Smokey Eye Makeup

Party Perfect Edgy Glamour

The Finer Points of The Original Smokey Eye Look:

Smokey eye makeup has MANY versions these days... it seems to be 'the' description of every dramatic eye makeup look (even when it's technically not). If you would like to create an authentic 'smokey eye' these are the key elements for it's signature style.

number 1 graphic No Fine, Crisp Lines

There are no fine, crisp lines around the eyes to create definition. Instead, layers of well blended, color, with the deepest shade at the lash line, gradually lifting in depth as you move toward the brow bone.

number 2 graphicBlack Eye Pencil

Black eye pencil is the most important makeup tool in creating the signature smoked out style. It leads the way, starting the application sequence at the upper lash line, creates the dominant feature with it's smudgy thickness along the lash lines, and it's the finishing touch to the inner rim, other wise known as the "waterline" of the eyelids.

number  graphic Smokey Palette

The classic palette that created the term smokey, was a palette of blacks, grays, plums, khaki, etc. smokey, deep, earthy type shades. You can stick to this original palette OR try more cutting edge palette trends, as long as you master the sequence of dark to light.

Here is a quick, step-by-step guide to the smokey eye:

Unless your style personality is authentically "Rocker" or "Goth", I would stick to the style route of "Glam" with edge.

note graphicIf you like the look but feel it's a little too much, start with a soft smokey eye. Check out my softer smokey eye holiday look:-).

steps graphic

number 1 graphicGather the makeup and tools.


Pencil needs to be soft enough to smudge and blend. Lots of options out there. I use MAC Kohl in Feline for a stay true black. I also like this new shadow liner by Smashbox with it's waterproof, easy to use, and long wearing capabilities.

Brushes- Blender, Smudge


Three shades: dark, medium, and light.

Want the season's 'on trend' color palette?

In step with "Glam with edge", this fall the runway shows for fall/ winter 2012/13 introduced a beautiful brown smokey eye and we are seeing it carried over into holiday style 2012. This smokey eye does have a softer feel with it's shift from a traditional palette of black, grays and plums to this year's palette of cool browns, beige, taupe, and warm golds, coppers and plum.

Dior Ready To Wear Smokey Eyes Palettes make creating this look a breeze with their gorgeous trios (high quality, gorgeous rich pigment color payoff, and long wearing formulation). See two options below; Smoky Black and Smoky Brown.

Brushes- Medium Eyeshadow, Blender, Smudge


Your mascara formulation for this style should be volume oriented and the blackest of blacks.

Tools- Eyelash Curler, Mascara Comb/Brush, QTips


Pair your eye palette, regardless of grays, plums, midnight blue or browns, with a soft, earthy, rose pink cheek and lip or nude lip. This universally flattering palette delivers a complimentary gorgeous soft finish to the edgy eye makeup, and is perfect for holiday parties.

Lots of gorgeous lip makeup formulations out there. Creamy lipstick would be my choice for this look and I might opt for budget friendly, well rated Sephora Collection Lipstick to off-set my more expensive, prestige brand Dior Smokey Ready To Wear Eyeshadow Trio.


Here are some Foolproof Choices For Gorgeous Smokey Eye Glam:

Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Ready-To-Wear Smoky Eyes Palette
091 Smoky Black

Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Ready-To-Wear Smoky Eyes Palette
781 Smoky Brown

Smashbox Waterproof Shadow Liner Charcoal


number 2 graphicStart your eye makeup application with the black eye pencil.

Following your foundation phase...

1. On a 'prepped' eye zone (a base dusted with loose translucent powder), take your sharpened black eye pencil and tightly line the top of your lash line from inner to outer corner. Repeat with a quick layering of the pencil along the lash line to get enough product there for the next step.

2. Take a small blender or smudge brush and with a horizontal motion sweep along the lash line, back and forth. The purpose is to soften the pencil application and distribute the product into the lash base and just above it.

