Monday, 21 August 2017

CaBella Makeup Masterclass | Smoky Eye Secrets Revealed


When it comes to full-on glamour, nowhere in Nottingham does it better than independent beauty boutique CaBella.

A treasure trove of makeup, glitter and all things girlie, it's tucked away off the city’s upmarket Bridlesmith Gate and offers serious pampering. If you’ve always wanted someone to decode the mysteries of that Insta-perfect look, this is the destination.

Whether it’s a special occasion or just a night out, Cabella offers makeovers, beauty treatments including injectables and the chance to shop some great brands that can be harder to get hold of in the UK, such as Milani and LA Girl.

To say I was excited when they invited me along to a Bloggers’ Beauty Masterclass is a bit of an understatement.



With Radhika from Radhika Recommends

Despite being obsessed with makeup, I’m always hungry for new ideas and tips to take my beauty game to the next level, and we definitely got plenty of those. We would have the chance to learn the makeup artists secrets to two major looks – a warm shimmer and a classic smokey eye.

We’d be shown the tricks, techniques and products that really go into the mega-glam, Kardashian-style looks all over beauty lovers’ social media – and some of it definitely turned out to be surprising!

After being welcomed into the store by the very stylish CaBella ladies, we were handed a glass of fizz and a goody bag to unpack later and settled down to learn the secrets we’d been dying to know to create those flawless looks.

So the burning question – what’s the best technique for a classic smokey eye?

This must be the one look that everyone would like to know how to do (it’s CaBella’s most-requested beauty look, apparently). When it goes right, it's beautiful but there’s a lot of bad attempts out there and people can be scared of doing a look that involves such heavy colours. Here’s how the experts create the look:


The first tip – Start with the eyeshadow first.

Instead of beginning with foundation, the CaBella girls taught us that if you’re going for a big eye look, it's best to start off right there. Then you can clean up any shadow fall out without wiping off half of your foundation in the process. Simply use baby wipes or a cotton bud dipped in makeup remover after your eyeshadow is finished to get rid of any mess.


Make sure you use eye primer first

They also told us to always make sure we use an eye primer as the very first step. I must admit, I’m usually guilty of skipping this step, but if you’re going to put all the work in, it only makes sense!


Build your smoke with warmer colours

We were also told that going in with only blacks and greys suits very few people. It looks quite harsh and can make any bags, lines and shadows around the eyes look far worse. This is why people often try for this look and are left disappointed by the result.

Instead, building the smokey eye using some warm tones is much more flattering.  They started by applying a warm medium brown shade in the crease, up and out towards the tail of the brow. Then, deeper tones, including black were layered onto the outer corners of the eye only., using shades from CaBella’s own Desert Spice palette.

For a pop of extra glam, pressed glitter shades were then layered on top. I must admit, I haven’t worn glitter for years, but the effect they produced here was absolutely stunning – not over the top, but it just really elevated the look. They used one shade on the lid, and a lighter one in the inner corners of the eye to open it up.


Use shadow as eyeliner

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that they didn’t use any eyeliner. Instead, black shadow from the same palette was pressed into the lashline using an angled brush. This achieved a much softer effect than a harsh liquid line – and the whole point of a smokey eye is that’s super soft and sort of hazy and hypnotic. Apparently, this only works well if you’ve primed your lids first, so don’t skip that step (I can’t say that enough, people. EMBRACE THE PRIMER!)

When it comes to mascara, the wand is the key

Then they added mascara. One of the nicest things about going to this evening was finding out the products genuinely recommended by people that use them day in and day out. I assumed it was all going to be expensive, so I was really pleasantly surprised that a lot of what they rated was really affordable.

With mascara especially, they said that what you’re paying for is the brush mainly, and the formulas don’t really vary too much across price points.

So if you’re looking to save some money, you can keep the wand of your favourite mascara, wash it off and sanitise it, and re-use it with a cheaper formula. They also said something that can make a huge difference is having an LVL Lashes treatment. This is where the lashes are straightened and tinted, and it really opens up the eye.

I was excited to hear this as I have super-straight lashes that no mascara will help, and I’m actually booked in for LVL next week after a lot of umming and ahhing – check my Instagram for the results of the treatment!
With Ellie from UniqueLoveStyle

Face Primer is also a must for a lasting finish


If you’re not using a primer, it's hard for your makeup to last, especially if you have dry skin as it will just drink up the foundation. CaBella showed us some of their favourite primers from Mac and Milani. Then it was time for foundation. Again, instead of an expensive brand, CaBella’s top pick was good old L’Oreal True Match. They reckon that it suits all skin types and gives the best finish (who’d have thought?).

Applied straight onto a flat-topped brush and blended into the skin, it did look like it was giving a perfect finish. We were all left speechless though, when CaBella founder, Dannica, told us she uses TWELVE pumps! You could hear jaws hitting the floor after that revelation. She said that if you only wear one layer, it can go patchy and make it more obvious you’re wearing makeup.

I’m not sure I personally would use that much, even for a night out, but then again Dannica did look pretty flawless so perhaps I should give it a go!


Concealer can be used to contour


The CaBella girls use concealer to subtly contour the face, and they showed us where to apply it for best results. Concealer should be two shades lighter than your foundation to create this effect. I liked this step as rather than messing around with contour palettes, and ending up with that tell-tale stripy look, this turned out a lot more subtle but was just as effective at lifting and sculpting the face.

Finishing touches – some eyeshadow in one of the crease colours was swept underneath the eye to tie the look together, then a sweep of bronzer was added from all the way level with the hairline at the top of the ear to ¾ way down the cheek, level with the pupil of the eye.

The final step was a slick of lipstick and the look was done. The finished result was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t wait to give it a try at home.


It was such a brilliant evening and left me feeling really inspired about beauty and just the excitement of make-up. We were all kindly given a bag of goodies from CaBella and I also couldn’t resist buying a few of the things they’d used to create the look, as I was so impressed with the finished result.

I picked up the gorgeous CaBella pigment in ‘Modesty’, Glitter Eyes pressed glitter in ‘Mocha’, the Milani Prime Shield and LA Girl Glazed Lip Paint in ‘Elude’ – which they’d used on the night.

A massive thank you to CaBella for having me along! If you’re looking for a makeover, bridal makeup or just a new look for a night out, or a place to shop niche cosmetics, check them out!

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1 comment

  1. It looks like you had loads of fun! I seriously need to watch some Youtube tutorials on how to achieve a good smokey eye!

    Sophie xx // One Unique

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