How To Do A Smokey Eye Your Ultimate Guide

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by: Madeleine Spencer
18 Aug 2017

Smokey eyes are a perennial make-up classic for the simple reason that they’re totally brilliant, suiting everyone and looking sophisticated and a bit rock chick all at the same time. The other great thing about them? It may look difficult to achieve but it’s actually really easy – and you can totally customise everything about a smokey eye from the colour you go for to the amount of smoke you apply to suit you. 

Consider this your ultimate guide to smokey eyes, including a tutorial, a step-by-step guide, product recommendations, and some handy hints… 

Here's how to do a smokey eye, with our Beauty Editor, Madeleine

Posted by InStyle UK on Thursday, August 17, 2017

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Here’s how to do a smokey eye, with our Beauty Editor, Madeleine

Posted by InStyle UK on Thursday, 17 August 2017


The Steps:

1. Prime. If you’re applying eyeshadow for your smokey eye, it’s a good idea to apply a primer to your eyelids to help it stick around for longer – and to reduce the chances of your colour from moving into creases. 

Try: Marc Jacobs Under(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Eye Primer, Nars Pro Prime

2. Apply Base Shadow. Think of this as laying down subtle definition – not adding the actual ‘smoke.’ Sweep your base shadow up to your crease above your eyes and take a little underneath your lower lash line.

Try: Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage Eyeshadow Quad, Urban Decay Naked2 Basics, MAC 217 brush

3. Define. Now, take the same brush and brush a deeper shade into the outer corner of your eyes, blending back and forth into your socket like a windscreen wiper. 

Try: The same products as above – just use the darker colours.

4. Add Liner and Smudge. Here’s where things go up a notch – eyeliner really adds definition. Take a kohl and run it along your lash line, then smudge it into the shadow. You can also run the eyeliner along your lower waterline – or just underneath if you’re concerned about your eyes looking smaller. 

Try: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Waterproof Eyeliner, Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder Eyeliner, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Perversion, Marc Jacobs The Smudge Brush. 

5. Shimmer. If you like to enhance your eyes more and want to make them look bigger, try tapping a little shimmer onto the centre of your eyelids. 

Try: Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow in All Spice, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eyeshadow Pot.

7. Mascara. No smokey eye is complete without lashings of mascara. Grab a good one that really enhances and make sure you’re wiggling it right into the roots after curling lashes. Don’t forget your lower lashes!

Try: Troy Surratt Revelee Eyelash Curler, YSL The Shock Waterproof Mascara, Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara, Laura Mercier Extra Lash Sculping Mascara.

8. Tidy Up. Don’t forget this step! It’s really important once you’ve applied your smokey eye to tidy up any fall down. Either do this with a cotton bud dipped in make-up remover, or with a beauty blender in moisturiser. To finish, go over any areas of darkness with a concealer. 

Video: How To Do A Smokey Eye In 10 Seconds 

Things to bear in mind:

– Colour. You don’t have to go for a black or even brown smokey eye. In fact, jewel colours work enormously well when piled around the eyes and can be a really great alternative to more muted colours. See the video above for colour inspiration.

– Inside the waterline v outside the waterline. If you line on your lower lash line, you’ll get a high impact look, but also make your eyes appear slightly smaller. If this concerns you, try lining outside of them. 

How to undo smokey eye mistakes:

1. Make-Up Fall Down. To get rid of fallen shadow, you can try the above steps, or to avoid getting the smudges in the first place, try applying an eye mask under your eyes before you start. That way, when you remove it at the end, you’ll have hydrated and dewy skin – bonus.

2. Gone Overboard. If you’ve got carried away and applied too much, all you have to do is dip a cotton bud in some micellar water, run it around your smoky eye, then take the dry end and buff and blend the colours onto the newly-nude portion of skin to lift the effect.

3. Reduce Smudges. A smokey eye can absolutely be worn with impunity – you just have to do a little work to keep it there. Try adding a thin layer of powder under your eyes before you leave the house to reduce the chances of make-up making its way down your cheeks. 

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