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How-To: Create Soft, Smoky Eyes for Spring

When we wanted to recreate the softer, smoky eye seen on the runway alongside spring 2009 collections from such designers as Carolina Herrera and DSquared and make it work for everyday wear, we turned to San Francisco makeup artist Stacy McClure for answers.

McClure, who’s worked with famous faces from laid-back Tracy Chapman to British rapper Lady Sovereign and regularly preps the faces of Bay Area brides, distilled the process into five simple steps.

1. Start by applying an eye base like Laura Mercier Eye Basics to the lid.

2. Instead of the charcoal and grays often used to create smoky eyes, opt for a warm hue in a loose, color-building powder such as M.A.C. Pigments in blue brown or chocolate brown. Tap a little bit of the pigment powder into its cap and dab an eye color brush – McClure suggests the Laura Mercier ponytail brush or Trish McEvoy #29 brush – until it’s on both sides of the brush. Tap brush on a hard surface to knock excess powder from the brush.

3. Brush the color across the lower lid, from the crease to the lash line, so that it frames the outline of the eyeball in a rounded shape. For a natural look, use one layer. Try two layers for a dramatic, smokier result.

4. Apply a bit more of the same color to the tip of the brush and tap to remove excess. Using very little pressure, brush along the crease from the outer corner of the eye in toward the inner corner using a windshield wiper motion. Repeat this step to add layers of color and increase the intensity of the look.

5. Finish by brushing color from the outer crease downward along the lower lid to meet the lash line. To make your new soft, smoky eye pop, top it off with eye liner, mascara and a subtle smudge of color along the lower lash line.

Looking for more than an eyeful of advice? McClure offers individual makeup lessons ($225) that run about two-and-a-half hours and include a take-home face map that doubles as a cheat sheet for future applications.

For more tips and advice on spring beauty trends and a behind-the-scenes look at how the experts achieve them, check out the video Get Camera-Ready Hair and Makeup from our March fashion and beauty shoot.