How to Get the Perfect Smokey Eye

It’s fascinating that every time I get a woman in my makeup chair, she wants to look glamorous. But as I add the glam, she starts talking about how she really just wants to know how to do eye liner for every day, or how to do makeup that also makes her look like the best version of herself. So I created Electra Lane, to bring you all my tips and tricks and knowledge and hands-on info I learn from painting faces, in the hopes that you could have a resource for the more practical side of makeup since there is so much over-the-top makeup inspiration out there.

But guess what?

While folks need to learn practical makeup, I think they want to at least know how how to get the enchanting smokey eye and chiseled contour.  So, in my attempt to bridge the makeup gap between inspirational and attainable, I will be posting more in-depth blogs, videos and posts mixed in with the basics.  To make sure you don’t miss any of these goodies, please subscribe to this blog, to my YouTube channel, and follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

This week, I’m sharing the two things you need to know in order to get the perfect smokey eye, as well as a video tutorial for a classic smokey.


Blend Like a Pro

You hear it all the time – the perky YouTuber chirping, “Blend, blend, blend!”  So you “blend,” only to have shadow all over your eye and no distinction between the colors you’ve used. To blend properly, make sure you’re blending with a clean brush, or at least a brush you used on a shadow lighter than the one you’re trying to blend (you’ll see this in the video – I only use one brush for the whole lid). Then, you want to keep your blending just where you want your shadow to be. A good rule of thumb is to not go below your top lash line or beyond the tip of your eye brow.


Layer Appropriately

The biggest “Aha!” moment I had in makeup is when I started layering my eye shadows. In my opinion, the best eye makeup I do uses a minimum of six colors. Seriously (if you want to see how to create this gradient of color, this Jaclyn Hill video is a great example – start at 1:45). A big mistake I see is when people start with a really light color, then go in with a really dark color.  You have to have something for the darker shades to blend into (which you’ll also see in the video below), so make sure to gradually go darker with your shades.

And now, the tutorial:


Thanks so much for stopping by and, if you like what you see, please feel free to like and share this post!


The One Eye Shadow Palette You Should Own

I feel like the makeup industry has really stepped up its game in the past few years thanks to High Definition and all sorts of platforms to post a selfie. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to stick to tried-and-true staples, like power eye shadow, and this newest release from Urban Decay does not disappoint. In fact, I’m going to just put it out there:

The Naked Ultimate Basics is the best eye shadow palette I own.


Even if you don’t want this one, here’s what to look for in a good palette and how to use it.

Light, Medium, and Dark Shades

A big complaint with most shadow palettes is that the colors are too similar, or there isn’t a good balance of shades. Remember: light colors make things look like they’re coming towards you, dark colors make things look like they’re going away, and sparkle brings attention to an area, so make sure your palette has a good range of at least three shades for dimension.


Skip the Sparkle

I love shimmery and metallic shades, but I don’t wear them every day.  And, when I’m doing someone’s makeup, I am extremely conservative with sparkle placement because when it’s good, it’s good – but when it’s bad, it’s really, really bad. Unless you are a unicorn, I like all-matte palettes with a coupe of individual shimmer shadows on the side.

So Many Options

One of the biggest drawbacks I hear about palettes is that people get overwhelmed with all the choices. Well…there’s this phenomenon called YouTube, and this makeup artist has a channel to give you several ideas. If you need more in-depth help, I offer makeup lessons and your own, personal makeup tutorial video – head over to the “services” tab for more details.

Here are a few short videos to get you started:

I’m so glad you stopped by Electra Lane, and I hope you learned something! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions – Instagram is a great place for that, and you can find me @ElectraLane.








Images c/o 

This post is NOT sponsored!


Why Your Makeup Looks So Much Better When a Makeup Artist Does It

There are two reasons makeup looks better when a professional does it, and I will share them with you below.

First, though, let’s state the obvious: if you do something for years and years, you’ll probably be better than most at it. Painting different skin tones and colors and different bone structures for different occasions, along with lots of education, not to mention hard work and passion, makes a good makeup artist. So while makeup artists have an advantage in that regard, these two tips will really up your game.


Don’t let this be you!


  1. Only use what you need

There’s a myth that you need a ton of makeup to look great. In truth, more makeup can really age you, so a makeup artist secret is only to apply the smallest amount of makeup just where you need it. This is why skincare is so important! Rule of thumb – if you don’t need it, don’t use it.

Dry skin? Skip powder. Rosy lips? Opt for a sheer gloss instead of liner and lipstick. If you have great skin, just dab a little concealer around your nose, mouth, and the inner corners of your eyes for brightness and forget foundation. Let makeup enhance instead of cover – you’ll be surprised with your natural glow.

Here’s a video if you want that concealer trick:

2. Take your time

 When I do someone’s makeup, she is usually astonished by how long it takes. Really, really good makeup requires application, blending, checking, going back in to add more makeup/fix something, more blending, and repeat again and again until it’s where you want it.

Then, there are touch ups.

So, if it’s at all possible, give yourself plenty of time and you’ll see your makeup IQ rise.


