How to Achieve the Grunge Smokey Eye Seen All Over the Runway

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How to Achieve the Grunge Smokey Eye Seen All Over the Runway featured image

A sultry, smokey eye has been a staple across red carpets and runways for decades, but last week’s New York Fashion Week shows took the buffed-out, defined eye to a whole new level. While the “rockstar girlfriend” inspired eye look has been on the rise across social media for some time now, the makeup artists behind the most coveted NYFW shows upped the ante when it came to dramatic, eye-focused looks. From designers like PatBo to Christian Cowan and Prabal Gurung, smoked-out, messy yet chic eye looks were the star of countless runway beauty looks.

While the intense, smokey eye may look simple at first glance, achieving that perfectly smudged and glamorously messy balance is no easy feat. If you’re anything like me and you’re dying to channel the vibes of the Fashion Week runway and make the elusive, smudgey eye look part of your routine, here’s how the expert makeup artist behind the smokey eyes at the PatBo F/W 24 show nailed the look every time.

Get The Look: Runway-Ready Smokey Eyes

Before the models hit the catwalk for PatBo’s show, I had the chance to talk to global beauty director at Stila Cosmetics, Charlie Riddle, about how he went about creating the models’ captivating, show-stopping smokey eye. As Riddle explains, the “smokeshow eye” and “eye-forward makeup looks” are definitely back on the runway, and the key to making these smudgey eyes the focus of your look is one part eye liner technique and one part contrast. “There’s still some soft femininity to these looks,” Riddle explains. “The skin is satin-like with an airbrushed texture, a natural finish and just the lightest kiss of blush to help the intention in the eyes really show.”

So, surprisingly enough, the first step in nailing the runway smokey eye is with a flawless base. On the PatBo models, Riddle used Stila’s Correct & Perfect All-In-One Color Correcting Palette ($45) to create a foundation for the natural yet airbrushed skin, and finished the look with the Stay All Day Blurring Setting Spray ($34) after concealer and foundation to solidify that satin-like texture.

Image via Mark Grgurich/Stila Cosmetics 

Now, onto the eyes. Riddle explains that “there’s actually no eye shadow used in this look,” which may sound surprising since the smokey eye is so effortlessly smudged and blended. But, in fact, the artist only used the brand’s Stay All Day Smudge Stick Liner ($22) and Smudge Pot ($20). “These are such Stila staple products, and they’re key to really getting that stark, black pigment,” Riddle explains. “After you tightline, waterline, and create a small wing to form the shape, its all about buffing out. Even though there’s some gradation from end to end, it’s all black pigment, the changes just depend on how much you diffuse out the product. It’s no shadow, just smudge.”

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