How The New Smoky Eye Can Help You Bust Out Of A Makeup Rut

Wendy Rodewald
 The smoky eye at MSGM Spring/Summer 2013

The eye makeup at MSGM Spring/Summer 2013 was about a wash of color, not a graphic effect.
Photo: Luca Cannonieri/

The smoky eye is a huge trend this season…again. Wait, haven’t we heard this one before? Trends always repeat, of course — witness the recent revival of ‘90s minimalism and grunge — but that doesn’t mean your makeup should stay the same year after year. Even looks that never go out of style (yes, the smoky eye) get tiny tweaks each season that keep them feeling fresh.

So when makeup artist and Artistic Director of MAC Cosmetics Lyne Desnoyers mentioned at a recent presentation of MAC’s spring/summer 2013 trends that there’s a new smoky eye in town, we sat up and took notice. This season, the look is no longer about creating a graphic look with light, medium and dark shadows, but part of a larger trend toward diffused color with no harsh lines.

How To Update Your Smoky Eye
“Everything’s very blurred and there are no hard edges,” Desnoyers explains. “That changes the look of a smoky, because the smoky is quite a graphic statement usually, it is very very concentrated around the eyes and more or less a cat eye, if you’re thinking about the very classic way of approaching the smoky. The fact that we’re blurring everything and the fact that we’re not necessarily wanting to have an approach that’s graphic, it’s quite the opposite.”

The secret to creating it? “We usually start with pencils. Because of the waxy finish we can really have something that’s very second skin,” Desnoyers explained. After blending the pencil, add shadow over it — but don’t think you have to do the classic three-color effect. “What I love to do is the tone on tone idea, so for example if you have a black and then on top of it you put a blue gray,” Desnoyers says. “If you do want to have definition, of course mascara is a must-have, and the pencil inside the waterline, et cetera. But really soft, soft application and nothing too graphic or hard lined.”

The smoky eye at Nicole Miller Spring/Summer 2013

The smoky eye at Nicole Miller had a tone on tone effect.
Photo: Luca Cannonieri/

Stuck In A Makeup Rut? Try This
If you find yourself going back to the same makeup look you’ve worn for years, day after day (guilty as charged), consider this advice from Gordon Espinet, Senior Vice President of Makeup Artistry for MAC: “Don’t get too comfortable.”

“We get comfortable with something that we we wear, a specific silhouette, a type of makeup,” Espinet says. The antidote? “Go get a second opinion from someone else. Get a makeup artist to do your makeup, somebody who does not know you, and be brave enough to let it go. Don’t say what you want; say what you don’t like and leave everything else up to them.”

“It’s really hard to let go of our habits and to embrace new ideas, especially when it’s your face. But I think it’s really important at least once a year to push yourself.” We can think of a good place to start.