When I first studied to be a makeup artist, I was so excited to learn the secrets behind smokey eyes and flawless skin – so imagine my disappointment when I found out that there was no paint-by-number solution. Take your time, just use what you need, and keep coming back to Electra Lane for more tips and tricks! To make it easier, make sure to subscribe so you never miss a post.


New Fall Lipsticks

Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons, and this year is extra special because we’re finally back “home” in DC. I love to usher in the the colder months with a new lip, and with several new launches this year I couldn’t pick just one.

The Nude Gloss

Big surprise, this is my favorite.  The gorgeous gloss from Bluemercury CEO Marla Beck’s new makeup line Lune+Aster is creamy, offers great coverage, and is not sticky or goopy at all.


These glosses are good for you and for the environment, and come with empowering titles like CEO and Soccer Mom – I chose the shade PhD.


The Fancy One

Pat McGrath is one of the greatest makeup artists of all time, and I was so excited to get my hands on one of her launches.


Sorry, it’s not a great picture of the product…let’s talk about the fact that the lipstick comes in a package of PINK SEQUINS. The lipstick is pretty exciting, too. I purchased the color Flesh 1, and even though it’s matte, it slides on beautifully and has a satin finish – it’s also long-wearing.


Subtle Pop of Color

Many a beauty editor raved about the new Yves Saint Laurent Vynyl Cream, and the color 404 Nude Pulse is lovely.


It’s not nude in the sense that it makes your lips look like your skin, but it’s very neutral while still adding a pop of color. This is super long-wearing, and has a velvet consistency that lies somewhere between lipstick and lip gloss. Definitely worth the splurge.



With the exception of the Lune+Aster gloss, I usually apply a lip liner for definition and contour but wanted to show these lipsticks in their natural state.

Thanks for stopping by Electra Lane, and don’t forget to use my fancy, new “SUBSCRIBE” function so these posts will show up right in your inbox.  We can also keep in touch on Instagram @ElectraLane.


How To Get the Most From Your Makeup Shopping Trip

Recently, I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal, which highlighted makeup “moochers,” or folks who habitually visit makeup counters to use the testers instead of purchasing makeup.

As a makeup artist, makeup consumer, and former makeup counter worker, here are my three tips for making the most of your makeup shopping experience.

Keep It Clean

Y’all. Do not use open testers. Ever. It’s like eating food off of a stranger’s plate that’s been sitting out for months (or longer). Think about it – someone uses the bathroom, then doesn’t wash her hands. Then she dips those nasty hands into a jar of moisturizer. Later, the nice Sephora employee offers to make you a sample of that same moisturizer, out of the jar that’s infested with fecal matter. I’m not exaggerating because I’ve seen it. Part of being a certified makeup artist is learning about/having extremely high sanitation standards. I sanitize everything between clients, even if they’re in the same family. WHY, then, would you use this stuff that hasn’t even been consistently monitored for cleanliness?

So, practice smart sampling.  Try lipstick on the back of your hand, then wash your hands. Or, if you must try it on, make sure the lipstick is shaved and sanitized. Same goes for any product that is not in an individual package or an airtight pump. Safety first, people.

{About to clean + sanitize everything after a job with the help of Kent Beagle}

{About to clean + sanitize everything after a job with the help of Kent Beagle}

Play Nice

Let’s say you’re not grossed out by using the testers and you want a makeover (I HIGHLY suggest taking some alcohol pads with you, just in case. And if the brushes don’t smell/look clean, they’re not. You have the right to request clean brushes).  You will receive great service if you are up front with the salesperson and simply ask if there is a fee for a makeover.  They’ll say no, but remember he or she is a salesperson – not your personal makeup artist.  If you want a full makeover, be prepared to purchase at least one of the items they used, or offer a tip – even $5 is greatly appreciated.


Make Friends

Conversation I had today with a non-makeup salesperson at the mall:

Salesperson: I looooove your makeup, your eyes are amazing.

Me: Thanks so much! I’m a makeup artist, so I’ve had lots of practice.  If you go to MAC or any of the counters here, they can show you how to do what you want.

Salesperson: I have…the reason I hate MAC is because they make me look like an oompa loompa.

Me: I’ve worked with several MAC artists, and I assure you that they are trained to achieve any look you want! Just be really specific, tell them you want something simple, not a full face.


Two takeaways – first, most folks who work at a makeup counter/store do so because we love makeup, so we love to talk about it. Ask questions! The more specific you are, the more we can help you. For example, if you want to learn how to do an everyday smokey eye, don’t ask for full makeup. Ask for a simple smokey eye that only uses two or three products and takes about five minutes. Second, use that time like a makeup lesson, not just as having someone put makeup on you.  I was at MAC today and told the salesperson I loved her lashes. After she shared which mascara she used, I asked her how she used it, too.


Makeup shopping is intense. Pushy salespeople, the rush of fellow shoppers, and “that lipstick is HOW much?!” can add pressure to what should be a fun experience. If you try these tips, hopefully your next shopping trip will be amazing.  Or, just order the goods online…


Images c/o Google Images

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