Dear Caroline

YOUR exclusive beauty column from Mac Cosmetics’ senior make-up artist, Sunderland-born Caroline Donnelly.

Your exclusive beauty column from Mac Cosmetics’ senior make-up artist, Sunderland-born Caroline Donnelly.

I’VE been doing a photo shoot in London today for The Observer with supermodel Erin O’Connor.

I always ask Erin how she’s envisioning her make up too out of respect for her and her creativity. I love working with Erin, and my friend Amiee is her hairdresser, so it’s always relaxed and fun.

The guys are after a bit of a smoky eye and a strong mouth, so although this is quite a bold look, it’s kind of softer around the edges and not so directional as I usually do. I do love her in strong, punky liner, but that’s my own thing!

I use MAC Paint Pot as a base on the eye lid in a colour called Groundwork, a neutral taupe. Before I start with the eyeshadow, I draw a thin flicked line of Blacktrack Fluidline right along the top lashes.

To create the smoky eye I use MAC eye shadows in Smut, Carbon and Embark. Smut is a really sexy, muted black flecked with a red, soft shimmer. I use in middle of the lower and top lashes and wrap this around the eye and through the socket. I take Embark eye shadow close to the lash line all around the eye and shade the inner corner of the lid using this colour too.

At the outer edges I use a small angled brush, #266, and push a little Carbon eye shadow into the lash line for extra strength and apply lashings of Fibre Rich and Pro lash mascara, both in black, for full on, gorgeous lashes.

Erin is really poorly. She has really bad flu and doesn’t feel her best.

She is so professional, although she’s shivering and feels awful, she doesn’t complain once. I’m admirable of her patience, good manners and kind personality. For me, once the initial make up has been done, I just have to keep an eye on things to make absolutely sure everything looks how I want it to look. Easy! Shooting with Erin is always smooth running and we’re finished within a few hours.

Q. How do you do smoky/glittery eyes for a party at Christmas? I don’t want them too full-on though?

A. If you don’t want to go too full on with your smoky/glittery eyes, choose a softer option than black as your colour choice. A lot of people assume smoky equals black, but there are many other ways to achieve this look with colours which are sexy and smoky, but less dramatic.

A pretty chocolately eye, a softer grey, a deep green, a midnight blue, a taupe selection or a plumy eye will give you the same type of look. A chocolate with the addition of some bronze or gold will bring out the blue if your eyes are blue, green flatters a brown eye, green eyes could be the envy of your friends with the addition of plum, and grey eyes could look pretty with any as they are so neutral, but especially a taupe, bronze or green.

For a bronzed chocolate eye look at MAC’s bronze eye shadow and apply all over your lid then with a darker colour contour under the eye and through the socket with Espresso, or Woodwinked over the lid with Bronze, Tempting or Cork underneath and through the socket. For a gorgeous green eye apply Sumptuous Olive all over the lid with Femme Noir, Fiction or Greensmoke under and through the socket.

For a taupe eye try Satin Taupe with Smut as your darker shade and for a perfect plum eye try Sable with Shadowy Lady as your darker colour. There is a huge amount of choice available.

If you have any questions for Caroline, email


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