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Trend to Try: Black, Smudgy, 2000s Eyeliner

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo Smudged Eyeliner Tutorial Hero 16x9

Words by Ruby Devlin

Originally published on | March 12

Thanks to a certain bath-adjacent film, the hipster-grunge hybrid indie sleaze aesthetic - think Arctic Monkeys, Tumblr and Alexa Chung - and its smudgy liners is back.

The days of waking up early to apply the perfect ‘clean girl’ makeup look are quickly fading. Instead, trendsetters and tastemakers are opting to roll out of bed and touch up the remnants of last night's eye look before running out the door.

With Pinterest boards everywhere being taken over by photos of Saltburn character Venetia Catton, Gossip Girl rebel Jenny Humphrey and the Olsen Twins and, we tapped two smoky-eyed experts - Steve Kassajikian (Urban Decay’s Global Head of Artistry) and Charlie Riddle (Stila’s Global Beauty Director and Head of Artistry) - to give us their take on the trend and the best smudgy eyeliners to help you achieve it.

Steve says we have nostalgia to thank for the rise of this look.

“People are looking for makeup inspiration from the past, especially the newer generation who didn’t grow up during that era.”

The 2000s nostalgia isn’t just taking over our screens and playlists; from vanilla scents, to glossy lips it’s taking over our beauty bags too.

Charlie tells us the trend embodies the ultimate carefree cool girl - and, it looks good on everyone.

“It’s sort of that slept-in look that you quickly touch up the next day before you leave the house.”

Steve says for this look, you can start by applying a cool toned matte shadow in the crease and outer corner. This will intensify the smokiness of the look, but if you’re in a rush; you can jump straight to liner.

Both Charlie and Steve say using a dark liner pencil that doesn’t instantly set, is key. Apply the liner on the top and bottom lash lines and blend. The messier, the better.

“What is great about this trend is you don’t want it too perfect - just take the pencil and throw it on the lash line” Charlie explains.

You may ask what you should be blending with? In true cool girl fashion we recommend just using your ring finger to smudge (gently). But a brush like this one will work too.

If you’re going all out, why not amp up the look with a touch of sparkle.

“Add shimmer to the top of the eyelids with your finger and finish with mascara (top & bottom lashes)” says Steve.

Charlie tells us he also loves this look with the mascara loaded on.

These liners give the best smudge

As the name suggests, Charlie’s pick, the Stila Stay All Day® Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner, will allow you to smudge your liner to your heart's content. and once it dries, it will last all day (and night) long.

“It glides on easy, and you have enough play time to really smoke out the liner.”

When Steve is trying this look he reaches for Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil. This creamy liner looks great whether you choose to smudge or not. Its smooth, waterproof formula ensures a smooth application that stays put once it dries.

Other MECCA favourites include the MECCA MAX Eye Max Eyeliner Pencil and Chantecaille’s Luster Glide Silk Infused Eye Liner. Both are long-wearing traditional pencil liners that aren't waterproof. This means they are perfect for beginners - giving you a little more time to play and smudge the product after you apply.

Remember, this is one trend that is impossible to mess up, so why not give it a try?

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