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September Beauty Notes: Holy Smolder

Don’t fan the flame . . . let it smolder. Smudged pigments of cocoa, russet, auburn, and chestnut delicately rim the lower lash line. A lot less defined and more diffused than the traditional smoky eye, the smoldering eye is a modern take on the classic. Shadow placement and shade selection make the look fresh. Pop in a flicker of shimmer at the inner tear duct for daytime. For evening, give the full eye a good rimming. Resist the urge to strike perfection. Mastering this runway stunner requires the blurring of lines and the buffing of edges. Precision is not the goal.  Go on . . . have a smear. - Felicia Walker Benson, Beauty Editor

1. Start with a clean slate.  Minimize redness and camouflage uneven tone with a neutral wash of beige or taupe eye shadow from lash line to crease. For a matte lid, use: Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (212 872 2789). For slight boost of sheen, use: Kevyn Aucoin Loose Shimmer Shadow in Citrine or Topaz ( 212 872 8890).

2. Groom brows to frame the the eyes. We’re hopelessly devoted to Tom Ford Brow Sculptor (212 872 2813) . . . the beveled tip shades and shapes in a precise yet natural manner.

3. Using a soft khol pencil, like Guerlain Kajal Khol (212 872 2734) apply a light rimming of liner to lower lash line. This first step sets up the look for the entire eyes. The softer the rimming the better. But if you accidentally go a little heavy handed, no worries – we can soften the look with the next step. If you want to start with an even softer feel, use: Chantecaille Gel Liner Pencil in Bronze (212 872 2725).

4. Once lower lash line is rimmed with soft black liner (or “bronze” if you decide to go super delicate), you’re ready to layer the brun shade.

For fair skin, try shades of brun and auburn like Guerlain L’Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Les Fauves (212 872 2734). For tan skin, rich for richer shades of cocoa and russet like Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in Cognac Sable (212 872 2813). Deep complexions, try: hearty hues of chestnut or espresso like Kevyn Aucoin Eye Shadow Single in Coffee Bean (212 872 8890).

5. Apply the brown shade to lower lash line. Use Hourglass Smudge Brush #11 (212 872 8842) to blur black shade into the brown shade. . . this softens the look. For more intensity (perhaps for evening), apply brown heavier at the outer corners. The key to this look is in the smudging of shades to create a warm, sultry, smoldering effect.

7. Coat top & bottom lashes with mascara. This fall we’re clamoring for Dior DIORSHOW New Look Mascara (212 872 8819).

8. Want to complete the look? The eyes offer lots of room to play around with the rest of the face. Be bold with an intense swipe of red. Turn it up a notch with Guerlain L’Extrait in Luxure (212 872 2734). Prefer to play it coy? Go with a glossy swipe of nude or sheer pink. Try: AERIN Beauty Lip Gloss in Perfect Nude or Sweet Pea (212 872 8819).