Tutorial Tuesday: Plum Smoke Makeup Tutorial

Purple is so in right now.  I went to a clothing store the other day and almost everything on the racks had purple in it.  (It’s a shame.  I wish pink was in right now, but I guess purple is the new pink.)

In the makeup world, smoky eyes is in right now as well.  I decided to put these two trends together, so I created Plum Smoke.

Did you know that you can do a smoky eyes look without using any grey or black eye shadow?  It’s true.  The smoke in this tutorial is subtle, but still so totally adorable, without any of those colors.

This look also has a vintage feel based on how I did the eyeliner and mascara.  If you like vintage makeup techniques, then you’ll like this look.

Read on for the Plum Smoke eye shadow tutorial.

Of course, you have to start this tutorial with a clean face.  Them’s the rules!  And that’s what I did:

While it may look like I’m naked in that picture, I’m totally not!  I was actually wearing a plum colored, striped tube top.  I swear!  I wore it because it was the only thing I have the matched this tutorial look well.

And after doing this look, I may need to buy more plum clothes.

Before we gather our supplies, you’ll want to get your face ready.  I suggest at least using facial power on your eyes, which will make it easier to blend your eye shadow.  To find out more: Priming the Canvas: Getting Your Face Ready for Makeup.

Now, we can do supplies.

I’m actually using three different brands of eye shadow for this look.  It’s a good example of how you can use just about anything and still look good.

Keep in mind, you can substitute all of this if you don’t have it, but this is what I used, in order of appearance:

  1. Luzier Eye Shadow in Wisteria
  2. MAC Eye Shadow in Shadowy Lady
  3. Elite Pro Cosmetics 88 Eye Shadow Pallet
  4. N.Y.C. Liquid Eyeliner in Jet Black
  5. Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara in Glam Black
  6. Mary Kay MK Signature NouriShine Lip Gloss in Gold Rush

Alright!  Let’s get started!

This is a bit hard to see, because it’s so subtle.  The first step uses Luzier Eye Shadow in Wisteria (Desperate Housewives, anyone?  I didn’t think so.)  This is a soft plum color, which is somewhat light and has a bit of shimmer.  I’m using this as a primer and a base.  I’ll explain:

Layering is important with shadow. It helps you blend.  Since I’m going to be using a dark shadow next, it’s even more important to have a base.  So, I blended this eye shadow into the crease and just above and below.  I also blended it in to the outside corner of the eye, up from the lash line.

Now we’ll use the darker shadow.  This is a MAC Eye Shadow in Shadowy Lady. This is a dark plum, matte eye shadow.  It looks mostly dark grey in the packaging, but when you put it on, it has this interesting smoky plum color, perfect for this look.

I blended this in at the outer corner of the lid and into the crease.  Try not to go too much out of the crease.  The color should be darker at the outside corner, and lighter as you go in.  You can achieve this by blending back and forth with a medium eye shadow brush.

Then, I used the Elite Pro Cosmetics 88 Eye Shadow Pallet.  I actually used two different colors.

First, I used a lighter purple/pink color.  This is blended into the rest of the eyelid, starting at the inner corner and working your way into the rest of the previous eye shadows.  You can see this in the picture above.

Then, I used a very light beige color for highlights and accents.  First, I put it right below the arch of my eyebrow, from the arch to the end.  This adds highlight and makes my eyes look bigger.   Then I put it at the inside corner of my eye, blending it into the purple for about a half an inch.

You can see those results in the next pictures.

I decided to do the eyeliner in a bit of a vintage look.  For this, you will need liquid eyeliner because it gives a harsh line that was really popular in the 40s, 50s and 60s.  I used N.Y.C. Liquid Eyeliner in Jet Black, which I’ve actually reviewed.

Use this liner to create a straight, sleek line from one corner to the other on the top lid.  It should be thickest at the outside corner, and it’s a good idea to end it in a point there.  Check out the picture above to get a good idea of what I did.

I didn’t line the bottom lid.

Another vintage trend from the same era was to accentuate the top lashes instead of the bottom.  You see, the trend right now is to mascara both the top and bottom lashes.  Today, I’m only doing the top.

I used Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara in Glam Black, which I reviewed a few weeks ago.

Finally, the lips.  Since the eyes in this makeup tutorial are sort of soft and subtle (although super adorable and smoky) I decided to make the lips subtle as well.  I used Mary Kay MK Signature NouriShine Lip Gloss in Gold Rush, which is a medium brown/gold color with shimmery and shine.

We are SO done.  Check out the after photos:

Again, I’m not naked, just wearing a tube top, which you can’t see.

In the end, I really loved this look.  I couldn’t stop looking in the mirror, which is a good sign.  It’s right up there with Rainbow Eyes, which is also one one my favorites.

The Plum Smoke look would be great with a lot of things.  Since yellow is it’s complementary color, you could wear this look with a yellow themed outfit if you don’t have any purple.  Also, since it’s so subtle, you could wear it with a lot of other colors as well, including green and brown.

Ugh, I love it.  What do you think?


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  1. Oh I love this look! I’m a big fan of purples and plums — you can never go wrong!

    Have fun on your vacation!

  2. Oh, that looks really good! The purple looks great with your pretty green eyes.

  3. Nice work. Purple is a great color and I agree that it really does go well with your eyes!

  4. I must agree that purple is your color and simply love the color of your eyes. Wish mine were something other than brown..lol

  5. I love the plum especially with the different layers that you’ve applied. And the accent on the upper lashes looks great. I have green eyes too and can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for showing each step.

  6. Do you think that purple only works well for a person with a specific hair and eye color? I am wondering if it will go well with a person with darker features. I have seen a few cases that didn’t look as well as what I see above.

    • Leanna,

      Nope! Purple isn’t exclusive to certain hair or eye colors. While it looks good with green eyes, that doesn’t mean people with dark brown eyes can’t wear it.

      If you have darker skin, I suggest choosing a darker plum that’s a bit sheer and doesn’t contain a lot of white undertones. Purple in a cream eye shadow, rather than powder, may be your best bet.

      Just keep trying!

  7. It’s hard to find a good make-up color scheme when you have Irish red hair. My entire family is afflicted, but it’s sure hard to look good in make-up.

  8. I love purples and plums! You look great with them dear!

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