Gigi Hadid’s Makeup Artist Has a New Take on the Classic Smoky Eye

Brown is the new grey.

Written by Nada Abouarrage
Photographs by Nadya Wasylko

styled by Schanel Bakkouche. Hair by Ben Skervin for Oribe at Streeters, Makeup by Erin Parsons for MAC Cosmetics at Streeters, manicure by Tracylee for Dior Le Vernisat Tim Howard Management. Model: Luping Wang at New York Models. Produced by Biel Parklee. Casting by Erin Simon. Photography Assistants: Kaitlin Tucker, Kyle Thompson, Peter Freleng. Hair Assistant: Levi Monarch. Makeup Assistants: Dina Drevenak, Aya Watanabe.

The red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival is all glamorous, elegant gowns paired with natural, understated hair and makeup: think flawlessly tousled hair and “no makeup” makeup.

A classic smoky eye, in shades of grey and black, can be too harsh for the easy, breezy aesthetic of Cannes (at least during the daytime). Makeup artist Erin Parsons, who works with Gigi Hadid, recommends switching over to brown eyeshadow instead. “It’s a color that can naturally create a tone or contour without looking as though makeup has been applied,” she explains.

Photo by @erinparsonsmakeup

It may be less fun to purchase, but brown eyeshadow can actually be an extremely useful addition to your beauty bag. “It’s hard to walk into a makeup store and see all the gorgeous colors and sparkle shadows and remain interested in a neutral tone,” Parsons adds. “But I think every makeup lover has a staple brown shadow they use to create either a natural look or for the base tone that adds depth and contour to the eye before applying other colors.” Of all the shades, Parsons’ favorite is Maybelline’s Eyestudio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil in Glazed Toffee. “It’s my go-to for starting almost any neutral eyeshadow look,” she explains.

Photo by @erinparsonsmakeup

A smoky eye may sound complicated, but Parsons is here to help. “I love to use brown pencils or cream shadows first to create a transparent tone and set the initial shape of the eye,” she says. “Simply take a deep brown pencil applied to the eyelid and lower rim then smudge out with the fingertip. Next top with powder shadow to the crease blending and diffusing edges. Then I’ll seal this in with neutral powder shadows in corresponding colors which further deepen tones and create the final look.”

Photo by @erinparsonsmakeup

It’s also easy to take this look from day to night. “All you have to do is add black liner to the upper and lower inner rim of eyes and top with lots of black mascara. For added dimension place a clear gloss on the eyelid and voila! Quick and easy sexy smoky eyes!” And there you have it.

Watch: Gigi Hadid Talks About Her Love of Neutral Makeup