For a night out where drama and sophistication are the watchword, a smoky eye look could be just the thing. It doesn’t take a makeup artist to do this, either; here’s how to create smoky eyes with the makeup most people have at home.
Step 1: Choose the Right Colors and Supplies
Creating a smoky eye requires three similar shades: one light and creamy, one base (medium), and one dark and smoky. Traditionally, shades of gray and black are used. Other common smoky eye shades include brown and bronze.
For a look that brings out blue eyes, try gold and copper. Brown eyes go well with navy and gray. For those lucky enough to have green eyes, make them pop with a dark purple and gray combination.
Smoky eye makeup needs to be applied with a makeup brush, not a sponge, otherwise it will not blend. An ideal choice is a domed eyebrow brush.
Step 2: Prepare the Eyelids and Face
Before applying the eye makeup, the eyelid needs to be prepared. Apply concealer and eyeshadow primer first, so that the eyeshadow will stay on properly. A concealer brush can be used for both of these.
Apply the rest of the makeup to the face before starting on the smoky eye. Make sure the eyebrows are colored and shaped properly, as a good smoky eye draws attention to them.
Step 3: Apply the Highlight Color
The highlight is the lightest of the three colors. Start from the inside corner of the eyelid and work outward on the upper lid, then the lower. Apply a streak along the underside of the eyebrow from one end to the other.
Step 4: Apply the Medium Shade
Cover the entire eyelid with the base shade. Blend the highlighter and medium shades together at the corners to avoid a harsh contrast between the two. Stop the medium shade at the natural eyelid crease; do not connect it to the highlighter under the brow.
Step 5: Apply the Smoky Shade
This is the most difficult step. Starting at the outside edge of the eyelash line, sweep the dark color in a small “c” shape up toward the eyelid crease. Continue on the crease about halfway along the lid. Make sure that about the inner third of the eyelid remains free of dark color, to achieve and open and bright look around the eye.
Step 6: Blend
Clean and dry the eyeshadow brush thoroughly. Blend the two lighter colors together gently. The point is not to mix the colors but to avoid any harsh lines where the two shades touch. Then blend the dark color outward and upward toward the brow, without significantly obscuring the light color that was applied under the brow line. The dark color should fade off into the skin around the eye and brow.
Step 7: Add Eyeliner and Mascara
Accentuate and outline the smoky eye area with a black eyeliner. Any type of eyeliner will work, but a cream eyeliner goes on smoothly and easily. The liner should continue a fair distance past the edge of the eye, out to where the makeup stops.
Apply mascara with a gentle hand. No more than two coats on the top lashes and one coat on the bottom. And that’s how to create smoky eyes using the makeup already in the bathroom. It just takes three similar shades of eye shadow, some makeup brushes, and a bit of practice.