Many magazine covers feature models with smoky eyes. A cover girl look that represents beauty, confidence and youth, plus tells us we can have anything we want. Maybe you want the classic smoky eye look or the dramatic smoky eye look. The smoky eye look is not just applying makeup on the upper and lower eye lids, you will need to apply lip liner, lipstick and blush to your cheeks to give them color. I use to spend two hours every day, after I got out of the shower, working on my makeup and hair. It was fun. This article serves as a guide and resource on how to create a perfect smoky eye look with makeup. You can achieve this look in ten minutes. All women are models.
What products are necessary and why?
You do not have to go out and buy the most expensive line of eye makeup products that are out there. We all have different skin types. You can achieve the smoky eye look without the big expense. Experiment with different cosmetics and find the right brand that works for your skin type. I am a matcher. I try to buy just one brand for all my cosmetic products. That is not always possible. I do use a mixture of different brands.
Products that are necessary for the smoky eye look are: concealer, primer, foundation, powder, black eye liner, eye pencil, eye shadow, eye shadow brush, Q-tip, sponge-tip applicator, makeup remover, smudge brush, lip liner, lipstick and blush. Any color loose eye shadow can be used. You need to use three similar shades of each color to create a smoky eye look; a light creamy color, a medium base color, and a dark smoky color. Use good quality makeup brushes. The best makeup brush for a smoky eye look is a rounded domed eye shadow brush. Use black eye liner to accent your smoky eyes. Use an antibacterial makeup brush cleanser to wash your eye shadow brushes.
How should the products be used?
Before you can achieve the smoky eye look you need to wash your face and make sure that you do not have facial oils in the crease of the eyelid. After your face is dry apply a light color or natural skin color concealer or foundation all over the top eye lid and under the lower eye lid area. Use a concealer brush. If your skin is oily, like mine, I suggest applying powder all over the top eye lid and under the lower eye lid area. Powder foundation over the concealer will set it. After you have prepped your face you should be ready to apply the smoky eye look. Do not forget to tweeze your eyebrows. You do not want to draw attention to them.
The next thing you want to do is apply eye pencil on the top eye lid and on the bottom eye lid. Apply your eye pencil from the inner corner to the outer corner. Then soften the outer part of the eye pencil line using a small eye shadow brush or Q-tip. After you soften the eye pencil line you need to smudge the penciled area using a sponge-tip applicator, smudge brush, or a Q-tip. When you have smudged the eye pencil area you have set the softened look. You can achieve a different look with cream, liquid and pencil eye liners. A cream and liquid eyeliner will give you a very smooth finish and pencil eyeliner will give you a softer blended look. I do not use eyeliner to underline the entire bottom eye lid. I only use eyeliner from about the middle of the bottom eyelid to the outer corner of the eyelid. Taper the eyeliner so it blends with your eye shadow. You do not want to create a harsh look.
Using a larger eye shadow brush or fluffy blending brush, apply a lighter shadow in a neutral tone. Make sure you encircle the entire eye area, moving upward and outward to soften and blend for the perfect look. Then using a small angled brush apply the same shade you just used along your bottom lash line using feathering strokes. Wrap around the entire eye. You want to build color.
The way that I create the smoky eye look is to use the darkest color first starting with the eye lashes and smoothing it on up to the crease of the eye. Then I use the medium color to blend upward and outward beyond the crease of the eye and move toward the eye lashes to meet the darkest color and blend. At the same time you also want to lighten the color to create the smoky eye look. Your goal here is to soften the look. Make sure that your darkest color is by your eye lashes. Blend away any harsh lines.
Most people would apply mascara next. Then curl their eye lashes. I have oily skin so after I wash my face I apply my mascara then I start with the eye makeup steps. The way I do it I have to touch up my mascara after I apply eye makeup around my eyes. I use a safety pin to separate any eye lashes that might be sticking together. Then I use a Q-tip to wipe away any mascara flakes and clean up any areas of my eyes that have smeared. Some people use a fan brush to wipe away mascara flakes. When I am done I have applied at least two coats of mascara. I have also added more eye shadow for touch up and to give my eyes a more dramatic look.
To achieve the classic smoky eye look use black or gray, you can also use bronze and brown. Then you want to lightly line your lips with a natural color and use a sheer color like peach, caramel or barely there pink to give your lips that classic nude look. If you want to achieve a more dramatic smoky eye look line your lips with a darker lip liner and fill in your lips with a deep color. The final thing to do is to put blush on your cheeks. I like to match my lipstick and my blush. If you apply a natural color on your lips I suggest you use a natural looking blush on your cheeks. Wearing blush will complete your look and add some color to your complexion. Focus on drawing attention to your eyes or your lips but not both. I prefer to draw the attention to my eyes. That means no red lip stick.
Are there some products you should avoid?
You do not want to use a thin eye shadow brush; instead you want to use a fluffy eye shadow blending brush. Do not apply too dark of a color on your eyelid, your eye makeup will look messy. Do not use an eye shadow color that is too bright, your smoky eye look will distract from your face. Do not put eye liner in your tear duct. This is dangerous. Do not use old, dirty sponge brushes because they do not blend well and will create a smeared look. Some people say to add three coats of mascara. I would suggest not to use more than two coats of mascara you might create clumps and lumps in your lashes. I guess you could use a third coat of mascara on your eyes if you feel you need a touch up and you want to create a more dramatic look. For example let’s say you wore the classic look during the day and now you are going out in the evening and you want the dramatic look. In this situation you might want to touch up your eye lashes with a third coat of mascara. Be careful with the layers you do not want to create raccoon eyes and you do not want your makeup to look caked on. Remember less is more. Make sure your eye shadow brushes are completely dry before you apply your makeup to blend in your eye shadows.
After you have applied the concealer or primer and the foundation powder I suggest applying the darker color first, then the medium color and then the lighter color. Avoid applying the lighter color first, then the medium color and then the darker color. Using the technique build your color of eye shadow from lighter to darker will create raccoon eyes.
Skip the white eye liner on the lower lid. I read that you should use a white eye pencil to line the inside of your lower eye lid to make your eyes appear wider, brighter and fresher, more awake, more healthy and bring out the color of your iris. I thought it looked terrible. The white color in the eye lid looked loud and drew attention to the lower eye lid. The purpose of the smoky eye look is to make you look good and the white eye liner on the lower eye lid does not do that.
What are the techniques involved to achieve this look?
The biggest technique to achieve the smoky eye look is to master blending. You want to sweep the brush in soft broad strokes across your eye lid where the different eye shadows meet to blend. Blend upward and outward. You want your eye shadow to softly fade into your natural skin tone. Do this for both the upper and the lower eye lid. Make sure the darkest color is by your eye lashes. The eye liner pencils are the easiest to smudge. Do not wait until you get photographed wearing the smoky eye look. Practice your blending for the smoky eye look at home in front of the mirror.
Word of Safety
I see people sharing makeup all the time. Please do not use other people’s makeup or loan out your makeup to others, bacteria grows on makeup, especially eyeliner and mascara. This applies to lipstick too.
Resources for Further Reading:
How to Get Smoky Eyes with Makeup.
How to Create a Smoky Eye Effect.