How To: Dramatic Smokey Eye

The Info—Stylist: Maria Lee Makeup & Hair / Photography: Hart & Sol WestMichelle Govang / Venue: The Box SF / Flowers: Green Snapdragon Floral Design / Dress: Little Borrowed Dress / Jewelry: BrideBlu Vintage + Handmade Jewelry

The great thing about doing a smokey eye for your wedding is that even though the look is dramatic, most of the technique revolves around the word “smudge,” so it’s relatively easy to accomplish once you get the hang of it. For our final P&G tutorial (thanks again P&G!), we wanted to tone down the drama of the smokey eye a bit to make the look a little more wedding-y and a little less club-y. However, you can easily adjust the intensity to your taste. (But if you do have a wedding out at the club, please send it to us? Yes?)

Now, a few tips from Maria on perfecting this look:

Keep The Look Balanced: The ultimate trick for making the smokey eye work is to keep everything else about your makeup as natural and subdued as possible. This means just a light dusting of blush along the apples of your cheeks (and a little highlighter on your cheekbones for contouring), and stay away from any kind of bold lip color unless you’re going for a Dolly Parton themed wedding (in which case, I don’t even care if you submit to us, just invite me to it, PLEASE).

For Eyes: Getting the smokey eye look down is all about layering. First you want to apply a cream shadow as a base (remember the awesome CoverGirl Intense Shadowblast with the primer built in?) on the part of your eyelid that sits just over your eyeball. Then over that, you’re going to place a rich black cream shadow in a thick line on the same part of your eyelid (we used CoverGirl Smokyshadowblast, which comes in a nifty shadow stick for easier application). Don’t be afraid if this part isn’t perfect because you’re going to smudge it up a little bit anyway. Then finish the layering by blending taupe shadow into the crease of your eye using a ponytail crease brush (which has bristles that form a ponytail shape) and working it down to the Shadowblast layer. The final result will be a black to taupe ombre effect going from lash line to crease.

Once you’re done contouring with shadow, how polished your smokey eyes look will depend largely on where you apply your eyeliner. (Has anyone else done that thing where you accidentally put it just a little too far down on your bottom lid and start looking like Bellatrix Lestrange?) Maria recommends applying eyeliner (we used CoverGirl LiquilineBlast liner, which has a built-in smudging tool, perfect for smokey eyes) on your lower lid, just between the lashes, and then smudging with the smudger tool. If you are worried about the liner looking too heavy, focus mostly on the outer part of your eye and use a lighter hand at the inner corners.

For Lips: Finish the look with a longwear lipstick in a light pink hue, top it with topcoat.

And that’s it! Away you go! The best part? If you don’t want something quite as dramatic as Jess’s look, you can totally modify this smokey eye with lighter colors for a more fresh-faced look, or if you want something a little more playful, swap out the black and brown for a more colorful combination like grey and purple. Once you’ve nailed the technique of layering and contouring your shadows, the possibilities are endless.


And now, since we’re bringing this series to a close today… OUTTAKES from our shoot a month and a half ago. Always the best part.

A huge thanks to P&G for making this series possible. If you’re just tuning in now, you can check out the whole APW + P&G Hair and Makeup Tutorial Series here. Hopefully you now feel more relaxed about DIY or DIT hair and makeup for your wedding, which was our real goal here… that, and more pretty looks for regular old fun. I think every staff member has something we want to learn, now that, um, maybe we have more time? Meg wants to do the fishtail braid for everyday, Maddie wants to master bold eyeliner with fake lashes (or as she calls it, 60s Barbie makeup), and Kate wants to sweep up her hair into a triple braid.

And! If you tried one of these looks, consider sending us a picture? Just e-mail APW Associate Editor Maddie at maddie (at) apracticalwedding (dot) com.

High-fives, team. And now, onwards, with pretty hair.

And as always, if you have questions about how to modify the look featured today, we’ll do our best to answer them in the comments, but you can always direct your questions at @PGBeauty for their expert advice (or if you’re not on Twitter, post your questions on their Facebook page for more info).

Download a PDF of the shopping list for this look here.

**This post was sponsored by P&G Beauty. Thanks P&G for helping make the APW mission possible!**

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