a makeup tutorial : transition from day to night

My beautiful friend Allyson was kind enough to let me use her as a model to showcase simple ways to take your makeup look from day to night.

Usually by the end of the workday, makeup applied in the morning needs a little refresher. And if you have a date in the evening, or a girls night out, there are subtle changes you can do to your existing makeup to make the look bolder instead of starting over.

For her daytime look, we kept it simple by using shimmery grey shadow, a subtle liner technique, and  added color with pink cheeks.

1. Apply a shimmer, or iridescent light grey shadow across the entire lid. Using a narrow angle brush (like this one), apply a line of black, or very dark grey, eye shadow right above the lash line. This will give definition, but not be a very strong eyeliner look.
2. Apply a coat or two of your favorite mascara.
3. Choose a light pink blush, and apply to the apples of your cheeks.
4. Find a sheer pink, or peach, gloss for your lips.

Eye Shadow : Laura Mercier “Sable”, similar
Eye Shadow used as liner : Laura Mercier “Black Coffee”
Blush : Tarte Adored
Lip Gloss : Laura Mercier “Bare Peach”, similar

To add to the existing look for evening, choose darker shades of eye shadows and liners.

1. For Allyson, I choose a deep plum/grey eye shadow and pressed it into her crease, and the outer corners of her eyes. Any range of deep and smoky colors will work to amp up your makeup. Look for dark slate greys, plums, or espresso browns.
2. Apply liquid or gel eyeliner along the upper lash line, and wing it out just a bit at the corners. The blacker the liner the better.
3. Some mascara works well with layering, but other’s get flaky and clumpy if you apply a new coat at the end of the day. Try this before you do it before an evenining out. If you want to “freshen up” your mascara, but don’t want to apply a fresh coat, run the side of a liquid eyeliner against your lashes (as if you were combing them upwards). This will add an inky black finish, without the clumps.
4. Use a small brush and swipe some eyeshadow along your lower lash line. On Allyson, I chose a slightly lighter purple that had hints of shimmer. 
5. Add a coat of mascara to your lower lashes
6. Finish your look with a bold lip color!

Plum Eye Shadow : Laura Mercier “Rich Sienna”
Gel Eyeliner : Maybelline Gel Liner
Lower Lashline Eyeshadow : Laura Mercier “Fig”
Lipstick : Poppy King for J.Crew (no longer in stock)
Shop items similar to what Allyson is wearing: 


  1. says

    Hi Kate! My mom and I read your blog religiously, and I’ve used many-a-hairstyle of yours for weddings, fancy dinners…just about anything! Just wanted to drop in and say what a small, small world it is– Allyson was my AP Emglish teacher and a good friend of my sister’s. So, hi from Mollie and Wendy! She looks absolutely gorgeous, and I was just too excited to not say anything!

  2. says

    WOW, she looks fabulous! I love that Laura Mercier bare peach lipgloss, but can’t spend that much money on lipgloss. Can you think of a similar drugstore brand?

    Thanks…love your blog!

    • says

      My makeup lasts all day, and it’s a strategic combination of great products. I wrote a post recently on ” My Makeup”, scroll through my beauty page to find it!

  3. says

    This is great and so helpful! I put on makeup in the morning with the hope of it lasting to evening and this is helpful for me to get the “after work outing” look right!

  4. says

    I think I do my eye shadow the way I was taught at age 14. I can’t not!

    Every time I see your eye shadow, I covet the placement but I can’t quite do it. What the heck is wrong with me???

  5. says

    What about when your foundation has worn off or your face is oily by the end of the day? In order to really freshen my makeup up, I feel the need to wash my face and start over with foundation and blush! Any tips?

  6. says

    The evening lipstick really brightens up her face.. I’d love to see the placement of an eye shadow a bit more over her hooded area..she is a beautiful lady.

  7. says

    Which nars color would you say is closest to the discontinued one you used? When I clicked the link it went to honolulu honey “a flesh toned beige”–no thank you.

    I’ve been searching for the right red that tends towards orange as opposed to purple and the one you used looks spot on.

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