While I’d love to say the simplistic, au naturel approach to beauty I’ve taken in my 30s is a direct result of feeling more comfortable in my own skin, I’d be lying. Yes, I’m a bit more at ease and gentle with myself these days but, if I’m being honest, I’m also just lazy. The two-hour makeup sessions I allotted in my energetic 20s are a distant memory, making way for 15-minute primping in which I slather some tinted SPF on my face, swipe on cream blush and highlighter, and run out the door (or hop on a Zoom call). That said, as the holiday season approaches, I’ve discovered a few one-color eyeshadow looks that cater perfectly to both my glamorous 20-something self of yesteryear and the loaf that currently inhabits my body.
I actually first learned about the art of single-shadow eye makeup a few years ago from watching a MUA work her magic during an editorial photo shoot. Relying only on a soft lilac shadow and two brushes for applying and buffing, she masterfully created a stunning pastel smoky eye on one of the models — and I was truly mesmerized. The final look was of course an ethereal masterpiece, but what truly amazed me was the ease in which it was done. An elevated makeup look that can be done in under five minutes and requires one product? Yes, please, and thank you.
Fast-forward a couple years and seven months into quarantine, and I find myself digging deep into the simplistic technique that inspired me so long ago. What's more, in addition to a monochrome smoky eye, I discovered a few other single-shadow looks that I know will serve me well as my schedule fills with virtual holiday parties. For instance, a generous application of a high-shine metallic shade in the inner corners of my eyes will take my no-makeup makeup to party-ready status instantly. And then there's my Wizard of Oz take on the classic smoky eye that looks like it was meticulously designed in the Emerald City.
Suffice to say, thanks to the easy peasy eye makeup looks below, the coming months will showcase a more glamorous side of myself that hasn't been tapped into in some time. But don't worry, my lazy side hasn't strayed too far: it can still be found in the sweatpants that weren't captured by the Zoom camera.
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One-Color Eyeshadow Looks: Neon Splash
I first saw this striking hot pink eye look on influencer Alyssa Coscarelli and thought, Well, that looks easy enough. As it turns out, it really is. To get a bit of a blurred wing shape, I line my eye lid crease with the neon shadow (using a liner brush), creating a large, exaggerated wing at the end. I then fill in the outline with a flat shadow brush, patting the product on for optimum pigment. Then, using a fluffy shadow brush, I softly buff out the crease and wing .
One-Color Eyeshadow Looks: Terracotta On Terracotta
I've been on the terracotta makeup train for a while, and my favorite look of late is this full monochromatic look. Here, I use the same amber shade on my lids and cheeks and then swipe on a warm nude lip color to complete the look. For a holiday spin, try a terracotta shade with a shimmery finish to add some sparkle.
One-Color Eyeshadow Looks: Silver Skies
This super-simple festive look is runway-approved, as evidenced at the at N21 show in Milan last month. To maximize your pigment, I recommend patting the shade on with a flat shadow brush as opposed to swiping.
One-Color Eyeshadow Looks: Smoke Show
Fun fact: I have heavy eye lids. Because of this, dark, moody charcoal smoky eyes have always looked a bit intense and overwhelming on me. That said, I absolutely love the look, so I tend to opt for jewel tones and pastels to lighten up my smoke shows. My go-to shade for the season? Emerald green. I wash my lids with the shade using a fluffy brush and then go back in with a flat shadow brush, adding intensity in the center and outer corners of my lids. I also use the same brush to create a blurred line along my lower lid. Then, I buff out the crease so the color extends a bit, and I'm good to go.