effort as possible" sounds like my kind of look. This is still my go-to when I want to give my eyes a bit of drama without spending 45 minutes or using primers and 15 different shades of eyeshadow. It’s a bit messy and lived-in, which I’m into, but you can be a bit more careful with everything if you’re that kind of person.
My product of choice is the Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Gel Eyeshadow in Dramatic Black; I find cream shadows work really well for this because you can blend and smudge them easily, but once they set they stay in place. You could also use a soft pencil eyeliner — my recommendation would be the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils, because they glide on (ha!) without you having to scrub at your eyelids.
This is a single-product look, but it does need a minimum of two brushes: one flat synthetic brush for laying down the color, and a fluffy brush for blending it out. I like to have another clean fluffy brush on hand for any final blending. (The little one is for taking it on to the lower lash-line, if you’re so inclined.)
There are a few places you can go from here. For the true lazy gal, just chuck on mascara and be done with it. That’s my favourite approach for day wear.
To dial it up a little bit, I added some false lashes. I’m too uncoordinated to put strip lashes on myself, but if I give myself an extra half hour I can handle some individuals. This is good for those times where I tell myself I’ll get ready to go out quickly, and then halfway through slapping on some makeup realise that I do want to be fancy after all.
To dial it up some more, just put more makeup on. That is, continue blending the cream shadow a bit further out above the crease, and bring some under the lower lashline too. I also put the liner on my waterline to deepen the look.
Black makes for some serious impact, but you could do this look with any coloured cream shadow to mix it up and change the effect. I like using a deep khaki to bring out the golden tones in my eyes. You can break out of the single-product thing by adding an inner-corner highlight or shimmer on the middle of the eyelid, but I like the ease of using just the one product.
What's your favorite just-one-product look? What product do you use?