Chalk it up as another reason life isn’t fair. The only way we’ve ever achieved smudgy, "lived-in" liner is when we’ve broken the biggest beauty rule of them all and slept in our makeup. Once in a blue moon, and probably after one too many Blue Moons, you’re fine, but making it a regular occurrence is a major no-go.
So we checked in with a celebrity makeup artist—someone who has to create the look without requiring her clients to stay up all night—and scored the how-to.
According to Monika Blunder, a pro who created the smouldering look above for January Jones, it's best to start the eye makeup before your foundation, concealer, or the rest of your face makeup. This eliminates clean-up from shadow fallout or any stray streaks of eyeliner.
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Next, she primes the eye. This helps your product actually stuck to the eyelid—we love Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($22; sephora.com). Then, she suggests taking an eyeliner pencil and lining both the "upper and lower eye rim." Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner ($25; sephora.com) is an easy-to-use pencil that works for sharp wings or smudgy looks like the one we're describing. Blunder says she'll take a fine dome brush and get that black on her lower lashes as well. "Don’t think too hard about it. It’s all in the smudging and in the blending," she tells us.
If you're not using shadow, use your fingers to gently smudge the liner into your lid, or use the brush. If you are using a shadow, Blunder says to keep the color close to your lash line. "Don’t go too far up to your eyebrow. Some people go too far up and it looks outdated," she warns.
Finish it off by repeating the process with a different darker color, like dark green or navy blue. "I always like to balance it out with not just a black color but bring in a dark brown. I find that balances the eye look rather than when it’s just all black."
But the smudgy eye is a close cousin of the messy bun. Flow through the steps without too much focus and you're set. Sounds a little like last Saturday now doesn't it?