Few makeup trends have held on as strongly as the smokey eye. Think dark and mysterious -- smokey eyes are a trend that has withstood the test of time. But when we stop to think about how alluring and flattering they are on all eye and skin types, it’s not hard to see why.
Take a look at this detailed how-to list of creating the perfect smokey eye. From start to finish, no matter your preferred colors or makeup, you can create a flattering eyeshadow look that’s unique to you.
Take a look at the steps and start experimenting for yourself in order to create the perfect blend of dark, detailed, smokey eyelids.
Getting Started: Prep the Eyelid
Don’t hesitate to use an eyeshadow primer or concealer. Spread your primer from lash to eyebrow, creating an even surface to which you can add your eyeshadow.
The purpose of the primer is to hide or conceal any changes in color that you may naturally have on your eyelid. (We all have this!) It can also allow a surface on which your eyeshadow can stick.
Don’t have time for this mess? Don’t fret! Your smokey eye will come out perfectly vibrant, just in less time! Let’s get started!
Choose Your Colors
Next, it’s time to decide what colors you’ll use for your smokey eye. In most cases, you’ll want two or three complementary colors. We’re talking browns, dark blues/greens, purples, even black.
You can also use cream vs. powder; the choice is yours. Note that cream can be faster, and you can use it without a brush -- just place it on your finger and swipe! With the 11th Hour: Cream Eyeshadow & Liner Stick, our bestselling smudge and crease-proof cream delivers long-lasting results in shades you actually use.
Forget packing a bulky palette. Our sleek eyeshadow sticks will take it from here.
The First Layer of Color
Dab your base shade on your finger or brush and place it on the crease of the eye up to your brow. This will allow you to blend the smokey eye once you’ve added darker colors. After all, smoke means a look that blends into nothing.
Adding this base color first will add that bendability later on.
Don’t have time for that? Cool. Just jump to the next step and use your skin as the blending area. We love this look because you can adapt it for how much time you have each day—no need to add extra steps when you’d rather be marking things off your to-do list.
Adding Color To The Lid
Now it’s time for the good stuff. Grab your middle color, and let’s start adding it to the lid. This will be your lighter color on the smokey end of the spectrum. Your darkest color will come next.
Use a brush or your finger to add the cream shadow to the crease of your lid. Start in the back corner of your crease and brush it in toward your nose, stopping at the point of your eye. Take a few strokes to blend the shadow along the crease -- from the length of the eyebrow still staying within the crease.
Blend this section until you have a darker, shadowed area to the eye. The lid still remains naked at this point, and your brow line is either naked or holding the lighter powder color to match your skin.
Putting on the Smoke
The fun begins now -- it’s all fun -- but we’re really getting into it. Add your darker color to your lid.
Cover the entire lid in this darker color and blend it up into where you’ve already added in the crease. This can be done with your finger or a brush, whatever feels more comfortable.
Now you’ll have an eye that’s entirely colored with your hues of choice.
The final step is to take your darkest color and place it along the lash line. To create a rounded look, you’ll want to go thickest in the middle of the eye and taper toward the edges on both ends.
Use a dark brown, purple, or black shade to create this look. If you have a small brush, that’s great. If not, use a cream stick, like Alleyoop, to place this color just where it’s needed.
Blend in with the rest of your shadow, and bam! Smokey eye achieved.
Best of all is you can make this as detailed as you want. Spend plenty of time perfecting the look, or pop on a few colors before rushing out the door. You can easily adapt the entire smokey look to your wants and needs.
Finishing Up with Mascara
One of the finishing touches that will really kick your eye game up a notch is by adding mascara. Considering you’re already wearing dark colors along the eyelash, mascara will only accentuate this area.
Use your favorite mascara to finish off the look. And bam! Smokey eye look achievement has been unlocked. All with the ease of using cream powder.
An added perk to using a cream vs. a powder is that you’ll have longer staying powder. You can also perform the perfect smokey eye in a shorter time, without sacrificing on the final look.
One Final Step
While you’re at it, don’t forget to use your finishing spray. This is a step that seriously takes two seconds -- if that -- and can preserve your hard work for the rest of the day. Finishing spray keeps your makeup set and ready for the day, no matter what comes along.
Take time to perform this final step so you can keep your eyeshadow looking its best. Besides, who wants their perfect eyeshadow to rub or smudge? Finishing spray can keep your eyeshadow in check.
When to Bust Out the Smokey Eye Look
There are many times you may want to sport a smokey eye look. Take a look at these special occasions and consider when you most want to try this makeup look for yourself and customize it as your own.
When Dressing Up and Going OUT
The smokey eye is a classic look for a night on the town. This eyeshadow says, “look at me, I’m here for the party!” And party you shall. Whether you’re going to a quiet dinner or an actual party, smokey eyes are the perfect dress-up look for your eyeshadow game.
When Wearing Dark Colors
Nothing looks better against a smokey eye than a classic LBD -- that little black dress (or any piece of clothing) that perfectly compliments a smokey eye. When going to work or even a semi-casual occasion, wearing a smokey eye can really enhance your overall makeup … and your confidence level.
Whenever you Want
Once again, there are no rules about how and when to do a smokey eye. That means when the mood strikes, go for it already. Smokey eyeshadow can compliment so many colors and occasions. Consider using this as your go-to whenever you see fit.
Why Wear a Smokey Eye?
If you’ve never rocked a smokey eyeshadow look before, you are missing out. It’s an incredible look that can be used in so many versatile ways. You can knock it out of the park every time with a smokey eye. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you’re going, this is an amazingly confident look that can get you where you want to go every time.
Smokey eyes are incredible because they can be adapted to each wearer. Opt for the colors you prefer or find the most flattering. Blend into your various eye shapes and creases, then line and add mascara as you see fit.
It’s also a look that can be dressed up or made more casual, so you can adapt to the occasion on hand.
Have we mentioned that we love a good smokey eye? If you haven’t tried it, or tried it with cream shadow, get on it already. You don’t know what you’re missing!
Cream Shadow Is Where It’s At
Let’s talk about the importance of cream eyeshadow and how it can be a game-changer for your everyday routine. Cream shadow goes on smoothly but has serious staying power. You also don’t need to cake it on like traditional powder, just to get it to show up or have visible color.
Cream powder is also time-saving in that it doesn’t need a primer to stay put -- that is, unless you want to use one. In short, it can save you several steps while still moving quickly on your makeup routine.
While you’re on the go, you can eliminate the need for additional tools, like brushes. Cream shadow can be applied with your fingertip or with a stick -- just dab on and go. Touch-ups and travel have never been easier.
Alleyoop has an entire line of cream, swipe on colors to choose from, including:
- Baby Pearl (Shimmer) Pearl Champagne
- Bronze Medal (Shimmer) Copper Bronze
- Charcolit (Shimmer) Taupe Chrome
- Gotta Guava (Shimmer) Pink Rose Gold
- Coffee Break (Matte) Nude Terracotta
- Taupe Dollar (Matte) Nude Taupe
- Espresso Self (Matte) Gray-ish Dark Brown
We suggest using shades like Charcolit, Espresso Self, and Taupe Dollar for smokey eye options. Accentuate the brow with colors like Baby Pear and Gotta Guava. Or mix and match your own favorites to create the perfect smokey eye look.
Better yet is to experiment and come up with your own concoctions that you like best. Each time around you can choose different colors to create the mix that you prefer best.
The Big Takeaways
There are many ways to create a smokey eye -- and it’s the perfect look for any number of occasions. Opt for the level of steps that best meet your time and look needs, and make it your own.
Sources:Investigating the effect of eye cosmetics on the tear film: current insights | NIH