Easy Smokey Eye Tutorial!

The smokey eye. This is something I’ve been wanting to experiment with for awhile because it seems there are so many tutorials out there that show you how to get the smokey look – but they seem so difficult. I will be the first to admit that I can be pretty quickly defeated when I’m watching a Youtube tutorial and I see there are a ton of products needed for a look or that it takes a lot of time to achieve. It’s not that I’m impatient…okay, maybe it is, but I don’t always have a lot of money to spend on makeup (and brushes can be so expensive!) or a lot of time to get ready. In these situations I just want products that look great but don’t cost an arm and a leg, so to speak. And I want it to be easy enough to accomplish.

The point here is that I was scouring the web to find inspiration for this tutorial, and I found the perfect video from Refinery29 on which to base my Smokey Eye look. In the video, Taylor shows you how to achieve a sexy, smokey eye look using only two makeup products and two brushes.  The trouble is, Taylor doesn’t really tell you what products she is using and I have a feeling that the products are higher-end and probably relatively expensive.

My take on the Smokey Eye look is similar to Taylor’s in that I’ve chosen only two products (with an optional third) and two brushes, but I’ve found products that are inexpensive -all found at drug stores or Target- yet still work great and I explain the terminology that she uses in the video. I’ve also included a coppery brown Smokey look for those evenings where you still want the wow-factor but in a warmer, more wearable palette.

Here’s the classic black version:

Products we’ll be using, from left to right -

1. NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean, $4.50

2. NYX Cosmetics Slide On Eye Pencil in Black Sparkle, $8.00

3. E.l.f. Eye Crease Brush, $1.00

4. E.l.f. Blending Eye Brush, $1.00

5. Wet n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in #385B Don’t Steal My Thunder, $2.99

For any eye look that you want to last, you’ll need to start by priming your eye area. Typically I would use the Urban Decay Primer Potion, Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray or a Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow, but in this case I recommend using a NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil. This is where the optional product comes into play. You could always just go with your regular primer but the NYX pencil works both to prime and to add a wonderfully rich color to the smokey eye look.

STEP ONE: Either prime your entire eyelid area with an eyeshadow primer (E.l.f. has an inexpensive version or you could go with a Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Shadow in a neutral color), or pick up your NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean. Swipe the pencil over your lid, starting as close to the upper lash line as possible. You want the most concentrated color to go right into that lash line. Once you’ve gotten the lash line covered well, cover the rest of your eyelid with Black Bean. It’s all right if it doesn’t look perfect because we’re going to blend it in with a brush.

STEP TWO: Use the E.l.f. Eye Crease Brush to smudge Black Bean into the lash line even more. Then sweep it up from the lash line to the eye crease so that the black color is darkest at the lashes and then fades up into the crease.

STEP THREE: Take the NYX Slide On Eye Pencil in Black Sparkle and build color into the lash line. We will also be blending this in with a brush, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t swipe this pencil all over your lid, as we already have Black Bean as a base (unless you chose not to use Black Bean, in which case you will do Step Two with Black Sparkle instead and skip Step Three). With this pencil, line the upper inner rim of your eyelid. This is called tight lining. It will give the smokey look a bold, dramatic effect. Also line the lower inner rim of your eyelid.

STEP FOUR: Go back with the E.l.f. Eye Crease Brush and blend Black Sparkle from your lash line up into Black Bean, and into the crease. Once you’ve done this, take whatever color is still on the brush and blend from the outer corner of your eyelid down to the lower lash line. Only blend the color to about the first third of your lower lash line. The look so far should be dark and concentrated at the upper lash line and then should fade out into the crease and around to the lower lash line, with both inner rims lined.

STEP FIVE: Take the E.l.f. Blending Eye Brush and use it to blend the middle “crease” color from the Wet n’ Wild trio on to your eyelid, starting with the lash line like always. Move up from the lash line on to the rest of your eyelid.  As Taylor points out in her video, dab or pack it, don’t wipe it. That will save you from getting black eyeshadow all over your face. Then, use what is left on the brush and blend that into the crease of your eyelid. This shadow will not only add the black color to your crease but will set the eyeliner we’ve used.

