The Smokey Eye.
Some call it the Little Black Dress of the makeup world — sexy, fun, flirty, and definitely attention-grabbing. It’s also the number one request I get as a makeup artist. And with the right tools, products, and application techniques, it can be just as easy as slipping into your knock ’em dead little black dress.
My Top Ten Smokey Eye Tips
1. Start with the eyes
It may seem natural to apply your face makeup first, but doing your eyes first will save you time (and possibly frustration). Since you’re probably going to get some shadow fallout and smudging, it’s much easier to do a quick swipe with some makeup remover on bare skin than on skin that’s already been made-up. I’ve been using L’Oreal Eye Makeup Remover ($7) for years and love it!
2. Use a primer
I recommend using a primer under all of your shadows, but it’s especially important with a smokey eye. The primer gives a smooth, even base, which is necessary for all the blending that goes on with a smokey eye. Primer also makes the shadow last longer and prevents creasing. I use Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($17) for smokey eyes and all of my other looks.
3. Have a good selection of colors in the same color family
You can do a black smokey eye, a silver one, a teal one — whatever you want. But since the point of a smokey eye is to have the colors form a gradient — from darkest to lightest — it helps to have a variety of shadows to work with. For example, if you’re doing a black smokey eye, you’ll want a dark black shadow, a lighter black shadow, a couple of grays, and a white or silver (for highlight). A palette like the Coastal Scents 88 Color Palette ($19) makes things easy by grouping similar colors together.
4. Keep an eyeliner handy
Eyeliner accessorizes smokey eyes like killer heels do for the LBD. I recommend pencil, crayon or gel formulas, as liquid liners dry quickly and are harder to smudge. You’re going to need a liner to line the top lashline, the bottom lashline, and the waterline. But relax, you don’t need to draw a perfect line, because the liner is meant to blend right into the shadow. When doing a smokey eye, I always find myself reaching for the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils ($17).
5. Use a few good quality brushes
You’ll need a flat shader brush to apply shadow to the lid, a mid-sized brush for the crease, a pencil brush to work on the tearduct and lashline, and a fluffy brush to blend and apply highlight color. I prefer brushes from MAC and CVS’s Essence of Beauty line.
6. Blend, blend, blend
The last thing you want are obvious lines where one color has ended and another has begun. Use that fluffy brush to blend out any harsh lines. When blending the crease color, use small circular motions to “smoke it out.” Gently wipe the brush on the back of your hand to remove color before blending each new section.