Attempting YouTube Makeup Tutorials || Desi Perkins BLACK SMOKEY EYE

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Aly Holding up Two Palettes

Good Morning fellow beauty lovers…today’s post is gonna be so fun! I can’t wait to try out this segment and hear your opinions because this is genuinely one of my favorite things to do! Today I am going to attempt a YouTube makeup tutorial by Desi Perkins. I’ll give you my opinion on how it went and share some tips for how I made it work for me. If this goes well I would love to make a series out of this. There are so many beauty gurus out there I would love to share with you while also giving you a more ‘simple girls’ perspective and how-to.

Desi Perkins || Beauty Guru

For today’s look I followed a YouTube tutorial done by Desi Perkins where she teaches us how to blend a black smokey eye. I have been subscribed to Desi’s channel for a while and can definitely say I admire her talent and creativity. Her videos are always very informative and entertaining. She does have a more advanced skill set so I tend to stick with admiring her videos more than actually attempting them.

Today however…I’m going all in! I chose this video in particular because I was going to see Britney Spears do her Piece of Me Show in Las Vegas. A bold matte look is just what I needed to compliment my sparkly dress. After quickly perusing through my favorite beauty YouTuber’s channels I decided this was the perfect challenge.

[Check out the bottom of the post for photos from the night of the show.] 

One of the things that I like most about this tutorial is that it is technique focused. Desi is not only teaching how to do a black smokey eye but she is teaching techniques that can be applied to any and all eyeshadow looks. Blending is the key to doing your eyeshadow and there are so many different tricks to blend seamlessly.

Here is the tutorial I followed from Desi’s YouTube Channel:

My Attempt

Black smokey eyes can be one of the most intimidating looks to attempt. This is because black eyeshadows are hard to blend and one wrong swipe and you look like a hockey player with two black eyes. Whenever I try something new, I make sure to practice on a day when I have no reason to rush or panic if everything doesn’t go as planned. I would never try a new look, especially a black smokey eye, on the day of an actual event.

The photos I took below are from my first attempt to practice this black smokey eye. Each photo displays the result of each step I took in following Desi’s tutorial. Something I learned early on when watching YouTube tutorials is that you wont own every makeup product used in the video…and you don’t have to! Usually you can find something similar within your own collection that will work. In this case you will notice I used completely different brands and products.

Step 1 and 2

Step 1 and Step 21. After applying my base foundation of Smashbox Studio Skin and filling in my brows…I applied an eye primer and set it with a skin toned eye shadow. One thing I did differently than Desi was I applied this skin toned eyeshadow over my entire lid rather than just in the transition and brow bone areas. Never skip this step! I always regret it when I don’t put an eye primer on. Even when I don’t wear any shadow; the primer keeps your eyelids matte and prevents them from getting oily throughout the day.

2. Using a fluffy blending brush I applied Tone Up from the Elcie Minimalist Palette mixed with Burnt Orange from the Modern Renaissance Palette as my transition shade into my crease and blended it out. Following Desi’s instruction, after blending out my transition area, I reapplied some of the base shadow right under my brow. This made sure the transition color did not go up too high.

[below are the shadows I used for this step from the Elcie Minimalist Palette and the Modern Renaissance Palette ]

Palette Display

Step 3 and 4

Step 3 and Step 4

3. For this step I mixed Red Ochre and Realgar from the Modern Renaissance Palette to create a similar shade to the rusty one Desi used. Desi spent a good amount of time explaining why the blending brush she used helped concentrate the product in the crease without making a harsh line. Although I did not have the same brush as her, I had a similar one from Morphe that worked well enough. Looking back I probably could have spent a little more time blending lol. I did make a point however to demonstrate two different ways to hold your blending brush. It feels more natural to hold your brush like I am in the third photo below when applying shadow. Since we are trying to concentrate most of the product into the crease, holding your brush up and blending like I am in the second photo will help transition the top edge with your transition color.

[first photo are the two shades I mixed for my crease color, second and third photos demonstrate brush holding techniques for blending]

Blending Techniques

4. This is where the tutorial began to challenge me a bit. For step four I took my time and slowly added the black shadow into the crease. In hindsight, I think I was little too light handed and could have intensified it a bit more. You can see in the photo that there were no harsh black areas. However I feel like the black needed to be more intense directly in the crease. This is probably that hardest step of this entire look and it really determines the success of your smokey eye. In the past when doing a smokey eye, I would apply the black eyeshadow over my entire lid then slowly blend it out into the crease. Desi’s approach in this tutorial made a lot of sense to me, however I don’t think it quite worked out for me on this first attempt.