Finish with your favorite mascara and admire your wonderful work.

Five steps and three products to an easy yet beautiful smokey eye look!

If you’d like to try this with subtler, copper colors, check out which products I recommend below:

Products from left to right:

1. NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in French Fries, $4.50

2. NYX Slide On Eye Pencil in Brown Perfection, $8.00

3. E.l.f. Eye Crease Brush, $1.00

4. E.l.f. Blending Eye Brush, $1.00

5. Wet n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in #335 Silent Treatment, $2.99

For this look, follow Steps 1-5 as with the classic black look, using the brown counterparts in place of the black products.

I hope this tutorial is helpful! If you’d like to see the Refinery29 video, you can find it here: http://www.refinery29.com/smoky-eye-video-tutorial.

If you try this look, let me know! Comment below or post a picture!

With love, Kristin

jordanchristine-deactivated2013 asked: I'm a huge fan of eyeliner, but I can't seem to find any that won't smudge by the end of the day. What are your favorite brands? Also, I'd love to learn how to do classic smoky eye makeup! Any tips?

Hi! What a great question. Eyeliner is surprisingly important to a makeup routine as it helps tremendously to make the eyes appear bright and to give you a more awake look. The first way I avoid smudging and disappearing liner is to make sure I use a good eyelid primer before I put on shadow or eyeliner. My personal favorite is the Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow. I put that on before shadow and everything on my eyes stays put all day. The Urban Decay Primer Potion is also great, and the E.l.f. line has a primer that is less expensive but still a good quality (you can find it at Target and local drug stores). 

After primer - and eyeshadow, in my case, but obviously you don’t have to use shadow for the primer to still hold your liner steady - I would choose a smooth liquid eyeliner. I find liquid liners give a crisp line and stay put on my eyelids better than a stick liner, though that can vary based on how oily or dry your eyelids are. Here are my favorite brands of eyeliner, whether of the pencil or liquid variety: 

From left to right (organized that way by consistency, starting with the most liquid to the least):

1. Mark. Get in Line Liquid Eyeliner - $6.50 on meetmark.com. This is my go-to eyeliner that I use almost every day. It has a small brush applicator that creates a fine, steady line. It lasts all day, no matter the circumstances of that day. I wear it to band camp (yes, band camp) and it lasts through blood, sweat and tears. My preferred color is the Coco Coquette, which is a deep brown, but they have a variety of colors for whatever you like best.

2. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner - $15 at Sephora or online. I just received this in my July Birchbox and I love it. The marker tip applicator is great for getting a good, solid line and it’s extremely easy to apply. I have this eyeliner in a bright teal color, which is great for adding a pop of color to your look without hitting anyone over the face with it.

3. Nyx Slide On Eye Pencils - You can pick these up at drugstores or in Ulta for $7.99. I have a couple of the Slide On Pencils because they come in a huge range of colors and have the perfect middle man consistency between liquid and pencil. These go on so ridiculously smoothly (luckily they do, or they’d have to change the name) and do actually stay put for a long time. I have them in black, white, and pink. I use the black for standard eyeliner and then I use the white and pink to line the bottom inner rims of my eyes to help my eyes appear brighter and to make me look awake. The black, as it happens, is also great for creating a smokey eye look.

4. Stila Smudge Stick Eyeliner - retails for $20.00 at Ulta, Sephora and online. I also received this in a Birchbox a couple of months ago and it’s my other go-to eyeliner when I don’t use the Mark. brand. It’s called a “smudge stick” because once you first put it on, you can smudge and blend it into your lash line to either do a great smokey look or to just get a less precise line. Once it sets, though, it’s on there for good. I even have trouble removing this at the end of the day, sometimes. This is definitely more of a pencil than a liquid liner and it goes on beautifully. I have the color Lionfish, which is a rich copper, but it also comes in a range of shades for your particular tastes. 

Those are my favorite picks for eyeliners! You could always experiment with more high-end brands if you wish, but I think that a great liner that is affordable is better than a super expensive version that works the same way. 

I shall answer your Smokey Eye Makeup questions in a separate post, as to do it proper justice. 

Thanks for asking, and I hope this helped! 

With love, Kristin. 

Nail of the day! Revlon Nail Polish in No. 310 - “Timeless,” two coats. $4.99 for such a fabulous grey color that I’m sure I’ll be wearing throughout Fall and Winter. I love grey as a neutral (I guess it is a neutral anyway, isn’t it?) - so I guess it’s like my equivalent of light pink or nude. Move over Essie Ballet Slippers and Cocktail Bling! I love love love the Revlon formula. It went on so smoothly and looks chic and elegant. I definitely recommend this!

Nail of the day! Revlon Nail Polish in No. 310 - “Timeless,” two coats. $4.99 for such a fabulous grey color that I’m sure I’ll be wearing throughout Fall and Winter. I love grey as a neutral (I guess it is a neutral anyway, isn’t it?) - so I guess it’s like my equivalent of light pink or nude. Move over Essie Ballet Slippers and Cocktail Bling! I love love love the Revlon formula. It went on so smoothly and looks chic and elegant. I definitely recommend this!

July Beauty Favorites!

I’m sure I’m only jumping on the bandwagon of those who can’t believe this month is almost over. How did the summer go by this quickly? I’ve barely even finished writing my to-do list for July and now I’m out of time. Despite not accomplishing much this month - it’s been so dang hot - I have had plenty of time to shop and try out a few products that have now become my favorites.

From top left to bottom:

Boscia BB Cream with SPF 27 PA++

Harvey Prince “Hello” Perfume

Benefit BrowZings Brow Shaping Kit

Maybelline New York Dream Bouncy Blush in No. 5 Fresh Pink

BeautyBlender Makeup Sponge

How do I love thee, Boscia BB Cream? Let me count the ways. Firstly, you’re oil-free. This is such a dramatic step up from the Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream that I can’t believe I bought that oil slick in the first place. Secondly, even though you look dark in the bottle, you melt effortlessly and smoothly into my skin, taking the tone of whatever color I have that day. Seriously, though, this BB cream is so much better than the Garnier that it’s worth the $38.00 price tag. I happened to get a sample of this in my July Birchbox and loved it so much I bought the full size (or, okay, two full size versions). If you like BB Creams and hate oily messes, buy this one. You won’t regret it.

The Harvey Prince collection of perfumes has been one that I’ve received multiple times in my Birchbox this year. I enjoyed the Lavender Pumpkin scent that I sampled last fall and I love this summer perfume. The combination of lemon, mandarin, forsythia and plumeria provides such a lovely and happy floral/citrus experience. It’s light enough to be an everyday scent yet has enough of the floral to translate to fall.

I’ve recently become a bit of an eyebrow snob. Or, a snob in the sense that now I can’t leave my house without making sure my brows are filled in. I got this kit at Ulta after the Benefit Brow Bar lady gave me a tutorial in brow maintenance. Perhaps a bit expensive for what it is, but I do love it for the natural yet polished look it gives my eyebrows. I look and feel like a legitimate lady when I do my brows with this kit.

Towards the end of the month I picked up the Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush at Target. I’ve been trying to find drug store gems that I can easily repurchase when I’m back on campus, and this blush is going to become a new staple for me. It feels like a powder despite its cream texture in the package and it glides on so naturally. The sheer wash of bright pink on my cheeks (which is No. 5, Fresh Pink, to be specific) is so lovely and distracts from any natural redness I might get towards the bottom of my face. It instantly perks up my complexion and looks amazing with the Boscia BB cream as a base.

I’ve had the BeautyBlender sponge for a long long time. I received it in an early Birchbox (are you seeing a trend here?) and thought that since I never use sponges for my makeup -being previously a powder person - it was a useless find. Not so anymore. When I finally realized that I needed to stop fighting myself and accept that my dry skin needs a liquid foundation, I picked up the BeautyBlender and, following the directions to wet it and ring out the excess water first, felt the makeup melt into my skin. This sponge gives such a great, flawless finish to my Benefit foundation and the water barrier it creates stops the sponge from soaking up all of the makeup. There are days when it’s just quicker for me to use a brush but when I have some extra time to really enjoy putting on my face, I reach for the BeautyBlender.

