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Flannels blog article

A classic, smokey eye is never far from our makeup rotation. And for good reason. Timeless, cool and an instant statement-maker, it’s a failsafe way to dress up your face come evening.

But for 2022, we’re giving it a refresh, thanks to the skills of celebrity makeup artist, Nikki Makeup. The moody blacks that dominated the smokey eye in the ‘90s have been switched out for a palette of plummy browns. And the skin? Left fresh, warm and soft, rather than pale and pasty.

The thing they have in common? A high-impact finish. Colour is built up on the eyes, mascara is layered up and eyeliner is applied to exaggerate the shape. The finishing touch? Charlotte Tilbury’s cult Pillow Talk. Aka, the perfect nude for every skin tone.

Keep reading to find out how Nikki Makeup created the modern smokey eye and discover the products the FLANNELS team recommends to get the look.
STEP 1: For the skin, I wanted to keep everything quite soft and nautral. I perfected Georgia's skin with foundation and concealer, and then applied a light contour just under cheekbones to sculpt and tie everything together. I like to perfect the base first, and then go in with eyeshadow afterwards. That way you get a really seamless blend around the corners of the eye and if any little bits of eyeshadow drop, then you can clean those up when the look is complete.

It's nice to keep skin quite minimal, especially when you're doing a strong '90s lip or beautiful taupey browns... To pair them with fresher looking skin keeps eveything looking really flattering and a little bit more modern.
STEP 2: I started off by prepping the eyes with a creamy shadow base. That went all over the lids, right up to the brow, and actually down below the lash line too.

STEP 3: Then, I added a little bit of kohl pencil, just to increase the intensity around the line and blended that out slightly. I then set everything with eyeshadows from the Charlotte Tilbury [Instant Eye] palette.

STEP 4: I then applied lots of mascara, and a few individual lashes too just to give eyes some real 'va va voom'.

STEP 5: I applied the pillow talk lipstick last... that just brought everything together, because it was such a great match to the eyeshadow tones.

I think the secret to creating a strong, smokey eye that's still flattering is making sure that the edges are quite softly diffused.
The easiest way to do a smokey eye is to work first with creamy products, so whether that's a creamy eyeshadow or a penicl that you're blending out. If you try and build up intensity with powders alone, that's when things can get a little messy and they can be a bit harder to blend.