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By Marissa DeSantis
By now, we’ve all seen some version of the simplified smoky eye makeup trick that went viral on TikTok earlier this summer. Rather than layer and blend shadow colors as the traditional (often tricky and time-consuming) method goes, TikTok’s version of a smoky eye starts with using a flat brush to swipe on stripes of eyeshadow from the crease down to the base of your eye lid, working your way from the outside, in. You can apply any color combos you like (though a classic brown smoky eye with some shimmer seems to be the most popular route), and all you need to do to transform your stripes into smoked-out perfection is blend.
But does the smoky eye cheat really work? We asked celebrity makeup artist Mallorie Mason to weigh in.”It’s not going to look perfect, but for the most part, it does what it’s supposed to do,” says Mason. Who notes that this can work for any eye shape. And while you probably won’t see any of your favorite makeup artists adopting the technique anytime soon, Mason says it really is great for smoky eye beginners. “If you’re trying to do a contour smoky eye, this is probably the easiest route.”
To make it more effective, however, Mason says to stick with three eyeshadow colors—going from the darkest shade to the lightest as you work your way from the outside to the inner corner of the eye—all in the same color family. “You can really do any color smoky eye you want with this, but it looks better and is also easier if you only use three shades that are all somewhat in the same color family,” she says. “So if you want a typical everyday eye, do a darker brown on the outside, a bronzy brown in the middle, and a highlighter color at the inner corner to make your eyes pop,” Mason further explains.
Your smoky eye will also only be as good as your brushes, as Mason points out that a blending brush is key to diffusing the initial stripes.
“I would use a flat brush to apply the colors, but you want a shorter, fatter blending brush to blend the colors in smoothly,” she says.
Complete the look with smudged-out liner for a full-on smoky effect or razor-sharp winged liner for something more on trend.