Those are my favorites this month! What are yours? Leave us a comment!

With love, Kristin.

(Source: thecrownlessblog.wordpress.com)

New bag! I bought this orange and tan faux leather cross body purse from Francesca’s Collections for $40 last week. It has a gold twist lock closure and an adorable black and white triangle print inside. It holds the basics and adds polish to my wardrobe. I love it! What do you think?

New bag! I bought this orange and tan faux leather cross body purse from Francesca’s Collections for $40 last week. It has a gold twist lock closure and an adorable black and white triangle print inside. It holds the basics and adds polish to my wardrobe. I love it! What do you think?

angelamariec asked: So.. I've been looking around for face washes to use for my skin. I get break outs and I haven't found anything that's been able to work well. I tried some products that work well for a while but then they plateau and stop helping me. So I want to switch it up, I've also been drinking water lately to try to help. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!!

I also am quite acne-prone and mostly suffer from breakouts when I stop using my typical skincare routine, which has been working well for keeping acne at bay. 

I would suggest the Neutrogena Exfoliating Acne Scrub to really clean out your skin so that your acne treatment products work more effectively. If you don’t want to use an exfoliant every day, try Cetaphil for a gentler cleanse on alternate days. After the face wash, try a topical treatment like Tea Tree Oil or Persagel to help clear up any blemishes. Finish with a good moisturizer like Garnier Moisture Rescue or your favorite oil-free version to lock in the products and protect your skin. 

Hope this helps! 

Interview with an Artist: Molly Sanyour

I’m back with Molly Sanyour, the elementary school art teacher and potter from Henrico County, VA who created the beautiful pieces of pottery that I picked up at the Farmers Market last weekend (check out that post here!). This time, she answered a few questions to let us into her world where she celebrates a fearless attitude of not allowing yourself to be discouraged by someone else’s expectations.

Molly responded to my questions via Facebook. Her enthusiasm for her artwork and the people she meets because of it was apparent.

TheCrownless: Did you always have a knack for art?

Molly Sanyour: Art was always my favorite subject since I was a kid, and if you ask me it was probably everyone else’s favorite subject too! I remember my art teacher introducing us to clay and it was simply the most fun thing ever! I would go in during recess to see if I could make things and work on various projects, and she was nice enough to let me! I finally got to high school where I never felt that I shined as an artist or that I should make art a focus, rather I was persuaded to drop art after taking it freshman and sophomore year. I remember along the way someone told me that if you can find something that makes you happy and make a job of it, well that’s the key to happiness.

Realizing that art (which, come on, who didn’t have the most fun in art class?) could be a major and taken seriously, I signed up for a wheel throwing class. I was so excited to finally pursue what really made me happy! I was really drawn to clay because I loved the idea that you can make whatever you want and then use it! Plus I love to entertain so the idea that I could make just the right sized serving dish or a platter just made me happy!

Read the whole article here! 

July Birchbox: Glamour Magazine Edition!

It’s July! It’s Birchbox! It’s Glamour! What a great combination. Today, my friends, was the day that the practically Rastafarian mailman dropped off my little Birchbox package. With this month’s team up, Birchbox is celebrating Glamour Magazine’s “Five Senses of Summer” theme.

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you know that I have a love-hate relationship with Birchbox. I started out as thrilled with my boxes each month, using a majority of the products, but  after awhile, the items in my Birchbox became rather pointless. They were skimping on products and repeating things I’d already gotten. I was disappointed to say the least and unsubscribed after I was really let down by the Gossip Girl box. Well, when I saw that Birchbox was teaming up with Glamour (not to mention that the only other subscription service that seemed worth it – Glossybox- was twice as much as this one), I decided to give them another chance.

I am pleased to report that this month’s box made me glad I resubscribed!

