Different smoky eye techniques
When envisioning a smoky eye, black, grey and navy shades are usually the first colours that come to mind.
And while these hues may be the classic way to create the popular eye look - like most things in beauty - it can be customised to suit you.
Here are seven different ways you can channel a smoky eye (just in case you want one for every day of the week...)
#1 Sepia smoky eye
If you have brown eyes, using bronze and sepia shadows can really compliment them and make your peepers pop. A general rule for creating a smoky eye is to use the darker shades on the outer corner and crease of the eye, with lighter shades towards the inner corner.
#2 Purple haze
Those with cooler skin tones can sometimes find black a little harsh, so try experimenting with different colours like purples and pinks. When applying shadow underneath the eye, professional make-up artist Kendra Richards says, “The key to a smoky look is blending. With under eye shadow [you want to] go over and over it, to really make sure it’s not a distinct line and blend it out.”
#3 Golden goddess
A shimmery gold and bronze smoky is the perfect party look for summer. To make your gold extra pigmented and long-lasting, go over your lid with a pencil like NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil in Pure Gold or Chi Chi Metallic Eyeshadow Stick in Barbarella first, then follow with powder to set, using a gold as your base colour and a bronze for the outer corner. Hold off using any black eyeliner so the focus stays on the gold - but go crazy with mascara and lashes!
#4 Black as night
If you want an intense smoky eye that’s black all over - THIS is how you do it. Jessica Alba showcased this back in 2014 and it’s still as on point now as it was back then. The reason she didn’t end up looking like a panda is because her make-up artist, Lauren Andersen, didn’t apply any of the black shadow under the eye and she also used a cream formula, allowing her to work it perfectly into shape. According to allure.com, Lauren started by lining the eye with black pencil, then followed with the gel-like shadow over the top lid, stopping cleanly at the eye crease. Just a touch of silver was used on the very inner corner to finish off.
#5 Blue as day
Blue and navy shades are a great alternative for those who don’t want to use black, but still want a dark smoky. When working with blue shades, celebrity make-up artist Laura Dillon says to always use an eyelid primer. “Since blue is a primary color, it can easily take on a different hue once it’s applied to bare skin. (For example, blue on reddish skin tends to turn purple.) A primer will prevent that from happening, not [to] mention increase staying power.”
#6 Effortless grunge
This is the perfect example of a lazy-girl (or beginner) smoky eye. When it comes to minimal effort make-up, nobody knows more than Taylor Frankel, Co-Founder of the pencil make-up brand Nudestix, who says, “A smoky eye can be as simple as draw and smudge.”
If that sounds right up your alley, just make sure you’re drawing close to the lash line and smudging outwards. And once you’ve smudged your black to perfection, run a metallic silver eye pencil under your eye and towards the inner corner to complete your grunge, ‘couldn’t care less’ look.
#7 Traditional smoky eye
We couldn’t finish without giving an example of the ultimate classic smoky eye. And surprise, surprise, it’s Zendaya (aka the celeb we wish would become a beauty blogger) who’s absolutely nailed it. Her black shadow is blended to perfection - see how it looks a little sheer? That is definition smoky right there.
When trying to perfect a smoky eye, make-up expert Laura Mercier gives this solid advice: “Take the lightest colour and wash over the entire eye, gradually building it vertically towards the arch of the eyebrow. Then take the medium or dark intensity colour and softly start to darken the eyelids from the outer corner, inwards so that the lightest part is nearest your nose and the darkest part is nearest your ear.”
As you can see on Zendaya, the black doesn’t start until a quarter of the way along her eye, to keep them looking as big and beautiful as possible. Popping a silvery white shadow in the inner corner also helps to accentuate this effect.
Do you like to wear a smoky eye? What colours do you like to use?