I’m often too rushed in the morning to take time to really make myself up for the day, so I rely on products that are quick and easy and add a lot of oomph. Or, at least, enough oomph to keep me from looking like a corpse throughout the day.

Having an extremely fair complexion, I’ve discovered recently that failure to apply blush usually results in clients and coworkers asking if I’m feeling alright or commenting on my unusual paleness.

In an effort to look alive and feel pretty, I recently find myself reaching for a couple of feline-inspired products. The first, and most versatile, is Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzing Powder. Packaged in an adorable pink leopard-print box, the powder is made up of shimmery gold, soft pink and brown shades. Swirled together on a blush or powder brush, the bronzer leaves a subtle glow on cheeks that is easily layered to create the desired level of color. I also apply a little to my brow bones to give my face an all over glow. This shade is perfect for us pale things, as the pink offsets the brown and the color never gets too dark. However, there is a nice amount of shimmer in the powder that would accent darker skin tones nicely as well. Bonus: the inside of the package features a mirror that says “You look absolutely purrrfect!” Not a bad way to start the day.

The second product is one I’ve mentioned before: Stila Kitten Eye Shadow. This shimmery neutral shadow is flattering to virtually all eye colors, and it stays put throughout the day. Whenever I want to play up my eyes a bit, I swipe on Kitten, curl my lashes, and finish with mascara. It’s a really nice look.

Where There’s Smoke…

There are few looks as timeless and coveted as the smokey eye. When done properly, it’s a smoldering, sophisticated look that makes your eyes pop and puts a swagger in your step. When done poorly, it can look like you are in desperate need of sleep, you’ve been punched in both eyes, or, worse, you simply just don’t know how to apply makeup. None of these is good.

My go-to eye look is sort of a smokey cat eye. It’s subtle enough to be appropriate in just about every situation, but steamy enough to make me feel HOT during those times when I really want to be able to stop people dead in their tracks with nothing more than a glance. I’m not sure I ever have, but feeling like I could is the real power that comes from the smokey eye.

First things first: I start by curling my lashes and applying concealer below the eyes. As mentioned above, this look can run the risk of making you look sleepy or bruised; try to avoid that by hiding any real signs of sleep deprivation. I always curl my lashes first so that I don’t get any makeup on my lash curler, and because it slightly changes the look of the eye and I want to make sure I apply makeup accordingly.

Next, I sweep on a light beige or shimmery nude eyeshadow. Apply it all over lids, from lashes to brow bone. Two of my favorite shadows for this are Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Nutmeg and Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten. Kitten is a little sparklier, so Nutmeg is my pick when subtlety is key.

Now for the fun part: liner. I have used regular pencil liner and gel liner (never liquid – I’m just not that brave), and both can be good tools, but my favorite way to line my eyes is with powder eye shadow and a sponge-tip applicator. I’ve used dark purples, greens, and blacks, and really depending on your eye color, what you’re wearing, and how brave you feel, any dark shadow can work. The color I use most frequently is Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow in Diamond Black. Carefully tap the edge of the sponge-tip applicator in the shadow. Use it to deposit the color right into the lash line, all along the bottom lashes. Do the same on the top, starting between a third and half of the way across the lashes and moving out towards the outer corner of the eye. Where the two lines meet, I like to wing the shadow slightly upward, creating the subtle cat eye look.

Using either my finger or the applicator, I smudge the lines a little, making the look more or less smokey depending on the event or situation.

Finally, I add a coat of black mascara to open up my eyes and tie the look together.

Voila! A subtle smokey eye.