Here’s what I opened:

In my box, which was super colorful this month, I received:

1. Harvey Prince Perfume in “Hello”

2. Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

3. LARABAR Über snack bar

4. Birchbox Exclusive Neon Earbuds

5. boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA+++

6. amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask

7. amika Obliphica Hair Treatment

   
 
I haven’t tried everything, but the few things I have tested out I am very impressed with. The earbuds, yeah, they’re cheap and have crappy quality but they’re adorable and they get the job done. I love the colors and they’d work for running because they stay in well and I wouldn’t be worried about getting sweat all over them. The Harvey Prince perfume smells fantastic! I loved the last Harvey Prince perfume they sent me months and months ago (maybe September), so knew I’d be happy with this one. It smells floral and fruity and I can’t wait to wear it for the rest of this summer. I am enjoying my Garnier BB Cream so it’s exciting to have the boscia one in my arsenal to try out next. The only thing that confuses me is the Eyeko Liquid Eyeliner. There is no color name on the liner, just a blue end. Yet the color of the liner in the pen is green. I’m not sure what to do with that but green liner is a neat way to sneak bold color into your look so I’m looking forward to trying that out too.
That’s my Birchbox success story for this month! Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What did you get in your box?
If you don’t subscribe and you would like to, the service costs $10 a month for 4-5 higher end brand beauty and lifestyle products. The excellence of the boxes when they’re good far outweigh the few crummy boxes I’ve gotten. Typically even the crummy boxes had one or two products that I ended up incorporating into my normal beauty routine. I’d recommend trying it out for a month or two if you’re interested! I’m certainly glad I came back.
Talk to you soon! Love, Kristin
As everyone has probably noticed (seeing as it’s July), summertime is upon us. Hot days and warm nights with a good healthy dose of humidity normally call for light, natural-looking makeup that will look fresh but won’t feel sticky. A good way to achieve any kind of natural, sunny summer look is to skip blush and go for bronzer.
I’ve compiled a small list of four well-loved bronzers, both higher end and drugstore so that you can find one for your price point. 
1.) NARS Bronzer in Laguna - $34.00 at Sephora, narscosmetics.com
Consumer Review from Sephora.com: ”Wow. I can’t believe how wonderful this bronzer looks on my skin! I have tried so many bronzers and don’t like the way they look on my skin- too glittery, too orange, didn’t blend well.. NARS’s Laguna looks fantastic on my skin.”
Our advice: If you are looking for a product to invest in, that you think you’ll use for awhile, get this bronzer. I have never heard a bad review of this product and so many beauty gurus swear by it. It seems to fit a wide range of skin tones, including fair tones, so it should look flawless and warm on anyone. Also, it has a bit of a golden shimmer but it blends well so it gives you a beautiful, glowing finish. 
-
2.) NYX Cosmetics Matte Bronzer - $9.00 at drugstores, Ulta, or nyxcosmetics.com
Consumer Review from Ulta.com: "It’s a wonderfully pigmented bronzer, that is completely matte. It blends perfectly and you can use it all over. I ordered it in medium, and it is the perfect shade for a medium/lightish skin tone."
Our advice: If you’re looking for little to no shimmer in your bronzer, this is a good choice. It is heavily pigmented, so apply it with a light hand. It does blend well and leaves a natural finish. 
-
3.) Physician’s Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Bronzer - $13.95 at drugstores and Ulta
Consumer Review from Ulta.com: “Happy Booster Bronzer is excellent for faking a natural golden tan and is really great for contouring cheeks. I actually was complimented on my “tan” the other day! I have fair skin and the blending is awesome. It doesn’t appear orange at all, just a nice deep golden glow!”
Our advice: This product claims to not only give you a nice bronzed look but also to boost your mood using natural plant extract that acts similarly to how endorphins act. It is more on the shimmery side for bronzers, so go toward this product if you like the shimmery effect. It smells good - which is a plus. Make sure to moisturize well before using this product, however, because some users have noticed that after repeated applications it has led their skin to break out. Create a good barrier between your skin and the makeup with moisturizer and you should be able to prevent that from happening. 
-
4.) Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer - $28.00 at Sephora, Benefitcosmetics.com
Consumer Review from Sephora.com: “This is very flattering and can start sheer but is very buildable if you need it. It gives a great matte natural glow.” 
Our advice: Use a nice all-over powder brush to apply this bronzer. Don’t use the brush it comes with as it may leave the color streaky on your cheeks. Overall, this is a great product. I personally love the Benefit line of makeup (I use their Oxygen Wow foundation and their Browzings eyebrow kit) so I would definitely recommend this as a glowing, matte bronzer that gives you a good amount of color. It’s a slightly less expensive version of NARS Laguna but with less shimmer. 
What do you think? Let me know if you’ve tried any of these bronzers and you like them or dislike them or if you have a bronzer of your own you’d recommend!
Thank you to Taletreader for requesting this post! 
Happy glowing,
Kristin 

