For Beautifully Blended Eye Looks, It Takes Two (or More) to Tango

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

Here’s a hump day (yes…I actually forgot what day of the week it was and only just now realized it two hours after publishing this post, LOL!) morning makeup tip for easier, more blended eye looks… Use multiple transition colors, instead of just one transition color or none at all.

MAC Soft Brown and Saddle Eye Shadows

Two of my favorite transition colors: MAC Soft Brown (top) and MAC Saddle (bottom)

For instance, for a smoothly blended brown smokey eye, use the darkest shadow color on your lid (MAC Ground Brown), then a slightly lighter color in your crease (MAC Saddle), and a slightly lighter color than that moving up the crease (MAC Soft Brown), so that you have a smooth gradient that goes from darkest to lightest. πŸ™‚

TheBalm smokey eyes

Smokey eye ’til I die! Wearing theBalm’s Balmsai palette

MAC Alluring Aquatic

Wearing the MAC Alluring Aquatic collection

STORM WATCH 2014! And other schtuff…

OK, so, first, the big stuff.

It is storming! I’ve seen two emergency flash-flood alerts on TV so far this morning, and I’m watching a torrent of water in the storm drain on the hill outside. There’s a major storm hitting Northern California right now, and it’s supposed to be a bad one.

Tabs, El Hub and I live on a hill, so we’re hopefully safe from the flooding, for now. There’s also the possibility of our place just sliding down the hill in a mudslide, which makes me kind of nervous…

I think we’ll be fine. Electricity might go out soon though.

I’ve been trying to distract myself by watching makeup videos, and I found a crop of fab one-minute vids on the MAC website called Instant Artistry.

They’re just quick, little blurbs. Each one covers a single topic, like two-tone lips or ombre eyeshadow.


The looks are mostly accessible and not outrageously cray-cray, which makes me think, “Hey! I can do that.”

Assuming the power stays on, and I’m able to actually see what I’m doing, I’m going try the look in the colored eyeliner video today.

I guess if I were to attempt it in the dark…that might also be kind of fun, haha!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Agata says:

    Hi Karen, I love gradient looks! I do it a lot with my UD Naked 2 Basics palette ( I am a little obsessed with it).

    I am glad to hear you’re safe, I was thinking about you. When you try that eyeliner look, you should do a video. I miss watching them, you’ve always had so many useful tips and I just love hearing your voice.
    Agata recently posted … Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agata,

      That’s a good palette to do transitions with. A great workhorse!

      We are still on flood watch until 11. So far we’re OK. No emergency alerts and the power is still on (knock on wood).

      And thank you for the video encouragement… I know it’s been a while! I hope to get back into it again soon. πŸ™‚

      How is your day going?

      • Agata says:

        I am hoping the power stays on for you!

        By day’s been busy. A lot of medical insurance calls, everyone is trying to do some last minute enrollments and, of course, most people are really confused about what to do,lol.
        Agata recently posted … Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights

        • Karen says:

          Oh boy. I’m actually dealing with that right now too. I bet you tell people all day long that they’re going to be fine. How do you say that in Polish? “You’re going to be ok.”

          Power is still on! Although I just got another scary text alert about emergency flooding. :[

          • Agata says:

            I can’t really add anything from myself, I can only interpret what the rep/Polish customer says. But “Evrything will be ok” would be “Wszystko bedzie w porzadku” in Polish (what a tongue breaker for a foreigner, lol).

            Aren’t those text alerts freaking you out? I have had some in the past that woke me up in the middle of the night and the first time I got it I had no idea what was going on and it scared the s*%t out of me, lol.
            Agata recently posted … Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlights

          • Karen says:

            Ahh, I see. Thank you for teaching me “Wszystko bedzie w porzadku.” You never know when you’re going to need a little bit of Polish! I’m probably mispronouncing it, but hey, at least I’m trying LOL!

            Yeah, the texts alerts are REALLY loud. I’ve jumped out of my seat a few times! But they do the job of getting your attention, that’s for sure.

  2. Debra says:

    This gradient look I have done but more often, cause my lids are less than generous, I use a lighter matte on them and then gradate from there up, matching the brow bone with the lid.

    There is more wind than rain here. 1/3 of the fence is gone between me and the wide open space that leads to my neighbor’s auto body shop So I am walking Bridget the Beagle for her “necessities” but once the leash goes on, she thinks we are going for a walk!

    I’ve got some 10-minute Pilates videos lined up if I do not exhaust myself with the hound. And, well, yeah, if the power stays on!

    Just bought and used MAC Coquette — what a gorgeous shade!! Especially with Tempting in the crease. Re-purchased Captive too.

    Stay inside and stay dry!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Debra,

      Yeah, Coquette is pretty. Do you have Wedge? It’s another good one. I was just at the MAC counter last night! My friend and I stopped by during our ladydate. She ended up with a red lipstick and I got a brand new bottle of Fix+ and a pan of Uninterrupted.

      Give Bridget the Beagle a squeeze for me. And have fun doing your pilates vid. Which one are you doing?

