By Erin Lukas
Updated Aug 15, 2016 @ 3:15 pm
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INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 03: Zendaya arrives at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

There’s a lot of reasons we admire Zendaya. Along with being a talented singer and actress, the 19-year-old face of CoverGirl is fearless when it comes to her red carpet beauty looks, which she often does herself. Although the K.C. Confidential star has tried everything from red lips to turquoise liner, there’s one makeup staple that she regularly falls back on: a killer smoky eye.

The smudged eyeshadow look may be the cornerstone of every good makeup routine, but considering all of the blending and eyeshadow shades needed for the job, if you’re a first-timer, knowing where to start is completely overwhelming. So, we were skeptical when we asked Zendaya the secret behind her technique and she told us that “it might seem like I’m making it sound easy, but smoky eyes are one of the easiest to do.” Surprisingly, the key to Zendaya’s is actually pretty simple. “Think of your eye makeup like a sunset painting, and you’re layering the shades on top like the gradient of a sunset.”

First, Zendaya starts with a warm brown (the middle shade in the look) and brushes it into the crease so that it “pre-sets up” your blend. Although you can rock whatever shades you prefer, she sticks with the nude, gold, and rose shades in CoverGirl TruNaked Nudes Eyeshadow Palette ($10; “The darkest color will go around your lash line so if you try to blend with the dark color already there, it gets kind of messy and dirty looking so you want to start with the blended color,” she explains.

Once she has the shadow in the crease, Zendaya takes a black liner like CoverGirl Perfect Point Eyeliner in Black Onyx ($5; and draws on a line following the lash line without worrying about making it perfect, and then smudges it with a black shadow. Next, Zendaya takes the brown shadow from before and then a lighter highlight color and layers them on top. “You want it to look like that sunset painting,” she says. “It goes, black, brown, then light brown, and blend up!” After, she dusts some black shadow on the lower lid and liner on the waterline for extra definition.

Her final detail: a few generous coats of a fiber mascara like CoverGirl LashBlast Super Sizers Fiber Mascara ($6; for lashes so long, everyone will swear you’re wearing falsies.