Beauty Confidential: Your essential guide to getting smoky for summer

Your essential guide to getting smoky for summer

As unlikely as it sounds, the smoky eye is proving the look for summer. More typically associated with winter glamour, the look works extremely well with a bold summer wardrobe. And it’s a surprisingly easy trend to create at home.

We ask the world’s best make-up artists for their top tips . . .

On trend: The smoky eye is proving to be a popular look this summer

On trend: The smoky eye is proving to be a popular look this summer

Tom Pecheux, creative make-up director for Estee Lauder:

This is one of the easiest make-up looks to create — much easier than, say, creating the perfect red lip. Start with a black or brown pencil. Rub it on to the tip of your finger, then smudge it on to the eyelid from the middle out (don’t powder the lid beforehand).

This will give you a great base you can then build on with your chosen eyeshadow colour. Use a large eye brush and dust the shadow over the top. You can use a black pencil underneath the eye, and finish with black mascara.

Kabuki, artistic director of myface cosmetics:


Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eye Powder Pencils (£14.50, counters nationwide)

These new double-ended pencils come in two really flattering shades — Blue Sky and Black Violet, a dense, dark purple.

The pencil is incredibly smooth and won’t pull or drag the skin, and a velvety soft smudger at the other end makes defining eyes a more gentle process.

Unlike some eye pencils, this lasts for ages and doesn’t need constant sharpening to do the job well.

A big component to the smoky eye is black pencil liner inside the waterline of the eye and at the roots of the lashes, circling top and bottom. If you have a hard time getting it under the top lash, just line the lower inside eye and blink until it transfers to the top.

To keep it in place for hours, set with pressed eyeshadow, applied with the tip of a flat brush.

Leanne Shaw, make-up artist for Frontcover Cosmetics:

If you want to add sparkle for a sultry summer look, try Frontcover Black Spark Eyeshadow (£4, Boots). Start by lining the inner rim of the eye with a black kohl pencil for definition.

Then blend the shadow all the way up to the brow bones to create a blocky midnight shape.

For even more definition, sweep the same colour under the bottom lashes, and then apply lashings of mascara top and bottom.

Cassie Lomas, celebrity  make-up artist:

For a quick smoky-eye look, use one colour of shadow over the whole lower lid, and blend into the sockets.

Line the inner rim of the eye with a black kohl pencil, letting it run over the lash line slightly and blending in with a fine brush or cotton bud, then finish with two coats of mascara over the lashes.

Bourjois’ new Intense Eyeshadow in Charcoal Black (£6.99, Boots and Superdrug) creates the look in one single application.

Laura Mercier, international make-up guru:

A simple trick is to use a dark liner along the upper lash line and elongate the line at the outer corner. (Lining around your entire eye and wearing dark colours on your inner lids will make your eyes look as if they are closer together.)

When lining your eyes, start the liner away from the inner corners. The new Laura Mercier Smoky Eye Palette (£60, exclusive to Selfridges in July and nationwide from August) contains five eyeshadows and five brushes — everything you need for smoky eyes in one kit.

Front Cover Black Spark Eye shadow, £4 (Boots)
Laura Mercier Smoky Eye Palette

From left: Frontcover Black Spark Eyeshadow (£4, Boots), Laura Mercier Smoky Eye Palette (£60, exclusive to Selfridges in July and nationwide from August)


Collection 2000 Smoky Eyes  Eye Palette (£4.19 in Morrisons from July 11, 01695 651 091 or

There are eight complementary dark, medium and light shades as well as an eye-brightening cream to highlight the inner corners of the eyes.

Simply dab the cream in the inner corner and blend upwards towards the brow to add a subtle sheen. A handy applicator brush means you can pack the palette into your handbag for any necessary touch-ups.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eye Liner (£5.19, Boots)

This new liner from L’Oreal Paris is their most advanced, with long-wearing technology.

The formula is rich and creamy, which means it glides on easily and sets quickly. There is a built-in sharpener and smudger, to create versatile eyeliner looks for any occasion. This is also suitable for people with sensitive eyes.

