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We try the new Nars Climax launches – and how to do the perfect smoky eye


High impact colour that’s perfect for autumn (Picture: Nars)

‘The easiest way to add drama is by focusing on the eyes,’ said François Nars – and this is exactly what this new collection is about.

Beauty experts forecasted that 2021 would be the year of eye makeup and a return to glam, given the use of masks combined with re-emerged social freedoms.

One of the ultimate staples in the little black book of makeup is the smoky eye, though people still struggle with how to to it properly.

You would be forgiven for thinking it’s all about black and dark brown eyeshadow laid heavy on the eye, but actually ‘smoky’ just refers to the technique, rather than the colour.

Vincent Ford, global makeup artist at Nars, tells Metro.co.uk that any colour can be applied smoky – even a mid-toned bronze or bright orange, there are no limits.

‘Think of it almost in the way you see smoke – the source of it always more dense, then it feathers and become more airy’, adding that rather than look heavy, the idea is it ‘looks like a cloud’, the style of which is a nod to 1920s makeup.

The brand’s upcoming Climax Eyeshadow Palette and Liquid Eyeliner play to this well while tapping into the trending colours of the season.

Filled with muted greens, a gunmetal, cool toned browns, a shimmering peachy copper, and a rich plum, the palette is ‘tailored towards going into autumn and winter’, Vincent says.

The colours were inspired by what fashion designers were picking out this season, which was ‘more greens and earth tones’.

There isn’t a harsh black or brown in the palette, and yet dramatic eyes are easy to achieve still.

‘That’s what we’re seeing for the rest of the year, and smoky eyes is the trend to make the eyes pop as the main feature,’ Vincent adds.



How to do the perfect smoky eye

Vincent says: ‘Everyone’s eye shape is different, so putting one deep colour across the whole lid could make the eye look a little pulled back and the whole point of a smoky eye is to look sexy, so the way to achieve it that works on everyone is to focus on the lash line.

‘Use a deeper shade just along the lash line. When we use the word “smoky” it’s about making it really deep at the lash line, then the colour feathers away outwards.

‘So the basic tip I can give is don’t cover your whole eye in the shade – focus on the lash line. This particularly true for mature skin and hooded eyes.’

Then to finish he says to mimic the look on the bottom lash line too, perhaps with a light shade so the eye isn’t made to look smaller.

His top tip is to pick shades with a medium level of depth for your skin tone, as a lot of people over-define the crease of the eye (which is where the eyelid meets the socket). It’s easier to start softer and build, rather than go all-in to start with.

We got to test out the new palette and liner before they hit the market next week, and they’re certainly of the moment.

The palette has a mix of formulations from matte to intense metallic.

One of these is new for the brand – it’s slightly crumbly and textured looking in the pan, which makes it best to apply before foundation to avoid fall-out.

However, we don’t mind this when factoring in the finish it gives. The looser texture means the shades apply almost like a cream, making the pigmentation level intense.

For metallic shades, this makes them highly reflective with minimal effort – one swipe with the pad of your finger and you’re done.

Even though they might seem like they’ll need more work in the pan, the reality is you can get a good look effortlessly.

Using the shades Private Show (a neutral pink) in the crease and Hooked (an olive green) over the whole lid (Picture: Tanyel Mustafa)
Using Open Wide (a beige) across the crease, Public Eye (a deep plum) subtly on the outer edges for depth, Next Level (a cool brown) on the outer half of the lid, and Envious (a shimmering pinky copper) over the inner half of the lid (Picture: Tanyel Mustafa)

Shades blend easily together, even with all the different textures available, and did so when using either a brush or a finger.

Even the palest shade, Open Wide, surprisingly showed up on olive toned skin, which we weren’t expecting given how pale it looks in the pan.

All the colours had much more depth on application than initial impressions seemed to give.

Cherelle Lazurus, Nars senior makeup artist, tells us that for deeper skin tones the palette works well (she herself is of a deeper skin tone).

To avoid eyeshadow appearing ashy, she says: ‘The main thing to remember is undertone and texture is as important as colour when selecting an eyeshadow for a deeper skin tone.

‘Cooler undertones and paler colours including a silver shimmer, has the tendency to make a deeper skin tone appear dull.

‘This doesn’t mean you should stay clear of these colours, It just means they need a little more work,’ suggesting starting with a warmer base colour.



How to perfect winged liquid eyeliner

Vincent says for those special occasions in which you have more time to get ready, try this trick that never fails him.

‘Take a brown pencil and sketch out the liner shape – when you put your liquid liner over it, it’s going to help guide it because the consistency of the liner versus your skin helps keep the ink right where you want it,’ he says.

He also advises not starting with the wing as you can make it too thick then keep having to go over the rest of the liner to match it up, resulting in a mess.

To go with the palette, Nars are also launching their first liquid eyeliner in nearly a decade.

It’s unusual in its shape – like a knife edge, it has one sharp fine angle for precision, while if you flip it it’s flat and gives a thicker look.

Granted, it’s not beginner-friendly, but once you master the different angles it can make a thin wing manageable, which is no easy feat with liquid liner. You will need to have a little play with it first though to reach this point.

Like the eyeshadows, it wears well over an entire day with no smudging or fading.

If the eyes are still where it’s at in makeup, making these additions to your collection wouldn’t be a bad move.

The palette in particular, though small, comes with enough varied tones to create multiple looks.

Even better, there are no dud shades, just rich, autumnal colours – it’s perhaps our palette of the season.

The Nars Climax collection launches on September 20.

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