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August 2 2014

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The Smoky Eye: Now Showing In Brown

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Working off the principle that colors like rich gold, copper, and mahogany are universally flattering, NARS Cosmetics‘ fall collection boasts an eye shadow range in multiple shades of brown. In addition to creating a warm palette typical of the season, NARS also seems to be making a strong case for the brown smoky eye, an updated take on the classic black/gray version that the brand’s international lead makeup stylist, James Boehmer, calls “a little more approachable.” Here, he gives step-by-step instructions for how to get the sultry look without all the severity:

—Start with a cream eye shadow and apply to the lid, from the lash line up to the crease. Tip: I usually use a black cream (NARS Zardoz Cream Eye Shadow is great) regardless of the color palette that I am working in to add depth to the powder shadows that will be layered on top.

—Line the upper and lower lash line with a black pencil and blend into the cream using your finger or a small domed brush.

—When you get the shape and intensity you want, add a matte powder shadow to the cream and pencil. I usually use a matte black shadow to set the cream.

—Next, add your accent color to the lid. The sooty brown side of the Cordura Eye Shadow duo is a favorite of mine. It has a graphite texture that looks great on everyone.

—Blend color to the lash line, diffusing as you move toward the outer corner of the eye. Tip: Layering matte and metallic shadows in your accent color will give more depth and intensity.

—When you are happy with the color level, blend a skin-toned shadow with a bit of shimmer to the crease of the eye to help transition the color up to the brow bone and keep the eye open (NARS Ashes to Ashes or Cairo Single Eye Shadows are perfect for this!).

—Finish by curling and applying mascara to the top and bottom lashes. I also like to rim the eye with a black or brown pencil. Tip: For something a bit different, try a dark teal pencil on the inner rim to brighten the white of your eye and create a contrast with the rich browns.

Tip: While you might typically pair a smokier eye with a paler lip, I use rich matte lipstick in a plum or red, like NARS Fire Down Below Lipstick or Damned Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, to change things up when I’m working with brown. It maintains the balance between eyes and lips—sort of like a Robert Palmer girl without the stripe of blush.

Photo: Courtesy of NARS Cosmetics

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