You’re never too old for a smoky eye

— by Alyson Walsh

It’s the iconic party look, says Vicci Bentley. But an editor once told me, she’d taken a straw poll round the office on whether anyone over-50 should do a smoky eye. Her 20-something assistants gave the thumbs down – they couldn’t cope with the idea of their mums rocking a sultry look. Well, how very ageist and really rather jejune. But there is a danger zone here. On older eyes, smeary shadow looks louche at best, derelict at worst and oddly weary in between. And let’s face it, perfect liner’s a terrifying challenge even if you lids aren’t wrinkly. On the other hand, senior eyes do need definition – something I’ve found especially since my hair’s been grey. The good news is, that a smoky eye doesn’t have to be perfect to make your eyes ‘pop’ in a good way. Relax – the beauty’s in the blur, FAB makeup artist Louise Heywood reassures us. Here’s the way to go.

Layer the liner

1: Prime lids with flesh-toned cream shadow or concealer from lashline to browbone. This blocks out any redness and gives colour products a smooth, blendable base. We used Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Layin’ Low.

2: To avoid a smoky-eye looking heavy, it’s important to concentrate all colour on the outer lids and keep keeping the inner third ‘nude’. So, for basic defining, work a soft, inky black pencil liner between the lashes all along the upper lashline (no need to be precise). Then smudge outwards and upwards a quarter of the way towards the lid crease. We used Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Blacquer.

3: Now layer matt plum over the black, smudge-blending upwards into the crease with a brush. Whatever your eye colour, plummy tones will magically intensify it, while making whites look brighter. We used creamy Laura Mercier Kajal D’Orient Eyeliner in Vino.

4: Top with a sheeny bronze for an elegant, low-key sparkle, working right into the creaseline. We used Sisley Phyto Eye Twist No.7.

5: Here’s the really clever bit. Starting where your lashes start, trace your black pencil liner inside the upper waterline (to do this, gently pull your lid up to expose the pink under-rim). Doesn’t matter if you wobble – it won’t show. This ‘secret liner’ does, however, do wonders to focus your eyes and make lashes look thicker, so you don’t have to overdo the mascara. Speaking of which, we used Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara in No.1 on upper and lower lashes. And you’re done!

Go for it – take your look to the next razzle-dazzle level

They’ll tell you glitter’s for the girls. They’ll warn you shimmer shows up lines. And besides, it’s rather naff, don’t you know? Don’t listen to this dull naysaying. Used shrewdly and positioned niftily, those defining, shining accents liven your basic makeup look with an elegantly youthful vibe, says Louise. Now let’s grab some limelight.

1: Sketch gold pencil in a Xmas tree shape (sorry, triangle!) on the centre lids. Then diffuse with a brush to a subtle sheen. We used Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil in 06 Gold

2: Matt lip tints won’t feather into pucker lines, but they can look dry and tight after a while. Use them as a base, then moisten them with a gilt-y gloss on the centre lips only, where it gives a plump illusion without risk of bleeding off. We used Victoria Beckham Aura Gloss in 01 Honey over Dior Rouge Touch Liquid in Jungle Matt.

3: Here’s a nifty bit of nail art. Brush gold spangly polish on the tips only – no need to be precise. Then seal with a couple of layers of clear top coat. The result’s an elegant, unexpected eye-catching glint – as if you’ve dipped your fingers in the glitter pot. We used Diorific Nail Liner Shine & Precision in Precious Rocks.


Team FAB: Photographer: Annie Johnston. Beauty editor: Vicci Bentley. Fashion stylist: Alyson Walsh. Model: Silvina Neder. Make-up: Louise Heywood. Hair: Marco at Ena Salon, 5 Great Queen Street, London WC2 (020 3301 5451).

First photo: Silvina wears black lace dress by Ghost, earrings by Pilgrim.

Second photo: Silvina wears: gold lamé blouse, By Malene Birger from Precious Boutique (also available HERE) and earrings by Nocturne.

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It’s the iconic party look, says Vicci Bentley. But an editor once told me, she’d taken a straw poll round the office on whether anyone over-50 should do a smoky eye.