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How to Get the Smokey Eyes Look

Updated on October 9, 2014
dramatic eye makeup tutorial
dramatic eye makeup tutorial | Source

What is “Smoky Eye”?

“Smoky eye” makeup usually refers to a dramatic looking eye makeup with several colors. It involves an eyeshadow color grade from light to dark, that creates an expressive look that is perfect for a night out on the town. It’s normally a dark look and it involves using several shades of eyeshadow. That being said, you can do a smoky eye in neutral eyeshadow colors. If you want a dramatic and dark smoky eye, you should use a makeup palette with darker colors. If you want a smoky eye that looks more natural, select a neutral palette of colors that complement your features well. It’s also possible to add a splash of bright color, for example you can add green or purple to create an interesting effect.

Materials You Will Need for Smoky Eyes

  • Eye shadow palette (multi-tone or multicolored palette)
  • Angled makeup brush
  • Small makeup blending brush
  • Mascara
  • Kohl eyeliner pencil or liquid liner
  • Foundation
  • Eyeshadow Primer (optional)

Eyeshadow Primer

I have tried a lot of eyeshadow primers and this one is honestly my favorite: Urban decay eyeshadow primer is perfect for applying before your eyeshadow. This product blends well and it isn't oily. It really helps to keep the eyeshadow on and it won't smear or crease the colors together.

How to Apply Makeup for Smoky Eyes

Start with your foundation; apply the foundation around your face the way you normally would. Make sure to put foundation under your eye. It’s also a good idea to apply foundation on your eyelid. You can use your regular foundation, or a special primer for eyes. I like to use eyeshadow primer because this will help the eyeshadow stay on your eyelid better.

Easy Tip: I like to put my foundation and eyeshadow primer on with a small makeup brush. If you put it on with your fingers, you will be adding extra oil to your skin and it will create more shine. Apply your foundation with a makeup brush instead, when you are done simply clean off your brush with makeup remover and some tissue paper.

Choose a Makeup Palette

Once the foundation is applied you can start applying the eyeshadow. As mentioned before there are a variety of color palettes available and there are a large amount of makeup companies to choose from. For this tutorial I chose a Lancome 4-tone eyeshadow palette, because I find the colors apply very well and last a long time. Revlon, Maybelline and Almay also have color palettes specifically for different eye colors, and they have tutorials for their version of the smoky eyes look on the back of their makeup containers. If you aren't sure what type of makeup to use, I would recommend these companies because they are very affordable eye shadow palettes that work very well.

Get the Smoky Effect with Your Eye Makeup: 7 Easy Steps

Step One: Start with the second lightest color in your palette and apply it to your entire eyelid with an eyeshadow brush, from your lash line to the brow bone. This is normally a beige color or something very light.

Smoky Eye Tutorial Step One
Smoky Eye Tutorial Step One | Source

Step Two: Take the lightest color and apply it to the area around your brow bone. This will highlight your brow bone and create contrast.

Smoky Eye Tutorial Step 2
Smoky Eye Tutorial Step 2 | Source

Step Three: Take the second darkest color shade from your palette. Apply it near your lash line in the far corners of your eyes.

Smoky Eye Tutorial Step 3
Smoky Eye Tutorial Step 3 | Source

Then blend the eyeshadow up to the crease in your eyelid, using your blending brush to spread it along.


Step Four: Take the same color and apply it to your bottom lash line. Take the blending brush and sweep it outwards, creating a slight arc that goes towards your eyebrow.


Step Five: Using the angled brush, take the darkest color in your palette and apply it to the lash line, top and bottom. If you want, you can use eyeliner instead of eyeshadow. If you choose to use eyeliner for this section instead, I recommend a Kohl eyeliner because it is perfect for blending. On your upper eyelid, start at the top corner and work your way to the end of your eye. Then line your bottom lash line. Make the eyeliner thicker in the far corners and very thin in the inner corners. Take the blending brush and blend it.


Step 6: Take a cloth or makeup remover pad and remove any extra powder that has come loose and fallen on your cheek, or to reshape the eyeshadow on your eye. Now you can curl your eyelashes and apply mascara. If you want to apply false lashes, apply them now when the eye makeup is done.

Step 7: Once the eyeshadow is applied, it’s time to add the rest of your makeup. Apply your blush as you normally would. For lipstick, if you are wearing a dark eyeshadow, a rule of thumb is to wear a light lipstick. Try a neutral color for your lips or simply a lip gloss.

Do You have any Tricks for Smoky Eye Makeup?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this smokey eyes look, I always wanted that look.

      Great hub

      Thank you

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      8 years ago from Nepal

      I have done this in Photoshop but I will love to try with cosmetics. LOL

    • TheKatsMeow profile imageAUTHOR

      Katee Shew 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Wow thank you so much for that compliment tillsontitan, I really appreciate it :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      8 years ago from New York

      You really blasted this one out of the water! Your instructions, step by step, your photos and your illustrations are easy for anyone to follow and cover your subject perfectly!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


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