The look that most people ask me to teach them is the classic smokey eye. You know the one: dark, smudgy, and sultry. Popularized in the 2000’s by edgy rockstars like Avril Lavigne, it’s now a classic and chic look for anything from “red carpet” events to weddings.
It looks like an advanced technique, but it’s actually pretty simple! The key is to choose a deep shadow color and two brushes: one for laying the color on heavily, and one for blending the edges to create the signature “smoke” effect. While black is the most classic color to use, you can customize it to your preferences by using any dark shadow; browns, purples, blues, and grays all make a lovely smokey eye. Today I’m going classic with deep gray and black shadows.
Before we begin, here are three quick tips.
One: Always prep your skin by cleansing and moisturizing immediately before applying makeup.. Clean, freshly moisturized skin is going to hold the color longer, look smoother, and your shadow will go on with a truer color.
Two: For an eye look that uses dark shadows, I prefer to do the eyes first, before applying my foundation and concealer. The reason for this is that dark shadows have a way of sifting down onto your undereye and cheek areas, and if you’ve already applied your face makeup, it’s just going to get messed up, then you have to do damage control. If your skin is bare, you can easily wipe off any misplaced shadow and then proceed with your face makeup on a fresh canvas.
Three: Dab a little bit of moisturizer onto your lids (or close your eyes and lightly spritz with our Laveshmint Hydrating Toner) to make them slightly tacky right before applying your shadow. This will intensify your shadow color and give it longevity.
Okay, NOW let’s get started!
First highlight your brow bone area with a neutral, subtly shimmery shadow. My fave is Champagne Pearl, and I use our Large All-Over Brush. This is what you will blend your dark shadow into, so it’s important to apply it first.
Now, grab your dark shadow and a flat, precise brush like our Small All-Over Brush or the small brush from our Seven-Piece Brush Set. Work the shadow into the bristles really well, then tap off any excess back into the lid of the container. Using a stamping (not sweeping) motion, apply the shadow to your lids, from your lash line to your crease. Don’t worry about blending yet, that’s next…
Using the blending brush from our Seven-Piece Brush Set (you could also use either the Angled Sculptor Brush, or the Pointed Sculptor Brush as well), blend upward into your crease and outward toward the outer corner of your eye. Don’t extend too much beyond your eye socket bone, as that can end up looking messy, or a little like Cleopatra! The idea you’re going for is blurry, no harsh lines, and fading the color into nothingness on the edges. Kind of like… oh! SMOKE! 😉
Next, using a very light touch, take some of that shadow around the outer corner of your eye and down under your lower lash line. Again, think wispy and well-blended, not harsh and heavy. I like to use the domed blending brush from the Seven-Piece Brush Set, but you can also use the Small All-Over Brush.
Black liquid eyeliner will define your eyes and give depth to this look. Use our Eyeliner Brush and Matte Black to create a deep line from inner corner to outer corner. If you like, you can line your waterline too (the part of your lid that touches your eye). I demonstrated that technique here.
Finish everything off with a few coats of your favorite mascara.
Now that your eyes are done, take a dab of soap and water on a cotton round underneath your eyes to clean up any shadow that may have fallen down. Then you can apply your foundation, blush, and contour makeup. I prefer to keep the blush and lip color very subtle; the eyes are the star of this look!