As a staunch advocate of the smoky eye – so fun, so flattering, so easy to fling on – and an even firmer fan of Tom Ford’s Cocoa Mirage matte brown eyeshadow palette, you may be surprised to learn that I rarely venture out with a smoky eye that’s shimmer-free.
The reasons are many. First, matte is harder work, requiring longer blending time than I generally have. Second, I find it can look a tad hard in daylight, a bit Vicki Michelle in ‘Allo ‘Allo, aka undoubtably sexy but really rather present and a trifle try-hard for my liking. Finally, adding light is as important as adding shadow when enhancing, and a little twinkle of something behind the lash line opens an eye like nothing else.
So here’s what I do. I pop on my matte shadows, blend them for as long as I can, dip my finger in a shimmery shadow, tap it onto the centre of my eyelid, apply a coat of mascara (or three), and go on my merry way. Try it: you’ll find it the most forgiving, easy way to make a smoky eye look polished in an instant.
N.B. With regards to worrying about shimmer clinging in crow’s feet and what not, be precise with application; this goes on your eyelid, not all around your eye socket – that is the work of a matte. Also, pick your formula wisely. The below suggestions reflect without pooling in wrinkles.
Shadows I recommend for the job //
– Bobbi Brown Sparkly Eyeshadow (especially in All Spice) / This is the shadow I’m wearing in the main picture – and the one I reach for around 90% of the time I’m doing this look. It contains some colour pigments, so will still look good if you’re not laid down the groundwork of a shadow before applying, though I far prefer it with a little matte brown underneath for maximum impact.
– Chanel Illusion d’Ombre / Though I still mourn the New Moon discontinued shadow that gave such inimitably beautiful shimmer, the other shades in this range are brilliant, though the Global Creative Make-up and Colour Director for Chanel, Lucia Pica, has updated some of the colours and formulas. Based on the two new ones I’ve tried, this is a good thing, though I’d recommend going to a counter to test before buying.
– Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow / This shadow is very pleasingly shimmery indeed, and the colours Copper and Bronze are especially good, combining just the right amount of pigment with shimmer. As these are really quite creamy, I’d recommend tapping just the smallest amount in the centre of your eyelid and blending outwards – a little goes an awfully long way.