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Montano's Masterclass: Tonal smokey eye

December 17th 2013 / Susannah Taylor


Photography by Billie Scheepers

Susannah Taylor and Kay Montano's step by step guide to the ultimate smokey eye - sultry, tonal and just a little bit dark...

Dark and a little dangerous, the smokey eye is an easy way to channel your inner rock chick this party season without donning head-to-toe leather. The key to the look, says Kay Montano, make-up ambassador for M&S and creator of the looks on this shoot is in not using all black around the eyes, ‘but more tonal colours to create a far more flattering look’.

Step 1: Barely there

A smokey eye is quite a statement in itself, therefore the only statement you want to be making with your skin is one of freshness and clarity. As ever Kay uses a luminising foundation to cover any redness, and concealer beneath the eyes to hide dark shadows. Kay also uses concealer on eyelids to create the perfect base for eye make-up, before dusting the shine away on forehead, nose and cheeks with a fine powder, which Kay says is important for the next step – contouring – to create a blotch-free base.


Kay used: Lola Equilibrante Oil Free Foundation in 030, £19 and Pur Minerals Disappearing Act 4-in-1 concealer, £19.50 in Light around the eyes which she says is creamy and dense enough for the area.

Step 2: Smooth curves


One of the big trends spotted backstage at the autumn/winter catwalks, from Gucci to backstage at Balmain was make-up artists using a neutral palette to shade and sculpt the face. It’s important not to use blusher for sculpting (too ‘Madonna’ circa the Like a Virgin era); here Kay used a pressed powder one shade darker than the model Minnie’s skin, which she says ‘is also a way of warming up the skin without using conventional bronzer’.

Kay used: Lola Face and Body Bronzer, £19.

Step 3: Draw the line


No smokey eye is complete without a fabulous black kohl pencil. Here Kay used hers on the upper lid only, lining not only above the lash line but below the lashes and into the tear duct too. She then softened this with what she called a ‘smudger brush’ which is a small round-tipped buffing brush - if you have a pencil with a spongey blender on the other end this will work just as well.


Kay used: Kohl Pencil by Diego Dalla Palma in 18, £14.

Step 4: Dark arts


It’s a myth that the ‘smoke’ of smokey eyes should be created solely out of black or grey, which Kay states can be very unflattering and harsh on many people's’ skin tones (even those with darker skin tones). I, for one, find black makes me look very tired. Her suggestion is to use a brown underneath the eyes and use the ‘smudger brush’ again or a finger to blend.

Kay used: Diego Dalla Palma Eye Pencil in 11, £14.

Step 5: Step into the shadows


The same rules apply, explains Kay, to eyeshadows when creating smokiness. “The key is to use more tonal colours,” she explains. By this, Kay means browns, taupes, bronzes, and fawn shades which are warmer and kinder to most skin tones. Here, Kay used a deep plum which works beautifully as well.

Kay used: Diego Dalla Palma Ombretto Duo in 83, £18.

Step 6: High Flicks


When you smudge kohl pencil it can slightly undo the line you first drew around the eye, so Kay has then used a liquid eyeliner along the top lid for extra impact and added staying power.

Kay used: Diego Dalla Palma Twiggi Eye Liner, £14.

Step 7: Lashings of mascara


Finish off the eyes with two coats of black mascara - for rock chicks, no other colour will do.

Kay used: Diega Della Palma GoGo Mascara in Black, £17.

Step 8: Kiss from a rose


One of the golden rules of great make-up is to play one feature up and play down the rest. With the eyes being the focus of this look it’s important to use a soft, barely-there shade on lips. Kay used a rose coloured balm stick for a subtle and transparent sheen.

Kay used: Pur Minerals Lip Gloss Stick in Honey Pie, £16.



All make-up by Kay Montano from D and V Management using make-up available from M&S stores nationwide

Hair by Maarit at D and V management

Model: Minnie Vrady at premier

Styled and directed by Susannah Taylor

Plaid Silk-Chiffon Shirt by Burberry Brit at netaporter.com, £265

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