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Life & Style

Kohl and the gang

a woman with black eye make-up. PA Photo/iStock.

By Prudence Wade

Applying eyeliner well, can be incredibly tricky. Luckily, one of the biggest trends of the season is also really easy to pull off, even if you normally struggle with something like a cat flick.

The spring/summer catwalks were full of messy, imprecise make-up looks of eyes heavily ringed with kohl. Models at the Ashish show had black liquid eyeliner galore and hints of sparkle – with Fendi and Ann Demeulemeester all following with their own interpretations of the trend.

Even if it is a fairly easy trend to recreate at home, smudging on a ton of black eye make-up is unlikely to work – there is method to the messiness. After all, you want to look chicly chaotic – not like you’ve just rolled out of bed, or are accidentally channelling Avril Lavigne circa 2002.

There are plenty of famous precedents for this trend – Brigitte Bardot was a lover of the ‘more is more’ approach to eyeliner, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s infinitely stylish character Margot in the Wes Anderson movie The Royal Tenenbaums, also made the look her own.

MAC global senior make-up artist Debbie Finnegan loves the style, saying: “The great thing about liner is it’s a classic feature that is constantly being ‘reinvented’ to tell a different story, and it’s totally up the wearer how they wish to tell their story.”

To get kohl’d eyes the cool-girl way, here’s what you need know…

Eyes heavily ringed with kohl might seem a little full-on, but there are levels to it. If you want a more low-key take on the trend, there’s a minimalist approach you can start with.

You will need a black kohl pencil, which is a make-up bag staple for most of us. “Thickly line the top lash line, keeping the liner the same thickness at every point in the shape… and avoid the ‘feline’ flick,” advises Finnegan. Repeat along the bottom, and remember – this is about ringing the eyes, not creating a winged effect. Adjust the thickness of the liner to how you’re feeling that day.

Finnegan recommends combining this with another massive look from the SS20 runways: the graphic trend. The make-up artist says: “I love to add extra personality to a liner by applying a shape, then removing a small section using a cotton tip and some eye make-up remover. This ‘negative space’ will add a non-conformist vibe and make your liner look very contemporary in a super-easy way.”

Keep the rest of your face pared back to really make the black kohl pop – if you combine it with a bright lip, you risk taking the attention away from your eyes.

An alternative to the graphic method is all about creating a modern smokey eye. “If liquid liner is your thing, try smudging out black kohl from the very corner of your eyes, using a small eyeshadow brush. This gives the idea of a flick, but will be softer and easier to achieve,” explains James Molloy, Rimmel’s global make-up ambassador.

If you’re not confident with the tools, Molloy says: “Smudging an eye kohl through the lash line can give the most simple yet beautiful smokey eye – so don’t always think you have to be an eyeshadow expert to achieve a smokey effect.”

To level up this look, apply a subtle black shadow all around your eyes – nothing too panda-ish, but a modern take on the classic smokey eye. Top it all off with a slick of lash-enhancing mascara to really channel Brigitte Bardot.

If you wanted to amp up the look even more, take inspiration from the models at Ashish and add sparkles. “For those who use make-up to make a statement, the addition of glitter will turn heads,” says Finnegan. “Personally, I’d go all in and layer some different densities of glitter.”

This means using different products with glitter of varying shapes and sizes on top of each other, which will catch the light in different ways. Finnegan recommends adding in a glitter with silver undertones to give an even more space-agey, holographic effect.

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