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Back to Basics: Requested Basic Smoky Eye Tutorial

Many people interpret smoky eyes in different ways, but the most common understanding is a shadow look where the color is very intense on the lid and lash line, and then slowly diffuses and fades outwards like smoke.

The basic smoky eye should be achievable using only 1 single shadow shade. Any deep color will work, regardless of whether it’s shimmery, glittery or matte.

I used MAC’s Blue Brown pigment, which works for most eye colors. MAC Club is a similar shade in pressed form, and is a shade that Kristen Stewart sported. REMEMBER: You do not need to use a duochrome like I did!


Step 1: First apply a good base. It can be flesh toned or a complementary shade (brown with brown, blue with blue) to the shadow you choose.

If you have very dark skin, you might want to use black as a base for any smoky look since it brings out colors beautifully on darker skins.



Step 2: First layer of color. Apply to the center of the lid first and then slowly sweep outwards gently so you have lesser product on your brush the further out you go.  The further up you go towards your brow, the more dramatic a look will be. If you’re not sure, just get to your socket line and stop.

Make sure you run along the lower lash line as well.


Step 3:  Pick up a bit more shadow and then apply a second layer onto just the mobile lid (within the socket line), and the outer half of the lower lash line. This gives you that classic dark in the center, soft at the edges effect.


Step 4:  No smoky eye looks right if you don’t take care of your lash line. Get black pencil onto the inner rims of your eyes, and then smudge a little more along the upper lash line so it sort of fades into the shadow.


Step 5: [Optional] I wanted to bring out a bit more color, but this step is not necessary unless you have very close-set eyes. Add a touch of a lighter, brighter shade to just the inner corners of the eyes. I used L’oreal Infallible in Innocent Turquoise as it works with the pale blue sheen of Blue Brown pigment anyway. 

You can literally choose any soft color you want. A matte beige would also work if you’re doing a matte neutral smoky eye.


Step 6: Finish with mascara. Thick fluttery false lashes can also help to create a smoky effect if you prefer.

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