From left: Myface Cosmetics Blingtones Eyeshadow in Black Ice (£9.99, Boots), Bourjois Smoky Eyes Trio (£7.99, Superdrug), Collection 2000 Smoky Eyes Eye Palette (£4.19 in Morrisons from July 11, 01695 651 091 or

Bourjois Smoky Eyes Trio (£7.99, Superdrug)

THIS trio is available in grey (Gris Dandy), golden brown (Modore Chic) and purple (Violet Romantic). They make  great sets for beginners as there are instructions on the back. Use the Bourjois Smoky Eye Pencil in Ultra Black (£5.49) for a quick-and-easy way to do smoky eyes.

GOSH’s Long Lasting Eye Liner Pen (£5.99, Superdrug)

A water-based eyeliner with a skinny tip that makes it easy to achieve perfectly accurate lines. Dries quickly and does not smudge. Available in eight shades, including grey, purple, navy blue and carbon black.

Max Factor Masterpiece Glide & Define Eyeliner (£6.99, Boots)

This combines the smoothness of a liquid eyeliner with the precision of a kohl pencil. It is one of the easiest eyeliners to use and is good when you want to achieve a strong look.

From left: Maybelline’s Lasting Drama Gel Liner (£7.99,, GOSH’s Long Lasting Eye Liner Pen (£5.99, Superdrug, Max Factor Masterpiece Glide & Define Eyeliner (£6.99, Boots)

Maybelline’s Lasting Drama Gel Liner (£7.99,

gives an intense black line and the gel formula lasts up to 24 hours. Since its launch in March, this has been flying off the shelves.

It comes with a brush and is easy to apply. Works particularly well with Maybelline Eyestudio Color Cosmos in Cosmic Black (£6.99,

Topshop Make-Up’s Gel Eyeliner  in Ink (£8, Topshop)

The blackest of blacks, this has been formulated to glide smoothly over the skin and compares favourably to more expensive brands. It dries well without cracking,  whether you prefer a thick black line or a lash-enhancing thin line.

Myface Cosmetics Blingtones Eyeshadow in Black Ice (£9.99, Boots)

A favourite with top make-up artists, this can be simply applied with your index finger. It works well with Myface Cosmetics High Definition Eyeliner Eye Pencil in Black (£6.99, Boots), a soft, creamy textured pencil which goes on like a dream.

Top Shop Make Up's new Gel Eyeliner in Ink
Models Own DIY Smokey* Eye Kit from Models Own, £8

From left: Topshop Make-Up’s Gel Eyeliner  in Ink (£8, Topshop), DIY Smoky Eye Kit from Models Own (£8,

DIY Smoky Eye Kit from Models Own (£8,

Available in six colour combinations, these eyeshadow palettes come with instructions and each compact kit contains angled and blending brushes. Finish the look with the Model’s Own Black Hi-Definer Pro-Eyeliner (£6,

Rimmel Soft Kohl Pencil in Stormy Grey (£2.99, Superdrug)

This is one of the least expensive pencils, but is also one of the most effective. It glides on and allows you to define eyes without dragging the skin. This shade is more flattering than black.



If you love the results of a salon wax but find it eye-wateringly painful, you’ll be thrilled to hear about the trend that’s taking New York by storm.

According to beauty editors, using denim strips reduces the ouch-factor in waxing. Strips of denim are pressed firmly — blue side up — over warm wax once it has been applied to the skin. The cloth is then swiftly removed in exactly the same way as a regular calico strip.

‘Although the hair-removal technique itself is identical to the traditional one, we’ve found that replacing cotton strips with denim makes waxing much less painful,’ says Jennifer Pesce, brand director for Shobha salons.

Dermatologists agree that the dense weave of denim may help wax to grab hairs a little better. So what do the British waxing experts think?

‘I think it’s a bit of a gimmick.’ says Chloe Scrimminger, UK trainer for Ministry of Waxing in London. ‘In my opinion, a stiff, heavy fabric such as denim would make it extremely difficult to wax closely around the contours of the body.’

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