A Smudge-Proof Eye Look For Summer


Florida. Things are crazy down there! Exclude the picturesque beaches and fruitful abundance of backyard mangoes, and you’ve got a disproportionately long state filled with club-going horses, alligators attacking airplanes, and opossums raiding liquor stores. Throw in the constant heat and an unshakable dampness, and you’ve basically crafted my personal hell. But also the place where I grew up! The experience taught me many things, including: if you walk outside with a piece of paper in your hand you will reach your destination with a soggy, wet piece of paper in your hand. (Thanks, humidity!) Another thing: apply eye makeup the way I'm about to tell you, and it won’t immediately melt down your face. We Floridians are always prepared for hurricanes, drivers merging without turn signals, and the inevitable schvitz. For the purpose of this story then, think not of Florida as the place where someone literally ate another person’s face off, but instead as fertile testing ground for summer-proof makeup—where it’s summer all year ‘round.

An eye primer

Yes, you need it—we’re going for long-wear here, not minimalism. An eye primer absorbs extra oil on your eyelid, so your shadow stays longer and doesn't crease. I like the Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base from Nars because it goes on white like Elmer’s Glue but dries clear, also like Elmer’s Glue. Plus, the little doe foot applicator gives good control—swipe over your entire eye and pat in to smooth.

Gel eyeliner

Before you put on eyeshadow, apply a waterproof gel eyeliner to your waterline. Waterproof because this is going in your waterline, and gel because it applies smoothly and easily—the Marc Jacobs Highliner is great because it’s both of those things, plus a pencil. I pull up my eyelid to apply, walking the (tight)line between ‘Has this stuff set yet?’ and ‘Are these tears going to sabotage my work?’ before I blink.

Cream shadow, followed by powder shadow

Lean into the humidity by opting for a cream-based shadow—it will melt into your skin in a way that’s dewy and sexy. Rub that stuff onto your eyelid with a finger and blend outwards towards the socket, then smudge into your lash line where the eyeliner is. Easy! Then, set it by patting on a powder eyeshadow in a similar shade. I usually reach for Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerize in Bette underneath a shimmery tonal shadow for maximum wear—Maybelline's Color Tattoo cream eyeshadow in Bad To The Bronze is another good option. The combo is more pigmented than powder alone, and will stand up to sweat better, too.

Gel eyeliner, reprise

If a wing is your thing, go back in on top with Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner on a small brush. Same gel formula you know and love, but more precision this time.


Does humidity affect eyelashes like it does flat-ironed hair? Nope! Curl your lashes and apply a liberal coat of mascara. After a period of swearing off of mascara entirely (never not raccoon eyes), Lash Slick has gotten me back in the game. It’s sweat and summer-proof, but not cleanser-proof—the best of both worlds. Plus it makes my lashes black and long without clumping.

Seal it up

Give everything a once-over with a setting spray to really make it last. One pump of Urban Decay All-Nighter later, I have an eye look that isn’t moving until I say so. You’ll be looking like a snack all day and night—and if you want to pay my parents a visit down in the Sunshine State, maybe be careful not be mistaken for one.

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG.