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Eye Glamour 101: How to Do a Smokey Eye Like a Pro

The smokey eye is the makeup version of the LBD. It’s sexy, sophisticated, classic, and will give you that extra “I look hot; I can take over the world” confidence. Unlike other eye makeup that depends on the eye color, this is not just makeup for blue eyes.

Although smokey eyes for blue eyes are perfect, it is also an excellent eye makeup for any other eye color. It gives off a vibe as timeless as Audrey Hepburn but equally as modern and relevant as Angelina Jolie. You’ll notice they’ve both frequently donned this look as well.

More than that, the smokey eye makeup can also give a rugged rock and roll aura. In fact, even some male rock stars have “rocked” the smokey eye look because, well, they could. The smokey eye definitely equals an edgy sense of self-assurance and speaks unabashedly for itself. (Think about it – have you ever seen someone sport a smokey eye who didn’t look badass?)

Through this comprehensive smokey eyes step by step guide, you’ll learn some of the pros’ secrets on how to do a smokey eye. Every person deserves proper knowledge of this look, so they won’t ever have to seek the help of a professional makeup artist during beauty emergencies ranging from an impromptu client presentation to a
surprise date night.

apply smokey eye

Cover the Bases

Before you learn how to do a smokey eye, make sure you start with a good base. This will make sure your smokey eye last all night. Also, you’d want to keep the ‘smokey-ness’ on top of your lids and not all over your face, so make sure your lids are covered with some heavy-duty

Don’t you hate it when your perfectly applied eyeshadow fades and creases after just a few hours? Applying primer won’t just make your look last longer, but it will also help you blend the shadow much better.

If you don’t have an eye primer on hand, you can opt to use concealer on your lids. Afterward, apply some translucent powder to smoothen out your canvas. Doing this step will create a barrier between the oil on your lids (have you noticed how that area seems to be dewy?), and will foil any potential ‘eye-emergencies’ from happening.

Also, don’t neglect the area below your eyes. Apply a concealer shade that’s close to your natural skin tone. Since the eyeshadow you’ll be applying is dark, there might be a stark contrast if your under-eye area is too light.

Light It Up

You might think that only dark shades are needed to complete a traditional black smokey eye. However, you actually need a range of shades from light to dark, and you have to start applying the lightest shades first. It is true that once you go black, you can never go back in terms of applying eyeshadows; hence you’ll need to apply a light eyeshadow before moving forward to the dark shades.

Choose a clean shade of white, beige, tan, cream, or ivory, depending on what will best flatter your skin tone. Sweep this light shade all over your eyelids – from your upper lash line to the area just below your brow.

Tip: It’s ideal to opt for a matte eyeshadow for your base shade, so it won’t interfere with the colors you’re going to use for your smokey eye.

There ‘Hue’ Go

You might expect that you only need to bring out all the browns and blacks in your palette when you see instructions on how to do a smokey eye. Those are always safe bets, but you can also opt to veer from the traditional hues and try other bold colors.

Try a nice shade of indigo for a rock and roll feel, or maybe a sexy navy blue to complement your eyes. You can even go for a rugged army green and add a daring streak of Beyoncé-slash-Sasha-Fierce gold – smokey eyes with a gold touch! You might be surprised to pull off smokey eyes with purple or some shimmer!

The best way to find out what looks great on you is to test what will best match your complexion. For instance, if you have dark skin, you can probably go for deeper, darker shades. If you have a lighter complexion, you may not need too much pigment to achieve your desired effect. Mix and match various shades from an extensive dark palette range and see what works best for you.

When considering how to do a smokey eye, you can also choose the level of ‘smokey-ness’ you want to achieve depending on the occasion. For instance, if it’s a day look, you can still pull off a brown smokey eye, as long as you stick to more subtle shades. If the look is for an evening affair, you can apply the darker-hued shadows more liberally.

See You Layer

Once you’ve chosen your colors, sweep a medium-toned dark shade on the base of your eyelid first. You can use a flat shader brush or a sponge-tip applicator for this step. Just make sure to keep the shadow on the lid and crease area, and avoid the brow bone, so it remains bright.

At this point, you can increase the layer of pigment on your lids depending on the density and depth you prefer. Just make sure that the darkest shades are nearer your eyelashes, and make them fade gradually toward the crease area. The crease area should be the point where there is a very subtle break between the dark eyeshadow and the light eyeshadow. You’ll achieve this by doing the next step properly.

Give it a Smudge

The key to the effortless sexiness is in the smudge. To know how to do a smokey eye right means to let loose and forget a too-perfect shadow effect. Achieving this glamorous eye makeup is similar to that morning after look you get after a night of partying without removing your makeup before sleeping. The smokey eye makeup is also similar to the aftermath of your winged liner, shadow, and mascara all meshed together after rubbing your eyes.

