3 Frugal Tips for an Effortless Smokey Eye

I rarely leave the house without a smokey eye, but my wallet could do without the costs of keeping up this timeless look–thankfully, a frugal streak in me keeps my finances in balance. To keep your finances in check as well, here are three frugal tips for creating a sensual smokey eye.

Use Gel Eyeliner as an Eyeshadow Base
Most of us use gel eyeliner as an alternative to messy liquid eyeliner, but did you know it can also double as an eyeshadow base? Here’s the trick: Dip your finger into gel eyeliner and warm it up between your fingers before spreading it over both eyes. Apply it evenly; this will help eyeshadow stick better to the skin and look more vibrant.

I have to fib–I tried this after a good friend told me MAC’s gel eyeliner also doubled as an eyeshadow base, so I decided to see if it worked with other gel eyeliners. Thankfully it does, and it makes your eyeshadows pop!

Frugal recommendations: I’ve never come across a gel eyeliner I didn’t like, but for a good, cheap option, I recommend Maybelline’s Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner, $6.99, at Target.com. As a bonus, it also comes with a small eyeliner brush!

Do the Ombre Effect
If you’ve ever stepped foot into a department store this year, you’ve seen this trend: Ombre, a hair and clothing trend where a color fades into a different color, from light to dark. While I’m not a fan of ombre hair–it just looks like your roots are in desperate need of a touch-up–ombre is a super-easy way to create flawless, smokey eyes.

Here’s how to do it: Taking an eyeshadow that is slightly darker than your skin tone, sweep the color over both eyelids. Next, take an eyeshadow that’s two shades darker and buff this into the crease, blending the colors out to create a smooth, gradient effect. For the final step, take a dark brown or black eyeshadow and smooth it around your eyelids for an instant smokey effect.

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Best eyeshadow for the job: While their nail polishes aren’t passable, Wet n Wild’s Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Set contains eight perfectly smokey shades to make ombre a breeze. Find it at Drugstore.com or other participating retailers for $4.99.

Know Your Waterline
One of the most common mistakes people make with the smokey eye look is forgetting to add color to the top and bottom lashline, also known as the waterline. Darkening this area really completes the look and makes your entire eye smokey and deep.

My recommendation: A good waterproof pencil eyeliner is essential for adding color to the waterline, since it won’t smudge if your eyes get watery. Gently swipe the color against your lashes and fade out any excess color with a soft eyeliner brush. My favorite waterproof eyeliner: For easy waterlining on a budget, I recommend Prestige’s Waterproof Eyeliner, $3.23, at ULTA Beauty. Stick with black for a smokey eye, but if you want to dress it up, Prestige also sells eyeliners in brown, tan and even a peach color!

“Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner,” Target.com
“Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Set,” Drugstore.com
“Prestige Waterproof Eyeliner,” ULTA.com