  3. Rachel says:

    So pretty! And your skin looks amazing and smooth! Stay safe in the storm! I know Cali needs the rain but the storms there can be scary! I lived in Santa Rosa for a year and a tree actually fell on the house we were renting! Not trying to scare you, but that was one of two times in my life so far I thought I was going to die! But I’m okay, lol!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Oh gosh, I hope you weren’t in the house when the tree fell! My place is surrounded by three big oaks; one outside the living room, one by the kitchen and one by my office. I’ve been a little freaked out by the thought of one of them falling over, but I figure, they’re really old trees, so they’ll be OK. Probably. Um, not that a sign got knocked down in the my neighborhood last week or anything.

      How long did you live in Santa Rosa? Did you like it?

  4. I love MACs mattes for transition. The ones I used are leftovers from one of my impulse limited edition buy-everythings. I had quite a few of them when I got into makeup, maybe enough to supply me until the end of days with eyeshadows.

    Glad to hear you are safe. Is Tabs okay or is he frightened? (Not that heΒ΄d show, but I guess you could sense it, being his longtime assistant)
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer

  5. Jules says:

    You look absolutely stunning, as per usual!

    In regards to that storm – I live in Vancouver, and used to live out on Vancouver Island. Parts of the Island have been placed in a state of emergency and evacuated due to flooding (it has to do with a storm surge and a “king tide”). Please be safe!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jules,

      Oh my. You stay safe, too. Try to avoid driving if you can!

      Which part of Vancouver are you in, by the way? I visited the city once and really loved it. I can definitely see myself living there if I could ever get over the cold…

  6. Trisha says:

    I wish it was storming where I am! Instead it’s just gloomy and snowy. Boooo.

    I’m with you on using several eye shadow shades! Totally the key to good blending.
    Trisha recently posted … For the Holidays: Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit 2nd Edition

  7. Solangel says:

    Your skin is to die for!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Solangel,

      Thanks! It helps to have good lighting. LOL. If I was an eccentric billionaire I’d hire a lighting team to follow me around 24/7.

      Hope things on your end are good. Are you done with your holiday shopping?

  8. Katia Audrey says:

    Definitely one of your best looks! Why not make a tutorial? I’d love to see it in a step by step action!

  9. Ruchita says:

    Great tips, thank you! This maybe kinda strange, but I have this big pressed powder compact that is the perfect shade for a transition color. I tried it once on a whim and it worked great to help with the transition between the crease color an highlight on the brow bone.

    Hope you and the family stay safe. Does Tabs get scared of loud storms? During thunderstorms all the cats usually head for cover. Sometimes Mingy stays out and is extra affectionate and follows me around. Once he even sat on my lap, which is an extremely rare occurrence! Sending positive vibes and purrs your way!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruchita,

      That’s not strange at all! I use powder compacts and bronzers all the time as transition colors. πŸ™‚ Don’t you love it when you try something like that and it works out?

      So, Tabs used to be an outdoor kitty, and thunder and rain don’t seem to scare him (most of the time). They actually fire him up! He’s been very vocal and interactive all morning. He just wants to run around and wreak havoc outside.

      Wait — Mingy isn’t a lap cat? In my mind I pictured him as being a total momma’s boy.

      • Ruchita says:

        Aww Tabs, what a tough boy! Mingy is very sweet and will follow me around and rub against my legs and ask for belly rubs, but he’s not always cuddly.

        He can also be a bit of a loner sometimes. If we’re in the living room watching TV, he may sit on his perch in the dining room or lay on the kitchen mat. Lately, his spot has been under the Christmas tree.

        There’s literally three times that he’s sat on my lap, so it’s a rare treat when he does. πŸ™‚

        Ella on the other hand is a total lap cat. If you are sitting down, she will find a way to sit on you. And she’s very friendly and loves people.

        Nina is also very sweet, but she’ll usually sit next to me on the couch, not directly on my lap. However, she does sleep with us in bed every night, which is pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

        It’s funny how each of them have their own, distinct personalities!

        • Karen says:

          Yeah, he thinks he’s a tough guy, but really, he’s just a bowl of sweet, sweet tabby cat loving.

          OH, I kind of love that you remember the three times that Mingy sat on your lap! That’s something I would do. Cat lady solidarity! *bumps fist*

          I remember you mentioning that Nina-kitty sleeps with you in bed. Seriously — SO jelly. It is rare when Tabs does that. I think maybe he’s done it once or twice in the entire time I’ve known him. You are very lucky.

          Any plans for a fourth cat? You have that third gateway kitty, so anything is possible.

          • Ruchita says:

            Hehe, thanks for letting me share about all the cat personalities. Tabs sounds like a real sweetheart. πŸ™‚

            We are so lucky to have Nina. I don’t know if I ever mentioned how we got her. We were visiting my sister-in-law at her old house when my husband saw a dark shape darting around the backyard. Turns out it was a little black cat looking for food. She was just a little thing and I hated to leave her there, so we literally cat-napped her off the street. We didn’t have a carrier, so I held her in my arms on the way home. She is just the sweetest, most loving girl and she came to us in the most unexpected way. It was meant to be. πŸ™‚

            I would love to have another at or possibly foster, but I’m a bit concerned about Mingy and Ella. When we brought in Nina, Ella developed stress-related cystitis and started going outside the litter box. It was a rough couple of months, but she’s been doing great since then.

            A couple of months after we got Nina, my husband rescued a little kitten from the boiler room at his work. We fostered him for a while, but then that caused Mingy to have the same issues as Ella. For a period of time, both of them were having litter box issues.

            As much as I would love to have another cat, I don’t want to stress out the other two. Luckily, Nina is pretty chill. πŸ™‚

          • Karen says:

            I’ve heard that it can be hard to get that balance at first when you have a multi-cat household. That’s the big reason why we haven’t introduced another kitty into the mix. I’m pretty sure Tabs would NOT be one of those chill cats like Nina.

            Nina-kitty sounds like a dream cat. Is she your kitty soul mate?

            Seriously, that sentence was so cat lady!

  10. Allison C says:

    I have yet to try a gradient look, but it looks like fun that I will try it even tho’ I think I’m too old for such a dark eye. I’ll do it on a day when I’m staying home, lol.
    I just heard that the power was out because of the storm in the SF Bay Area. Hope you guys are doing OK north of the city
    Allison C recently posted … Marsala Pantone Color of 2015: Love It or Hate It?

  11. Paulomi says:

    Yikes! Stay safe!

  12. Paulomi says:

    I do matte, satin, amplified…anything, but am not a big fan of lipgloss…love the shade you wore in the Too Faced blushing bronzer post and what do you think of the new MAC Toxic Tale? I wear many different brands too so feel free to suggest πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Oh! That shade is Too Faced Melted Coral. It’s really pretty. It has a brightness to it that I think livens up the face.

      So, Toxic Tale. I really like it a lot. There’s just enough red in there to keep things interesting.

      You could also do MAC Vegas Volt, NARS Lodhi and Hourglass Muse. I have a huge list of corals here, too, that might be helpful:

      Ask MBB: Got Any Must-Have Coral Lipstick Faves?

  13. Claudia says:

    Great smoky eye look!
    Stay safe- I’m in SoCal & that storm is heading our way!

  14. Kim says:

    Hey, good luck out there with the weather. The idea of a mudslide is pretty scary! Our electricity went out a few times this AM (heavy snow) but only for less than a minute each time. Just enough for everyone at work to lose whatever they were working on so there was a collective “COME ON!” after every dark spell. πŸ™‚ Things are fine now.

    Now for confession time. I thought that Soft Brown and Saddle where the same color from the pic. Then I read the caption and hung my head. Can I blame my monitor? HAHA!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Kim!

      They look kinda similar in the pans. On the skin it’s totally different though. Be careful on your drive home! Is your commute long? Drive safe.

      • Kim says:

        You’re such a forgiving soul! πŸ™‚ My commute is literally like 7 blocks but I did drive to my hair appt and that’s about 25 miles away. No problems! Oh, and I have you to thank for making me look pretty knowledgeable in the salon. The gal who does my hair asked what new products I’d tried and would recommend because I “always try out the coolest stuff”. So, thanks to you and and to Sephora’s sampling. HAHA! I got her hooked on Nars blush (but she prefers the multiple), Pro Prime and (of course) UD Whiskey. We don’t have good access to Chanel so her wallet is safe from Malice and Le Volume. πŸ™‚

  15. Susan says:

    Your smoky eye looks beautiful! It never seems to look right on me, but I love it on other people πŸ™‚ Our weather in the Midwest is pretty quiet right now, thankfully, but since it is the Midwest, that can change at any second, lol! Hope you all stay safe and power stays on for you. The text alerts can be pretty freaky. I hate it when I get the tornado warning ones and the sirens start to go off. Take care and Merry Christmas to you and Tabs!

  16. Fancie says:

    I hope you stay safe and warm! Big storms can be pretty scary. I love the way you do your smokey eyes though! They’re always so nicely done. Great tip too!
    Fancie recently posted … More L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paints!

  17. Majick says:

    I wonder WHY there’s no sun up in the SKY…
    …stormy weatherrrrrrrrr!
    Stay safe and dry my friend. Tabs will protect you (who will open the gravy?). πŸ˜€
    Caliboosh loves a good storm. SHe always wants to go out and hang in the hanging planter box on the front of our house. We used to plant flowers in it but she kept sleeping on them. LOL Now it is just a hanging flower box with a cat mat in it.

  18. Erin says:

    I’m definitely worried about this storm. Even up here we’re supposed to get soaked AND have a bad windstorm. Last wind storm we lost power for 6 hours lost all our food and we were so cold all night because the heater only came back on 30 minutes before bed!
    Erin recently posted … Review: Kono Wine of New Zealand 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

  19. I’m gonna state the obvious and super expected here but… ACK, I love this eye look! I can really appreciate a good ol’ black smokey. You have sick blending skills, Karen πŸ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | MAC Sourpuss Technakohl Liner

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