Is this the easiest way to do a smoky eye this party season?

Celebrity make-up artist Jillian Dempsey shares her foolproof method with Frankie Graddon

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By Frankie Graddon on

The other day, I was fortunate enough to meet Jillian Dempsey – the supremo make-up artist who has applied the slap of many a Hollywood A-lister, including Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence and Drew Barrymore. Known for her low-maintenance yet highly effective approach (she prefers using fingers over brushes) and with a rock ‘n’ roll, nothing-too-perfect appeal, Jillian is certainly on my page when it comes to make-up, and I have been a fan of her sheer, creamy lid tints since I got my hands on them last year.

We meet because Jillian is showcasing her very first make-up brush. It’s for eyes and it is, in her words, “the only eyeshadow brush you need”. The brush is fan-shaped for easy blending and made from synthetic fibres, which means it’s fast drying. It’s lovely – easy to use, soft and blends shadow beautifully. You can also use the thin edge of the brush for running along your lash lines (multi-use – always helpful).

Undoubtedly, the brush is a triumph. But it’s the genius make-up trick that followed the brush’s grand reveal that I really want to tell you about. Because, once you know this, you will never struggle doing a smoky eye ever again. Ready? Here we go.

Step 1

Get a smoky eyeliner in dark brown. Jillian used her khol eyeliner, which I have to say is beautifully soft and smudgy. Draw said eyeliner in an upside down “V” along your crease line and also along your upper lash line. Repeat on other eye.

Step 2

Dip a small eyeshadow brush into a sheer brown/bronze eyeshadow (Jillian used her lid tint in Bronze) and, using a windscreen-wiper motion, blend the brush along the crease of your eyelid (where you’ve drawn the liner) and down across the rest of your eyelid.  

Step 3

Use the edge of your brush to blend the liner along your upper lash line. If you’re after some extra definition, add a little bit of eyeliner in between the gaps in your upper lashes. Once everything is done, smudge any hard lines with your little finger.

Hey, presto – two smoky eyes, done. I’ve recreated the look at home and, honestly, it takes a matter of minutes. What’s more, it doesn’t require a particularly steady hand, so wine can be consumed as you get ready. For added festive sparkle, I’ve been playing around with dabbing a little bit of Topshop’s Glitter Eye Shadow in Band Stand on top, then finishing with a couple of layers of mascara. Easy.







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