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In the grand search for my summer beauty look, a smoky eye—classic as it is—would be a pretty unlikely candidate. Typically I’d wait for the fall and leave the warm months open to coral-tinged blushes, bronze-y highlighters, and bright red lip glosses. But when makeup artist Wendy Rowe showed up in the studio ready to create a dark, shadowy eye on model Hannah Elyse, the end result was a less-than-traditional version of the look that felt surprisingly perfect for a summer night out. That’s because it’s not stamped on or heavy. Instead Wendy gave Hannah what she called a “lived-in” smoky eye.

The key is to start with “a really soft kohl,” Wendy told me. “You’ll just dot it around the lash line and smudge it in with your finger.” On Hannah she demonstrated using Nars Zardoz, which she initially applied with a brush before blending with her fingertip. Next, she took a “mauve-y, brown-y purple,” and smoothed it across the rest of the eyelid, blending it all together with the kohl “so it looks quite soft. It’s more youthful—the skin has this veil of color.” Unlike a more traditional smoky eye which, she says, “can make people’s eyes look quite sunken,” the blended tactic “keeps most of the color close to the lash line, making the pigment over the eyelid quite sheer. It’s a smoky eye, but it’s not solid.”

On Hannah’s skin Wendy sculpted with the Burberry Contour Pen and Burberry Fresh Glow Nude Radiance “to pick up her skin slightly. It’s highlighting without highlighter.” She used Glossier Skin Tint as a base, but with a slightly darker foundation on the hollows of the cheeks for a natural looking contour. Then, for more modernity, Wendy mixed Glossier Cloud paint in Haze with a bit of Vaseline and “rubbed it down the cheek, all the way to the jawline “rather than on the apple and up, to give a more worn-in flush.” She finished with Burberry First Kiss in Sweet Plum on Hannah’s lips. No mascara. “I bleached her brows as well because the dark next to the white is striking, and it helps so the eye doesn’t look too gothic. It’s a bit more modern, fresher.”

The last step is easy: “The makeup will move, and it will look more and more realistic as you wear it,” Wendy says. Let it.

—Anna Stevenett

Hannah Elyse photographed by Tom Newton. Makeup by Wendy Rowe. Styled by Carolina Oricco. Hair by Clara Leonard.

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