Step 5 and 6

step 5 and step 6

5. Applying the black gel liner and black shadow over the lid of my eye was probably the easiest part as far as technique goes. That being said I also found it to be the most terrifying haha. Something about the color black is extremely intimidating. One tip that I learned from this was to keep your transition from the lid into the crease soft. I made a harsh edge with the gel liner and this made it really hard to blend them together. The fact that I was too light handed on the previous step probably made it worse. Perhaps the gel liner I chose to use also contributed to my struggle. Needless to say…I’m still pretty happy with how my blending turned out.

6. I completely agree with Desi’s reasons for choosing a bold false lash for this step. The most dramatic false lashes I had on hand were the Koko Lashes Queen B. Personally I find it necessary to wear false lashes with a black smokey eye because your natural lashes blend in too much. You can see how much of a difference they make by comparing photo 5 and 6.

[below is a series of photos displaying the blend I achieved from different eye positions]

3 eye close up

Step 7 and 8

7. After cleaning up any fallout under my eyes and sharpening the edge of the shadow to my brow, I finished applying the rest of my face makeup. Then I moved on to the under eye. Using the same two shadows from step 3 I smoked out the bottom lash line and brought it down a little farther than I normally do. Holding the brush almost vertically while blending keeps the shadow from coming down to far on your under eyes. One thing Desi did that I really liked was using a clean [or almost clean] fluffy blending brush to really blend out the edges of your under eye shadow.

8. After applying black eyeliner into my waterline as Desi demonstrated, I tried blending it with a small blending brush and black shadow. For some reason I really struggled here and it was not blending well. In fact, small particles of the eyeliner kept flinging into my eye. Instead I grabbed a flat definer brush and found this to be an easier way to blend out the eyeliner. This technique of putting the black under your eye as well really helped balance out this look and I feel like you can really see that when comparing photo 7 and 8.

[The photo below demonstrates the way I used the flat definer brush to diffuse the harsh black eyeliner and apply black shadow to set it]

Flat Definer Brush

Finished Black Smokey Eye

step 9 and step 10

Photos 9 and 10 are close up shots of how my black smokey eye following Desi’s tutorial came out. For a first attempt, I am more than pleased with how it came out. I cannot wait to use all the new techniques and tricks I learned from her video. I hope you enjoyed seeing all the steps I took and hearing about what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps this will help you if you ever try to achieve this black smokey eye.

Looking Away

Eyes Closed

Now It’s Your Turn

Attempting to follow a beauty gurus makeup tutorial can be very intimidating. I know i’m not the only one who sticks with admiration rather than attempting. I implore you to step out of your comfort zone and give this one a try! Make sure you do it when you have no where to go and no time constraints. Makeup can be so fun and doesn’t have to be stressful.

People always tell me that they want to achieve a certain look but they’re scared that it wont come out good. I used to feel the same way! When I practice on a random week night I feel the most enabled to truly learn and improve on my blending and application skills.

One of the best parts of practicing makeup on a random night…is taking selfies of it when you’re done! When doing your makeup for an event you usually don’t have time to get a good photo before rushing out of the house. While practicing however, you have all the time in the world to get that perfect shot that shows off all your hard work and progress.

Who Should I Do Next?

Okay so I want to know how this went! Did you learn anything new and are you inspired to go improve your makeup skills? Have you ever tried watching a YouTube tutorial then practiced the look on yourself? There are tons of good makeup artists who work hard to put out tutorials that are creative and unique. Desi Perkins was my first choice to share with you but I have so many more that I would love to tell you about! Who is your makeup icon and what inspires you most about them?

Doing this post really brought me back to my child hood. Some of the fondest memories I have with my friends were when we would sit around and play with makeup and take the most embarrassing [but we thought they were fierce] photos. I will cherish those moments forever!

Until my next beauty tutorial attempt…I bid you adieu

xoxo Aly

Shop The Post

Smiley Dimple

Far Off Look

Kisses with Schroeder


The Minimalist

Photos from Britney Spears Piece of Me Show

We were so excited to see Britney that we did not take too many photos the night of the show. Here are a few where you can see how my second attempt at this black smokey eye came out.  I added a little glitter liner to my inner corners to make the look a bit more concert appropriate.


Jackie and Lauren

Vegas Group Photo

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