The Chloé Barely-There Eye


After our recent chat with Arizona Muse, in which she exalted brown eyeliner and called mascara “the most easily spotted makeup,” we’ve had trouble applying our standby black liner/mascara combo with the same gusto. In fact, since hearing about how Muse simply rims the top and bottom of her eyes with a coffee-colored pencil—for a look that's like “hav[ing] no makeup on, but somehow your eyes are just popping”—we’ve been searching for the right technique and tools to pull that off.

And we weren’t alone: backstage at Chloé during Paris Fashion Week Spring 2014, Diane Kendal (the same woman behind Alexander Wang’s “raw beauty”) accented the models' dewy, extra-moisturized skin with a nearly undetectable chocolate liner. How exactly? She traced along the top and lower lashes with Mac Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Duck and then went over said lines with a Q-tip coated in what we’ll call a 'whisper' of Embryolisse. The mix of pencil and cream, Kendal explains, "left behind a 'residue' that made the lids look dewy with a hint of color"—precisely the moody, no-makeup makeup Muse had been talking about. (If we hadn’t seen the girls pre- Kendal’s subtle handiwork, we would have guessed they weren't wearing anything at all.) But the change was certainly apparent—their eyes were a little bit the way that Stephane Marais must have wanted Linda Evangelista to look when he supposedly asked her to sleep in her makeup the night before a shoot.

At home, MAC’s Duck, traced along the lash lines, looks like the remnants of last night's makeup in a great way, but we’re also partial to MAC’s Fluidline in Rich Ground, which lends a warmer, more metallic effect. And to amp up either product for day-to-night, try a very thin application of Guerlain’s Khôl Me Kajal over the brown liner, blended gently with a brush. It usually does the trick—no mascara necessary.

[1-2] Photographed by Emily Weiss backstage at Chloe Spring 2013 on September 29, 2013 in Paris, [3] Photo by Mathea Millman.

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  • Nomadic D.

    I've been feeling the no-mascara look a lot lately myself too. Maybe we've just had black lashes for too long and it's a natural swing of things, but it feels so nice and refreshing to leave the lashes bare. And hooray for deep rich bron liners. My favorite right now is the limitless liner in Java from Smashbox, so soft and blendable but lasts petty well too.

  • Q.

    less is always more!... love the fresh face look.x

  • nicolecontrol

    A tip! So, many days I put on brown liner and then use my eyelash curler. Because I am lazy, I rarely clean the eyelash curler which leaves a build up of eyeliner over time. Gross... but also kind of genius. Some days, I don't feel like wearing liner and will just curl my lashes and then put on a light coat of my favorite mascara. (Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl from Japan. People, get on this stuff. It is almost undetectable - would be perfect if they made it brown. It allows me to change the architecture of my eye without having obvious makeup on.)

    Anyway... so my gross trick is that I the buildup of old eyeliner on the curler presses onto the top lid in a way that is light and careless and right up against the lashes and it's perfect!

    I take a bow.

    • Lilly

      I can't try it because my eyes are too sensitive, but I bet that it works really well! ;)

  • Lucy Apted

    So relaxing to look at, definitely trying this for work.

  • Leslie

    Love this eye look! Very pretty.

  • Chantel

    Nice article!

  • ITGMackenzie

    Hi Samira,
    It should still work. MAC's Duck is really similar to the MAC Coffee eyeliner that Charlotte Tilbury used on the girls at Prabal Gurung Spring 2014 (check out photo six here:, which looked amazing on everyone. What do you think?


    I love Make Up For Ever's Aqua Eyes in Light Taupe for this effect. Rimmel's Scandal Eyes in Taupe is amazing for the price. For a more distinctive but subtle look Lancome's Artliner in IceBlack is divine and stays put like no other liquid liner I have ever tried.

  • Merredee X

    It's so true that mascara is "the most easily spotted makeup"! Day to day I usually go without it. But I've always been a bit skeptical of brown eyeliner (since my lashes are very black and think, but fairly short) simply because I thought it would look more unnatural than a soft black on me. This post does make me curious though, perhaps I'll give it a try :)

  • Gigi R

    I still have a a major mind block when it comes to the no-mascara trend. Is it unworkable for those of us with fair eyelashes?

    • Prenouveau

      You could try out tinting them--I used to get it done once a month at a spa, now I do it myself at home. 10 minutes and all the blonde lashes turn glossy black!

    • Luciana Micaela

      On daily I go bare-eyelashed (with translucid ones). I'll just apply Bobby Brown's Heather on the upper eyelid, and smudge some brown eyeliner in the lower rim (now I'm using Chanel's Brun, but the color is fugitive, I don't like it that much) . If I feel kinda sad I'll make a crease shadow very lightly with some bright red or pinky blush and FIN. :)

    • Gigi R

      @prenouveau:disqus @luciana_micaela:disqus thanks for the tips ladies! I think my addiction to mascara will be hard to break though :) x G

  • celyneglam

    great blog great photos

    do you want follow each other?


MAC Fluidline Rich Ground
MAC 'Powerpoint' Eye Pencil Duck
Guerlain 'Khol Me Kajal' Eyeliner
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè