Are you as obsessed with The Royals as we are? Aside from the addictive plot line, we love the fact that both Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley) and Princess Helena (Alexandra Park) are two members of the monarchy who aren't above a dramatic smoky eye. Because the two characters are so different, department head of hair and makeup Kate Benton crafted two very distinct smoldering shadow effects to play up those differences. "Eleanor's character is bold and edgy, so her smoky eye is dark and dramatic. She has many layers to her character emotionally, so we created a mask-like look, because Eleanor doesn't like to feel exposed," Benton says. "She hides her emotional softer side behind the edgy makeup."
Alternately, Queen Helena's look is much more Kate Middleton (that is, if Kate wore a smoky eye) than Kate Moss. "Queen Helena uses her makeup as a tool. It is intended to be strong and bold, but classic," she tells us. "She knows what looks good on her, and sticks with that look. The smoky eye is dramatic, but in a sophisticated and flattering way, so that the public will always see a groomed but strong image of their queen." Just before last night's episode, we asked Benton to give us the details on how to recreate each signature look, along with the key products involved. Read on to get the step-by-step breakdown!
Practice your blending skills if you want a look like Queen Helena's---there should be no graphic lines around the perimeter, and a soft-focus finish is ideal. "I use a good eye makeup base from Make Up For Ever ($22; sephora.com), which helps the shadow stay and not crease," says Benton. "A layer of a neutral bone shade then goes all over the eye, followed by strong eyeliner on the top, which is blended using a soft brush." She follows with a darker color in the crease and along the lower lash line, then brings the color out and upwards to impart a subtle winged shape. Instead of starting with the darkest shadows first, Benton recommends using soft browns, deep plums, and grey tones to ensure you don't come on too strong, then building definition as needed. "Tread carefully here, and if in doubt, use some translucent powder to dilute the strength of the color," she advises. Benton then applies a series of individual faux lashes and mascara, then highlights the inner corners with a small amount of gold shadow. "When Helean wants to look especially made up or smoky, we add a layer of kohl," she adds. "It's a strong, dramatic look. Therefore, go slowly, blend, pull it out for daytime, and add to it for the evening.
To go along with Princess Eleanor's rebellious aesthetic, Benton created a graphic smoky eye with a sharp wing. "Her punk rock look is enhanced by her rock chic clothes and behavior," she explains. "I keep her lip and cheek colors fairly neutral, as I want the attention to be on her eyes." With four different shades of grey and black, she begins with the lightest as a base color all over. "The key is to keep the darker eye shadows on the outer corners and the socket line only, and make sure you blend with a cream blush," Benton says. She then picks up the Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black ($23; nordstrom.com) to form the precise wing with a thin makeup brush. Get the graphic effect exact by slowly and steadily intensifying the line. "If your brush is too wide or big, you won't maintain control. The thin brush allows for a neat, sharp line, which makes Eleanor's smoky eye more dramatic and intense," says Benton. "I bring the flick out quite far, aiming toward the end of her eyebrow." Armed with the MUD Eye Pencil in Black ($13; mudshop.com), she traces the waterline, then tops everything off with a strip of the Katy Perry lashes for Eylure ($4 each; ulta.com). "Always remember to trim your false lashes from the outer corner if they're too long for your eye," Benton says. "Other wise, they can close your eye, or if they're too long, can make the shape look droopy!"