IT WENT VIRAL with Kim Kardashian. Love or hate the ubiquitous Mrs. West, her current makeup look–strong, full brows; perfect, glowy skin; neutral, smoky eyes with a hint of silver or gold shimmer; lots of lashes; low-key blush; and either a neutral or totally bold red lip–is one of the most requested.
“It’s become a staple of ‘Beauty 2014’,” says D.C.-based international makeup artist Victoria Stiles. “It’s such a craze lately. It’s not so much that Kim’s dictating that look of neutrality; her makeup artist is taking a play on fashion looks, and perfected it.”
Indeed, with ʼ90s fashion roaring back on the runways–e.g., chokers, Doc Martens, plaids –makeup has followed suit, but with a refined update and a clear emphasis on eyes.
“Instead of complete matte-ness,” Stiles explains, “there are metallic touches of shimmer on the lid, with liner on the inner rim of the eyelid. The ‘smoke’ comes from the shadow rather than the liner.”
The idea here is a neutral smoky eye –beige, taupe, bronze, brown, bone –or a colored smoky eye –black, gray, purple, navy, green. Whichever way you go, Stiles says, look for matte and shimmery shadows with depth and major pigment.
“Generally, professional lines have those more than drugstore lines,” she says. “Chanel, Armani and Burberry all really pack a pigment punch.”
As for the freshest take on skin and lips, we’ll visit those soon in subsequent posts.
Meanwhile, here are Stiles’ and my fave products for this fall’s smoky neutral eye:
Lancôme Le Crayon Poudre ($26) This dual-ended cross between a powder and a pencil ensures full, soft, natural-looking brows every time.
Urban Decay All Nighter Eyeliner ($20) Use this waterproof crayon on eyes’ upper and lower inner rims–it’s the French way. In other words, feminine, mysterious and elegant.
Burberry Beauty Complete Eye Palette in No. 20 Slate Blue ($60) Luxurious and veddy British, this complementary quad of polished, embossed blues in mattes and shimmers are the next best thing to English skies.
Chanel Les 5 Ombres De Chanel Limited Edition Eyeshadow Palette ($80) Leave it to Chanel to show us how chic it is to combine mixed metals. Inspired by Coco Chanel’s original Fine Jewelry collection, this killer quintet includes camellia white, luminous silver, rich gray, charcoal black and antique gold. To die for.
Giorgio Armani Palette Yeux ($88) Pricey perfection. From the embossed design to the myriad effects you can achieve with black pearl and shimmery nude–wear these shades on their own or as highlighters with matte shadows. This is an haute couture keeper.
Kevyn Aucoin Eyeshadow Duo #201 in Antique Silver/Plum Shimmer ($42) The late, great makeup artiste would have loved this sophisticated couple of wearable pearly and powder shades. More unexpected than black or gray and just as, if not more, becoming.
Tom Ford Beauty Eyeshadow Quad in Titanium Smoke ($79) It’s a splurge and worth every designer dollar. The four stunning, classic shadows have sparkle, satin, shimmer and matte finishes that work beautifully for day and on into night.
Urban Decay Naked 3 ($54) All Urban Decay Naked palettes become instant cult hits because they’re foolproof, fun and universally flattering. This third iteration has a rosy theme in a dozen pretty variations.
And finally …
Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($22) Like its name, its tagline — “Bigger. Blacker. Badder.”–may sound vaguely pornographic. But this fab new mascara truly delivers on all fronts: Creamy, clump-free, buildable, hyper-black happiness that curls, lengthens, volumizes and separates.