Smoky Eyes: A Tutorial

Smoky eyes are really striking and fun to wear, but a lot of folks tell me they aren’t sure how to create them. It’s easier than you think! The key is layering the shades and blending the colors. The best thing about a smoky eye is that you can make it as subtle or dramatic as you want, depending on your color choices. Click through the slideshow to see how I created this darker evening look.

  • Smoky Eyes – A Tutorial 1 of 10
    Smoky Eyes - A Tutorial
  • Apply Eyeshadow Primer 2 of 10
    01-shadow-primer

    Primers really help create a smooth canvas and make blending much easier. It's tempting to skip this step, but once you try an eyeshadow primer, you'll wonder why you resisted for so long.

    Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer is available at Smashbox, $20

  • Start With Your Lightest Color 3 of 10
    02a-light-combined_edited-11

    Now, some makeup artists do this the other way around and start with the darkest colors, but I find that building the colors up is easier for beginners. So take your lightest color and apply it across your entire lid using a larger shadow brush, extending the color all the way up to your eyebrow.

    For this tutorial, I am using Smashbox Fade to Black Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette in Fade Out, found at Beauty.com, $42

  • Lid 4 of 10
    03a-lid-applied_edited-11

    Now choose a slightly darker shade and apply this to color to just your lid and crease. Lightly press the color on lids, rather than swipe the brush across, for better coverage and to prevent excess fall-out (the shadow that falls onto your upper cheek when applying).

  • Crease 5 of 10
    04-crease1

    Going even darker this time, use a medium-sized brush to apply your next color onto the outer corners of your eyes and emphasize your crease. If you want a subtle daytime look, you can stop here.

  • Outer Corners 6 of 10
    05-darkest-color_edited-11

    Here's where things get dramatic. You'll want to take a dark color and layer it on the corners of your eyes, blending it up into your crease. It's okay if it's a bit messy, because at this point you'll want to use a blending brush and use small circular motions to blend it all together. If you feel like any areas are too dark, tap on some of your lighter shadow colors and blend again.

  • Line Your Bottom Lash Line 7 of 10
    06-line-bottom-lash-line

    Use one of your darker colors to line your bottom lash line using a liner brush.

  • Line Your Top Lash Line 8 of 10
    07-apply-liner

    Again using your liner brush, apply a liner to your top lash line. I'm using a gel-based liner, but you can use a pencil, liquid, or shadow if you prefer.

    Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner in Deep Black is found at Smashbox, $22

  • Apply Mascara 9 of 10
    08-apply-mascara

    Apply two coats of mascara to both top and bottom lashes. I prefer to curl mine first, but you can skip this step if you have naturally curved lashes.

    Smashbox Photo Op Eye Brightening Mascara can be purchased at Beauty.com, $20

  • Date Night Ready 10 of 10
    09-done-outside1-edited

    Now go out and have some fun!

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