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Power Duo

09/10/2013 02:55 pm ET | Updated Nov 10, 2013

Brown and black mascara work in tandem for the ultimate "fake it" effect

Most of us have one color of mascara that we lean towards -- often black (it's perhaps the most universal) -- and the more lash-passionate have it in a few different formulas. But a single-tone lash may not be the most flattering. A little curiosity led Olay celebrity makeup artist Bruce Grayson (he's also in charge of the makeup departments for the Emmys, Grammys and Academy Awards!) to experiment with combining two tried-and-true hues. "Black mascara can sometimes get too dark, especially on camera, and brown mascara can often be too light. While playing around to get the perfect balance, I tried a combination and boom it worked -- now it is a staple trick!"

With a few strategic flicks of the wrist, his "trick" will enhance any eye of any shape, at any age. Plus, it works with all shadow, from nude to smoky. To give eyes a perfectly "awake" daytime look, Grayson layers brown at the lash base with black at the ends. "Using brown at the roots of lashes allows for a softer intensity of color to frame the whites of the eyes, while black at the tips frames lashes boldly against contrasting eye shadow colors. Together they coat lashes with deliberate progressive color."

For a sexier, more dramatic look, use brown mascara on lashes along the inner corners and progressively incorporate black towards the outer edges. "The combination of brown on inner lashes and black at the outer corners gives eyes a winged lash effect; it's as if you were wearing faux eyelashes. It's one of my favorite mascara tricks! It looks fantastic both on- and off-camera." This color combo in particular "works like corrective makeup for eyes that are set close together by giving the illusion they're farther apart," notes the second-generation Hollywood makeup artist, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair.

"Healthy, conditioned lashes are the key to great mascara application," adds Grayson, who suggests using Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Cream & Lash Duo to strengthen and define lashes before slicking on mascara. "First gently curl lashes, and then wipe excess mascara off wand before wedging it right at the root and wiggling it all the way to lash tips. Wait a few minutes and apply a second coat. Waiting a few minutes between applications guarantees that mascara won't clump." He recommends Benefit They're Real! mascara as well as CoverGirl Clump Crusher LashBlast mascara -- "They have a true Brown shade that contrasts beautifully with Very Black."

Says Grayson: "The combination of brown and black creates beautiful, subtle color contrast and dimension to eyes. But the concept is the same for colored mascaras: Use violet at the root of the lash and purple at the tips. Makeup should be fun. See what works for you and run with it!"

This post was originally published on Beauty Bender.