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5 Basic but timeless makeup techniques

Allison Pynn has worked on the faces of Paula Abdul, America Ferrera, The Band Perry, Bret Michaels, and Sarah Palin. She grew up in rural Indiana running around corn fields and digging up worms, but always with lip gloss on! Allison has...

Makeup basics

These makeup basics should be on every girl's must-know list no matter the season. They will keep you looking fabulous as all the trends come and go!

How to master the smoky eye in any color

Makeup basics


  • Loose face powder
  • 3 shades of eyeshadow: 1 light-tone color, 1 medium-tone color and 1 medium-dark color
  • 1 small flat brush
  • 1 blending brush
  • 1 medium flat brush
  • 1 medium contour brush if you have one
  • Eyeliner
  • Eyelash curler
  • Mascara


  1. Start by applying loose face powder over the entire eye area. This will absorb any natural eye oils, making a smooth canvas for the eyeshadow.
  2. With the blending brush, apply the medium-tone color in a ">" shape. It should run around the outer corner of the eye, following the entire crease of the eye.
  3. Using the small flat brush, also apply the medium-tone color on the bottom of the under eye area, running along the entire lower lash line.
  4. With the medium flat brush, apply the light-tone eyeshadow on the lid and inner corner of the eye.
  5. Take the medium contour brush (if you don't have one, use the blending brush) and apply the medium-dark tone eyeshadow, concentrating on the outer corner and blending into the crease. Drag this color on the outer corner of the lower lash line as well.
  6. Now apply black eyeliner along the top lash line and inner rim of the lower lash line.
  7. Curl eyelashes and apply two coats of your favorite mascara.
Pro tip: Use two different types of mascara: one for thickening and volume to use on the upper lashes and one lengthening, waterproof mascara for the bottom lashes and the tip of the upper lashes. This will keep mascara from "stamping" onto the lid and melting onto your under eye throughout the day.


You can add color to the traditional charcoal smoky eye, depending on what's in style.

  1. Follow the Smoky Eye steps one through five.
  2. Next take your trendy color (I've used purple in the pictures) and apply it on the upper lid and lower lash line.
  3. Use your blending brush and gently sweep over the entire eye, blending the trendy color with the others.

For extra fun, in step six use an eyeliner the same color as your trendy eyeshadow!

Pro tip: Use a trendy color in the same cool or warm tone family as the three eyeshadows you originally applied. For example, if you want to try purple as your trendy color as seen in the picture tutorial, your smoky eye should be created with cool-toned charcoal colors. If you want to use orange as your trendy color, use warm-toned brown colors to create your smoky eye.

A note on bold lips with smoky eyes...

You don't always have to do a nude lip with a smoky eye. If you play within the same color-tone family as your eyeshadow, you can wear a bold lip with a smoky eye for extra drama! For example, if your smoky eye is cool-toned charcoal and purple colors, choose a purple-toned or mauve lip color (as seen in tutorial). If your smoky eye is warm-toned orange and brown colors, choose a bold peach or orange lip color.

Up next: How to get the perfectly-shaped brow >>

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