Special Night Out Smoky Eye

Makeup Tutorial

There are many schools of thought surrounding what is considered a “smoky” eye.  In its purest sense, smudging dark or rich color around the entire eye creates a smoky eye.  The smudging creates a mysterious, sexy, unstructured look that is in direct contrast to a more architectural or linear application of solid pencil or liquid liner.  The level of “smoke” can be subtle, playful, or amped all the way up to a 5-alarm scorcher.

The key to the perfect smoky eye is proper blending. Colors must transition seamlessly to keep it from looking harsh.

The Items You’ll Need:

  • Eyeshadow Primer (optional, but strongly suggested)
  • 3 Eye Shadows (Light, Medium, and Dark Shades)
  • Eyeliner
  • Mascara (Black…this is a smokey eye, no need for subtlety)
  • False Eyelashes (optional)
  • Eye Make-up Brushes
  • Eye Make-up Remover & Q-tips (for quick clean-ups)

Start With A Perfect Canvas

Even though I say it’s “optional”, I strongly suggest prepping your eye to achieve the most longlasting result. I prime the eye-socket by dabbing a touch of matte cream eyeshadow on the eyelid (MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot), then blending it out to a smooth uniform finish with a clean, dry synthetic eyeshadow fluff brush (Omnia Pro BOM-400). I set this with a no-color setting powder to avoid creasing (RCMA No-Color or Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder).

The Eyeshadows

I like using 3 colors to give the smoky eye visual depth. I prefer using neutral matte eyeshadows for a sophisticated, but sexy look. I automatically reach for the Viseart Paris 01 Neutral Matte Eyeshadow Palette for this look. It is without a doubt, the pro makeup artist HG (holy grail) eyeshadow palette.

  • Apply the lightest shade from the lash line upwards onto the brow bone. On a standard smoky eye, I use a matte ivory or a pale sand color for this step.
  • Now apply a moderately deep taupe or soft medium brown color into the crease and blend it down towards the lid.
  • Finally, I use a very dark brown, charcoal or soft black shadow, starting at the lashline and blend up onto the entire lid, meeting the medium color in the crease.

Step back and take a look…can you see where one color begins and the next ends?  If you can, then BLEND MORE.  The transitions should be seamless. Use a little of the same dark eyeshadow under lower lashes and smudge it until it looks soft and diffused.

The Eyeliner

For this crucial step, choose either a black, black/brown or charcoal eyeliner and draw a thick line very close to the eyelashes on the upper lid.  Take a small eyeshadow brush and smudge the line so there is no hard edge.
Optional: You can make a fine line along your lower lashes and smudge it over the eyeshadow.
I also line the upper and lower inner eyelids (the waterline) to reinforce the depth of “smoke” around the eye and to fill in any skin color that might be showing between the eyelashes.

A good quality kohl liner will make this step almost foolproof. The richly pigmented smooth texture of the Inglot Kohl Pencil makes the application and smudging a breeze. I purposely don’t use waterproof eyeliner for this step because they set very quickly and don’t give you enough play time to achieve a well smudged, smoky finish.

The Mascara

You’re going to want very dense, lush looking lashes for this smoky look.  That means multiple coats.
My go-to mascara has always been L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black. This is a “night out” makeup, so I’d opt for the waterproof…just in case your night gets WILD!
I get the most dramatic, clump-free results by applying a few thin coats of mascara. I coat the lashes, then comb through with a clean mascara spoolie or an eyelash comb. I let each coat dry completely before moving to the next. It usually takes 3 light coats on upper lashes and, at least, two coats on lowers to get the most dramatic results. If you’re lash-challenged, you could add a set of feathery false eyelashes, but make sure they look pretty, not drag-ish (you know what i mean…lol).

Finishing The Look
I avoid using obvious blush color when eye makeup is this strong – the cheek color competes with the beautiful neutrality of the eyes. Try using a bronzer instead. I feel the same way about lip color, it should be closer to nude, so it doesn’t compete for attention with those sultry eyes.

Ready for something a little different?

Color Me Smoky

Reinterpret the basic smoky eye and give it some extra flair by injecting unexpected colors. Try layering in eyeshadow colors that compliment your outfit or highlight your eye color…there are no rules, so switch it up often and have fun!

The Example Above:
To create the sexy, grungy looking smoky eye above, I replace the lightest shade with soft shimmering gold and the deeper shades with olive green and dark khaki eyeshadow.

Not The Smoky Eye Type?

I break down the three basic eyeshadow applications that simply enhance the beauty of your eyes.

Click on the “Back To Basic” image (above) to go to that post.


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