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Question: How can I pull off the colorful smokey eye look?

Answer: Tired of the same old night out makeup routine? Put down that black shadow and get some color on those lids. These methods will give your traditional smokey eye routine some vibrancy—without looking overdone.

Method #1: Let’s start off with a simpler, more wearable approach. First, apply primer and a white base to make the shadows pop and stay on all day. Glide a vibrant shadow across your lid, hitting just under your crease line. Blend upwards and apply a brown or grey shadow through the crease to add depth. Mix colors together so the shadows flow seamlessly into one another. Adding a neutral shadow through the crease will neutralize the vibrant colors, while still allowing them to peep through.

Method #2: This approach makes a bolder statement, incorporating three varying shades of color – dark, medium, and light. Again, start with primer and a white base. This time, apply a mid-tone shade across the lid, really packing it on in the center, as that’s where light will hit your eyes first. Add a light, shimmery shade to the inner corner, overlapping into the lid space and then lightly blend the two colors. Apply a dark, matte shade through the crease and blend out. When looking straight on, the darkest shade will be the most prominent color, and – although vibrant – it will act as a neutralizer to ensure that the look isn’t too over-the-top.

When choosing what colors to work with, stick to warm toned colors that will give depth to the look. Richer shades of purple, blue, green, and oxblood are most used in colorful smokey eyes, and for good reason. Not only do they look striking against most skin tones, but they’re a lot more wearable than reds, pinks, yellows, and oranges that tend to appear extremely stark against the skin, and can be too “in your face” if not applied properly.

Apply black liner and smudge out into the shadow to define your eyes and create extra smoke. Make sure to use a gel or pencil liner that can be easily moved around before setting to avoid tugging on the delicate eye area. Try not to go overboard! We still want that bright pop of color to peek through. Apply black mascara, and move on to the face.

To keep the look showy but still wearable, make sure the shadow is balanced out by the rest of your makeup. Avoid any other bold makeup trends by keeping the rest of your makeup subtle. Try not to overdo blush and opt for a nude or neutral-toned lipstick to maintain focus on your eyes. You want your makeup to complement your smokey eye, not combat it.

The same holds true when planning your outfit. Colorful smokey eyes look best when paired with neutral, non-printed clothes. They add a pop of color to your overall look, jazzing up a basic outfit similar to the way a pair of red heels or a vibrant statement necklace enhances a simple black dress. Instead of color-coordinating your outfit and smokey eye, paint your nails or add a simple accessory that’s within a few shades of your shadow color.

As with any smokey eye look, blending will help you pull everything together. Take your time when buffing out shadows to avoid the appearance of harsh lines. Investing in a good blending brush is a wise idea for a look like this, since vivid colors often tend to show up streaky or patchy when blended out. If you happen to over blend, don’t be afraid to pack on more shadow wherever necessary and keep blending outwards. This will keep colors vibrant, yet smokey—and will keep you looking gorgeous!