It’s not wrong to stick to your tried and trusted smoky eye come party season, but if you’re willing to go out on a limb with this season’s sequined jumpsuits or velvet tuxes, why not take a chance on your makeup, too? Your eyes are the best place to begin and lend themselves to a wardrobe of different looks. From crystal-encrusted lids to smudgy sunset tones, metallic washes to thick graphic flicks, it actually doesn’t matter what finery you’re clad in from the neck down, because everyone will be focused on your beautiful blinkers.
These are much less maintenance than a lip look as well; there’s no need for endless reapplications every time you need a drink top-up. Win-win. Click through for inspiration.
Flicks never go out of fashion, but swerve the black for a flash of teal. A bit Bowie, a lot Studio 54—if there’s any chance of disco dancing at your party of choice, this is for you. To get a crisp flick, use a ruler and angle it from the edge of your eye up towards the end of your brow where it starts to taper off. Use a liquid liner with a non-bendy nib,like Too Faced Sketch Marker Liquid Art Liner (£17), to give you that sharp precision—a pencil will be too smudgy. Take the line right into the tear duct and keep the rest of your makeup to a minimum.
A highlighted cheek and balmed lip are all you need.
If you like a smoky eye but are stuck in a rut with it, pull out the glitter à la Ashish. Keep it to under the waterline and choose black specks over silver or coloured sparkle for a more rock-chic look. A touch of turquoise in the corners will lighten the look if you’re concerned it’s all starting to look a little goth. As for the lids, create an almond shape of shadow using a thick fluffy brush, and don’t worry about going outside the lines; blending it up to the brows is acceptable. EcoStardust Biodegradable Glitter (£4) gets our vote as it’s ace for your eyes and the environment (i.e., it won’t pollute the ocean).
For spring/summer, kohl-lined rims are back in business, not that they’ve ever really been out of fashion, let’s be honest. Nineties Kate Moss, you are our inspiration, especially at party season, when we all want out eyes to look sexy and slept in. It also helps when you’ve got back-to-back parties and you do actually end up sleeping in your makeup. Pencil kohls and cotton buds will be your go-to here, and make sure you join your liner at either edge of your eyes. Any hint of pink waterline will crush the broody illusion you’re portraying.
If you like the thought of slept in makeup but you need your party eyes to be office-appropriate, swap the dark palette for metallics that are subtle enough to see you through the 9-to-5 but special enough to make a statement come happy hour. Greens and turquoises are the perfect shades. Using a super smudgy crayon liner like Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel in Top Seacret (£20) and take the colour underneath your waterline in a U shape, but don’t drag it to the ends—keep it in the centre so it frames your iris.
Add some mascara and pinch your lashes together to create a wet-look effect that’s some might pass off as mermaid-esque.
Who says eye makeup has to be about liner or shadow? Brows are like the LBD for your face: reliable, flattering and appropriate for every occasion. For extra-impressive arches, brush them up, fill them with fibres for an XXL effect and set in place with a clear gel. They’re not boyish or androgynous, just beautiful. Don’t have a good brow game? Wunderbrow Fiber Filler (£20) comes in four shades so you can nail the natural look, and because its hair-boosting fibres don’t budge, you can still get sweaty on the dance floor.
Red-tinted lids might sound like something you should save for a Halloween party, but they’re surprisingly wearable, especially when it’s a block wash of colour all over the lid. Beauty brand 3ina has a spectrum of copper-coloured shadows to choose from. Finish with an outline of brown liner (black might be a bit to harsh) and keep the rest of your look in synch with tones from the same palette—e.g., peachy cheeks and reddish lips—or keep them nude.
This one takes patience and a steady hand, but nothing says special occasion eyes like an outline of diamanté jewels in place of your eyeliner. That and a quick whip through the lashes with some mascara is all you need, then you can pair it with a ball gown or a basic black jumper, and you’ll still be the one whose makeup everyone is ogling. Keep a pair of tweezers handy and use a clear lash glue to fix your crystals in place, or opt for some already adhesive options like Claire’s Aurira Borealis Body Gems (£6) that you simply peel off and press on.
Sparkly makeup has come on a lot in recent years. Instead of it looking like you’ve faceplanted the glitter glue section in the Early Learning Centre, it’s now non-drop, easy to apply and in colourways that enhance your skin tone and eye colour. Navies and purples are the curveballs here as they suit almost everyone. For the best application, take your sparkle just above your lids by a millimetre or two—that way if you do get any transfer from lid upwards, no one will notice, as it’s all part of the look.
It also means you can still rock the look if you have hooded lids and by adding a light-reflective coating, which will automatically make your eyes look bigger.
False lashes see an upturn in sales come party season, but who says they’re reserved for your upper lids? Clusters of individual lashes (try Eyelure Individual False Eyelashes Ultra, £6, which come in varying lengths) were stuck onto the lower rims of models’ eyes at Jeremy Scott’s A/W 17 show, and it’s a look that’s been ingrained in our memory ever since. The rule of thumb here is to keep everything else to a minimum, so no liner, no shadow and just a neat combed through brow. We’re not sure why, but it works.
So you’re a lips lady but want to do something with your eyes. You also don’t want to veer into “overdone” territory. We hear you. It’s why a thin liquid-lined flick that’s been buffed out with some brown smoky shadow will become your new number one. Run the same tone under your lashes, too, and you’ll be left with a soft, muted look that complements a red lip like nothing else. Classy, retro and resplendent.
A colour wash on the eyes is fast and something you can muster up in the back of a cab as you whizz from meetings to mates. The key is to get it looking like liquid metal, so you don’t want to see any skin peeping through. Most metallic eye shadows or “gleams” come with a spongy applicator that allows you to swipe it on and blend across your eyes in seconds—case in point: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow Paint in Iconic Silver (£6). They shouldn’t crease, but if you’re concerned or have especially wrinkly lids, run a primer underneath first.
Add mascara—coloured or black depending on how bold you want to be—and you’re done.
Bright eye shadow shouldn’t be saved for festivals and holidays. And why stop at one colour? This trio of sunset toned shadows looks amazing melted together and would work with any three complementary shades, so if yellow, orange and pink don’t do it for you, try purple, blue and grey or mix blue, turquoise and green. As long as they sit within the same colour spectrum, they’ll play against each other perfectly. Exaggerate the tie-dye effect by taking the colour midway between lid and brow bone—you don’t want your hard work going to waste.
A look at Alberta Ferretti we’re dubbing “tiger eyes,” regular smoky black eyes were interjected with a pop of orange in the centre and a tinge of gold at the tear duct. And the result is something quite hypnotic. It’s liner-free (that would look too harsh), and if you feel confident enough, you could probably use your fingers to apply the different tones although a sponge applicator will help make the sections more obvious. Rimmel London 12 Pan Eyeshadow kit in Bold (£9) contains an array of russet and golden tones along with a gorgeous green that gives you the freedom to mix and match.
If you still haven’t quite found what you’re looking for, don’t worry. We’ve got a whole load more party makeup inspiration.