Fret not because while that’s the idea that we’re going for, this one is a little more polished and, of course, a lot less messy. (Also, because not washing off makeup before bed is unsanitary and not recommended.)

professional smokey eye

A good smudge will determine if you’ve mastered how to do a smokey eye. You’d want to avoid looking like something off a page of a color-by-number book, where solid lines separate each color. There should be a seamless, monochromatic blend from the darkest parts of the eye to the lightest ones. You can use an eyeshadow brush to do this or your trusty finger, whichever works best for you.

Crease and Desist

To give your eyes a sultry deep-set look and accentuate your lids, use a pointed crease brush to create a darker shade in the outer corner of the eye. Begin with the outer edge of your lash line, and then make a diagonal line toward the end of your brow. What you’re going for is a V-shape at the corner of your eye. Like your base shadow, make sure there are no harsh lines and edges. You can do this by getting another clean brush to soften those edges.

Draw the Line (or Lines)

One of the most essential parts of the smokey eye is applying some killer liner. This should be filed under the category of the steps that should not to be missed when learning how to do a smokey eye.

You can choose to go for a thick, smudged line, or a more precise, solid clean line. If you’re attempting the former, choose a creamy eyeliner pencil in black or a darker-hued shade, and use it to line your upper lash area.

Apply from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye, and then soften the liner using a cotton swab or an eyeshadow brush. This will look best if you used darker shades of eyeshadow like gray or navy blue, or if you’re doing smokey eyes with a purple shade eyeshadow.

If you’re using lighter hues, like browns and light grays, a more precise eyeliner could add that dramatic touch. You can choose a sharp pencil or a liquid eyeliner to achieve that sleek line. Start from the outer corner of your eyes, and then carefully work your way inwards. You can also, draw a smooth wing on the edges of your eyelids to add a sexy cat eye look to your stare.

Another extra step you can do is to use a matte pencil eyeliner to draw lines on the inner rims of your eyes for a sharper, more outlined look.

If you want to up your smokey eye game up a notch, don’t forget to put some eyeliner on your lower lash line as well. (Warning: have tissues on hand as you may tear up a bit if your eyes are sensitive.) Just give your lower eye a gentle pull, and apply an unsharpened pencil (not liquid!) eyeliner to the lower rim of your eyelids, which is also known as the water line. Not everyone can do this part faultlessly, so give yourself some credit if you get it right the first time.

Lash, But Not the Least

You’re almost done with your smokey eye transformation! However, you can’t learn how to do a smokey eye if you neglect your lashes. First, start by using an eyelash curler to curl those lashes, and then apply a few coats of waterproof, black mascara to seal the deal. You can also choose other darker colored mascara shades if you prefer, like a ‘grunge-y’ dark green, a midnight shade of navy, or a deep purple. Don’t forget to put some mascara on your lower lashes as well to complete the look.

Makeup Lashes

More or Less Makeup: It Doesn’t Matter!

The great thing about mastering how to do a smokey eye is that sometimes, you don’t have to do much else to the rest of your face. Just follow the ultimate guide in applying smokey eye makeup and you are good to go.

Don’t overdo the look by putting heavy shades of blush or lipstick because your eyes are more than enough. Complement the look with light shades for your cheeks or perhaps, even none at all. This is to make sure that the upper part of your face won’t look too heavy.

Ideally, you can use a pale nude, beige, or light pink shade of lipstick on your lips so as not to draw too much attention to that area. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. You can probably get away with a bold red or fuchsia lip color if the shades you use on your eyes tend to be more on the browns and the bronze-gold hues. Both matte and glossy lipsticks can work with the smokey eye. Sometimes though, even just a clear lip gloss will be enough.

Another pro makeup tip you can follow is adding a bit of highlighter on your brow bone and just above your cheekbones for some extra glow. The light shimmer and highlight will also complement your smokey eyes.

More or less makeup

Time to Remove

Remember; do not sleep with your makeup on just because of the morning-after-partying face results to smokey eyes. Take care of your skin by using a gentle makeup remover before going to bed.

Sometimes, the smokey eye look is tedious to remove because of the many dark layers you’ve applied, making it more difficult to just wipe it off. An oil-based makeup remover can work best especially for the heavy makeup you applied on your eyes. Follow it up by washing your whole face with a gentle facial cleanser, and then applying toner and moisturizer.

There you go – now, it’s time to bring out your makeup tools and keep practicing and experimenting with your smokey eye look. Once you start trying out how to do a smokey eye yourself, you might discover several tricks of your own. Don’t be confined to the steps in this article. Be adventurous with your makeup and have fun!

Take lots of photos and compare the different looks to see what you prefer. Makeup shouldn’t be about trying to change who you are; it should be about bringing out the many different sides, personalities, and moods you have. And, the best way to do that is by being creative and true to yourself.


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