3. Take your pencil and create a dotted-type line placed tightly under your lower lashes.

4. Take your smudge brush and sweep horizontally back and forth, smudging the dashes, and creating a continuous path under the lash line from inner to outer corner. Don't let the smudged line get too thick.

Generally, this look has black pencil lining from inner outer corners of the eye on the upper lash line.

apple tip graphicOnce the eyeshadow steps are complete, the black pencil will be used along the lower water line (and the upper if you wish).

number 3 graphicThree eye shadow shades to lid areas.

smokey eye illustration1. DEEPEST SHADE

With your medium eyeshadow brush, apply the deepest shade of your three eyeshadows. Work the zone just above the black pencil and just under your crease line using a horizontal sweeping motion. Then move this action down toward your lash line, blending into the black pencil liner at your lash line.

apple tip graphicPlace a tissue under lower lash line to catch shadow dust as you work the eye area.


Wipe your brush off on a tissue, and then take your medium shade to work and blend the crease zone. The application should overlap and blend into the upper range of your deepest shade.

apple tip graphicBy wiping off the brush as you changed shades, you begin with the pure pigment shade which will be present as well as the blended version (all of this will enhance the smokey dimensional feel).


Again, wipe your medium eyeshadow brush off on a tissue, then select your highlight shade. Work along the brow bone (not into your eye brows) overlapping the crease shade.

Complete the soft smokey eye effect by taking your large blender brush to softly further blend the entire upper lid zone.


You can opt to choose the medium or deepest shade. It just depends on the level of dramatic definition you would prefer.

Sweep under your lash line horizontally blending, and overlapping the the black pencil. The shape and thickness has a lot of range potentially, however, I would suggest keep the thickness of the path of color, no more than a quarter inch.


Finish your lower water line (inner rim), and upper if you wish, using the black pencil.

number 4 graphicMascara

apple tip graphicAlways use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara (with your full focus!).

A great technique for a more a natural round curl comes from Billy B top pro makeup artist:

Position the curler close to your upper lash line base and GENTLEY squeeze. Then release and slide the curler to a mid lash position and GENTLEY squeeze. Voila! A big round bend.

Take a volume oriented black mascara and start at your eyelash tips, angling the mascara wand to paint the tips of as many as you can.

Then dip your wand into the tube again and begin your application, gripping the base of your lashes with your mascara wand in a horizontal position.

Pull the wand through your lashes, all the way through your tips, using a wiggling motion. This motion helps grip as many lashes as possible for a maximum mascara application.

Repeat to desired finish.

apple tip graphicIt's best to work your lashes as you go, separating and placing them etc. while they are wet and malleable. Then use a lash comb or brush (or recycle and clean a wand from a finished mascara) to finish off. Carefully pull apart clumps and note that some mascara formulations will really crumble if you actually comb through your lashes dry.

number 5 graphic QTip Clean Up Smokey Eye Zone

With a QTip clean up mascara specs, missed eyeshadow dust, out of zone shadow placement and that stuff that collects in the corner of your eyes.

number 6 graphic Cheeks & Glow


Begin your sweep, or placement, of rose at central cheek, moving along your cheek towards your ear.

Give your forehead and chin a touch of color too. This creates visual flow for the observers eye.

Use clean middle and ring finger pads to soften the edges of your blush placement, gently rubbing in a circular motion.


If you would like to further enhance your complexion glow factor, consider using a luminescent powder like Guerlain Meteorites Powder For The Face Teint Rose 01 or Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick - Rose .

number 7 graphic Lips

A medium, earthy rose pink or a nude creamy lipstick or gloss is the perfect compliment to the design focal point, the smokey eye makeup.

Blot any excess into a tissue.

apple contour graphicLast Word on Smokey Eye Design ...

For special events like holiday parties, you can never go wrong with a smokey eye style, soft or edgy. Remember to put your own custom stamp on this style with palette choices and degree of dramatic edge to suit your unique look and personal style.

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