As everyone has probably noticed (seeing as it’s July), summertime is upon us. Hot days and warm nights with a good healthy dose of humidity normally call for light, natural-looking makeup that will look fresh but won’t feel sticky. A good way to achieve any kind of natural, sunny summer look is to skip blush and go for bronzer.


I’ve compiled a small list of four well-loved bronzers, both higher end and drugstore so that you can find one for your price point. 

1.) NARS Bronzer in Laguna - $34.00 at Sephora, narscosmetics.com

Consumer Review from Sephora.com: ”Wow. I can’t believe how wonderful this bronzer looks on my skin! I have tried so many bronzers and don’t like the way they look on my skin- too glittery, too orange, didn’t blend well.. NARS’s Laguna looks fantastic on my skin.”

Our advice: If you are looking for a product to invest in, that you think you’ll use for awhile, get this bronzer. I have never heard a bad review of this product and so many beauty gurus swear by it. It seems to fit a wide range of skin tones, including fair tones, so it should look flawless and warm on anyone. Also, it has a bit of a golden shimmer but it blends well so it gives you a beautiful, glowing finish. 

-

2.) NYX Cosmetics Matte Bronzer - $9.00 at drugstores, Ulta, or nyxcosmetics.com

Consumer Review from Ulta.com: "It’s a wonderfully pigmented bronzer, that is completely matte. It blends perfectly and you can use it all over. I ordered it in medium, and it is the perfect shade for a medium/lightish skin tone."

Our advice: If you’re looking for little to no shimmer in your bronzer, this is a good choice. It is heavily pigmented, so apply it with a light hand. It does blend well and leaves a natural finish. 

-

3.) Physician’s Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Bronzer - $13.95 at drugstores and Ulta

Consumer Review from Ulta.com: “Happy Booster Bronzer is excellent for faking a natural golden tan and is really great for contouring cheeks. I actually was complimented on my “tan” the other day! I have fair skin and the blending is awesome. It doesn’t appear orange at all, just a nice deep golden glow!”

Our advice: This product claims to not only give you a nice bronzed look but also to boost your mood using natural plant extract that acts similarly to how endorphins act. It is more on the shimmery side for bronzers, so go toward this product if you like the shimmery effect. It smells good - which is a plus. Make sure to moisturize well before using this product, however, because some users have noticed that after repeated applications it has led their skin to break out. Create a good barrier between your skin and the makeup with moisturizer and you should be able to prevent that from happening. 

-

4.) Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer - $28.00 at Sephora, Benefitcosmetics.com

Consumer Review from Sephora.com: “This is very flattering and can start sheer but is very buildable if you need it. It gives a great matte natural glow.” 

Our advice: Use a nice all-over powder brush to apply this bronzer. Don’t use the brush it comes with as it may leave the color streaky on your cheeks. Overall, this is a great product. I personally love the Benefit line of makeup (I use their Oxygen Wow foundation and their Browzings eyebrow kit) so I would definitely recommend this as a glowing, matte bronzer that gives you a good amount of color. It’s a slightly less expensive version of NARS Laguna but with less shimmer. 

What do you think? Let me know if you’ve tried any of these bronzers and you like them or dislike them or if you have a bronzer of your own you’d recommend!

Thank you to Taletreader for requesting this post! 

Happy glowing,

Kristin 

taletreader asked: I've been looking for a good bronzer--could you do a post about that?

Sure! :D 

Coming right up.