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A sultry eye is demystified by a sought-after makeup artist with this step-by-step tutorial.
Written By Lexy Lebsack
5-Step Party Eyes  |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit
5-Step Party Eyes  |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit

– PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROBIN BLACK IN THE STUDIO WITH VIOLET GREY

While a bold-red lip is always tempting during a season packed with parties, it’s rarely as straightforward as it seems, what with all of the mirror-checking and constant reapplication involved. A smoky eye, its sultry and mysterious counterpart, gets an undeserving reputation for being difficult and intimidating, and can seem unapproachable if you don’t have experience. While no one ever said it was easy, spending time mastering a foolproof technique before the holiday parties are in full swing is well worth the effort. To wit: Once you have the basics down, you can create looks with varying degrees of impact, in a variety of shades, and commit to making it a steady, reliable standby.
The beautifully soft and universally flattering stare above is the handiwork of red-carpet makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis, created exclusively for VIOLET GREY. The French artist is sought after, in part, for her ability to create the perfect smoky eye. (Her client roster includes Kate Hudson, Olivia Wilde, Rosamund Pike and Lea Michelle.) Below, her step-by-step technique for building a deep, defined eye without harsh edges, and the products she used to create the party-ready look above.

THE
5-STEP
SMOKY EYE

BY  Mélanie Inglessis

1

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5

To begin, sketch a soft line on the entire top lash line and around to the outside half of the bottom lash line with Tom Ford’s Defining Eye Pencil in Onyx. Don't worry about it being precise, as you will blend the color into the shadow shortly. The primary goal is to define the lash line.

2

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5

Lightly dust M.A.C.’s Eye Shadow in Smut over the entire eyelid, and feather it into the crease of the eye. Use minimal product (dip your brush into the shadow, then tap it onto a hard surface to ensure the lightest application), and layer it slowly, using a small shadow brush for precision. (Violet suggests Utowa’s Regular Eyeshadow Brush 10.) The goal is to darken and define the lid and crease. You may clean up any mistakes or powder that falls onto the cheekbones as you go with a cotton swab moistened with face cream or makeup remover.

3

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5

Next, add dimension and build out the shape of the eye. Using a blending brush for a diffused application (Violet suggests Bobbi Brown’s Eye Blender Brush), layer the bottom right hue from Tom Ford’s palette over the shadow and liner on the top lid. Continue to add more color to build the shape of the eyes. Switch back to the smaller shadow brush (Violet suggests Utowa’s Regular Eyeshadow Brush 10) and blend the same hue over the liner on the bottom lash line. Remove excess color from the brush with a dry tissue, then blend the top right hue into the inner corners of the eyes and into the liner and darker shadow with the same brush.

4

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5

Use your ring finger to dab Giorgio Armani’s Eyes To Kill Intense Silk Eyeshadow in No. 8 onto the center of the top lid, close to the lash line, and the inner corners of the eyes. This delivers a shimmery finish that makes the eyes appear wider and brighter. Then gently blend the colors together.

5

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5

Curl the lashes, and apply a thick coat of Tom Ford’s Extreme Mascara in Ravenous Black to the top lashes, pushing the brush into the roots and wiggling it up through the lashes. Then use Bobbi Brown’s Smokey Eye Mascara in Black on the bottom lashes; its smaller-width brush allows for a more precise application on the bottom lashes. 

Artist
Profile

“It takes arriving at a certain point in your career to not feel like you have to show off your skills at every single job,” makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis told VIOLET GREY. “When you’re just starting out you always want to push the envelope, but it’s not always appropriate for the situation. Sometimes I just take a step back because the dress is there or the hair is there, and I don’t feel as if I have cheated if I don’t do much.”

Not that she needs to prove her skills. The Paris-born artist’s alma mater is London College of Fashion (the school incubates top-tier talent from a variety of creative disciplines including Stella McCartney and Kate Lee), and she assisted artists like Val Garland, Charlotte Tilbury and Pat McGrath before hopping the pond to begin a successful editorial and celebrity career Stateside. And while her charmed start in makeup would suggest otherwise, she did not, in fact, have childhood aspirations or connections in the industry. Instead, her curiosity started in her early 20s, when she literally wandered into the university’s admissions office one night after work at a local bar. Enter a passionate work ethic and fast-forward more than a decade, and Inglessis’s client roster is a who’s who of Hollywood: Olivia Wilde, Kate Hudson, Rosamund Pike and Cameron Diaz.

Of course, Inglessis still likes to go big, flexing her signature — “fresh, natural skin and a cool, rock ‘n’ roll smoky eye” — when the occasion calls for it. Her clients happily oblige her in whatever she feels is best, naturally. “I’m lucky enough to work with beautiful ladies who trust me and trust what I do,” she says.
"I’m lucky enough to work with beautiful ladies who TRUST me and trust what I do." —Mélanie Inglessis, Makeup Artist  |  #VioletGrey, The Industry's Beauty Edit
I’m lucky enough to work with beautiful ladies who TRUST me and trust
 what I do.
—  Mélanie Inglessis, makeup artist
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