Smokey Eye 101: a how to for beginners.

It has literally taken me years to get to a stage where I feel like I can pull off a smokey eye look. I’ll admit that I didn’t try very hard to pull one off until this year but my point is that it’s a look that I’ve always struggled with! After talking to a few people and reading comments on blogs I’ve realised that I’m not the only one and that this look seems to be really elusive to a lot of people. The most common comment I see (and one which I’ve muttered on more than one occassion) is ‘it just makes me look I’ve been punched in the eye’.

I’ve been there and some of my friends will gladly tell you that I’ve unfortunately made them look like they’ve been there too. I’ve discovered that, as with most things, getting the smokey eye look right just takes practice and a few helpful tricks. That’s why I decided to do a ”smokey eye look for beginners post because I’m assuming that there are alot of you out there who would want to rock a smokey eye at least once this holiday season but just don’t know how.

I decided to do this post using the least amount of products I could because if I was teaching one of my friends how to do this look they probably wouldn’t own a whole bunch of bases and shadows and liners. So in the spirit of simplicity and accessability, the look I’m doing today requires the use of a black pencil liner, a black shadow, a brown shadow, face powder, concealer and mascara. That’s it. That may seem like a lot of products to some people but I think that they’re all products that most girls own or can easily get. I’ve also used mainly drug store brands to show that you don’t need expensive products so let’s give it a go!

Step 1: Start with a bare unprepped eye or apply an eye cream if your lids tend to get really dry and flaky.

Step 2: Apply a concealer all over you eyelid from lid to brow bone to even out the colour on your lid and to act as a base. I used MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC42.

Step 3: Apply your face powder or powder foundation all over the top of where you concealed to help prevent creasing. I used MAC Mineralize Ski Finish Natural in Medium Dark.

Step 4: Take your black pencil liner (a kohl pencil is preferrable) and apply it over your lid up to the crease and then blend the edges. I used Rimmel black Kohl pencil. I like to start by applying the pencil thickly just above my lashline then blending it up with my finger. I then apply more pencil to my outer v where I want the colour to be darker. I also tend to keep the part around my tear duct free of the black liner.

Step 5: Take the brown shadow and apply it all over your lid and just up to the crease. I used a dark brown eyeshadow by NYX.

Step 6: Take a black shadow and apply it your outer v and in to the crease. Apply the shadow in whatever shape you want. If you want more of your eye to be darker then just cover more of your lid with the black. I used a black eyeshadow from Inglot. Always apply the black with a light hand so you can build up the intensity until you’re happy with it.

Step 7: Blend! It’s important to blend as much as you can when doing a smokey eye because you want the look to be seamless.

To blend the shadows well I also picked up some of my powder foundation on my blending brush and blended the edges of the colours concentrating especially on the black shadow.

Step 8: When you’re happy with the eyeshadow, apply some black liner to your top lashline. This isn’t an essential step but it adds definition. I would usually use a liquid or gel liner but since I’m trying to use only a few products I’ve stuck with the pencil liner. You can also smudge the line out if you want.

Step 9: Add some mascara to your lashes (I used Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara)and apply black pencil liner to your water line. Here is the completed eye. Now it looks fine but it look’s a bit like I have a black eye and that comes down to my dark circles and that’s why this next step is the most important….

Step 10: CONCEAL! You have to make sure you conceal your under eye circles and clean away any fall out AFTER you’ve done your smokey eye or you’ll look like a hot mess. If you compare the two pictures below, there is a world of difference but the only thing I’ve done differently is conceal my under eye circles.

You wouldn’t think that concealing your dark circles would make such a big difference to a smokey eye but it really does because concealing well keeps the darkness confined to your eye lids and lashline.

These next few pictures just show some other things you can do if you want to amp up your smokey eye look. First up is to bring your black eyeshadow down along your bottom lashline to intensify the look and make it more dramatic.

If you’re like me and are a fan of the Victoria’s Secret way of applying makeup then you can take some gold, bronze or silver shadow and apply it around your tear duct to highlight it. This step just helps to open up your eye and helps to soften a smokey eye look. Here I used a nude and taupe shadow by NYX . The highlight colour you choose can really change your look so choose wisely!

The easiest way to amp up a smokey eye look is false lashes because they instantly bring the drama. Using false lashes is probably a good idea when doing a smokey eye because your lashes tend to get lost amongst all the dark shadows and liner.

So that’s it. That’s how to do a quick and easy smokey eye. You can change it up however you like and use blue, purple, green, grey or whatever colour instead of the brown shadow. I tend to use black as well as at least one other shade because I think you need more than one colour to get a really good smokey eye that doesn’t look too harsh. I think that’s what sets apart a Kim Kardashian smokey eye look and a Taylor Momsen smokey eye look… well that plus a whole heap of blending and a much better makeup artist!

Hopefully this post gives you the confidence to go try a smokey eye look yourself if you haven’t before because it’s so easy to do.


Categories: eye, how to, smokey eye


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8 Comments on “Smokey Eye 101: a how to for beginners.”

  1. June 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM #

    Hey this is a great post :)BTW I love your blog and I'm following.I hope you'll follow me back too.

  2. July 6, 2011 at 5:41 AM #

    Thanks Sonia! I've redone the photos for this post 3 times now and I think I'm finally happy with the result :DCheck out your blog and it's awesome!

  3. Amber Hoskins
    November 16, 2012 at 10:50 AM #

    I am 17 from the uk, taking my as levels, aspiring to become a corporate barrister, but I also have a passion for makeup. Your blog shows me that I can definitely incorporate makeup into my career dreams! you are my inspiration!

    • January 3, 2013 at 6:20 PM #

      Hi Amber 🙂 I’m sorry for the late reply but thank you so much for the lovely comment! I hope your a-levels go well and you get to accomplish both your careers goals and follow your passion for makeup x

  4. June 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM #

    Hi Ahalya 🙂 Very nice post for those of us who strugle with making a smokey eye. Will def. try thos out at home. But….can you tell me what concealer you used? As you said, smokey eye on me looks like i have been hit by someone. Not nice.So i really need to make it look flawless under the eyes, and that i feel must be the mooooost difficult job ever. My circles are like vulcano ash/black. Alså would you tell or give a suggestion to witch shadow to use on the tear duct, please 🙂

    • June 30, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

      Hi Manno! I think the concealer I was using was the MAC Studio Finish in NC42 but the combination I now swear by is the Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfector in Orange/yellow topped with the Burberry concealer. Hope that helps 🙂

  5. sara
    November 4, 2013 at 10:34 AM #

    excellent post, not much for makeup and my makeup ‘kit’ is on the empty side in comparison to many others. but thank you for this, ‘basic’ approach is appealing to me i.e. less products yet still achieved a wonderful look. admittedly i lack the experience but will keep this bookmarked for when i have the guts to try and pull it off… perhaps before will have a few attempts before the real deal, haha!
    and the point about concealer… i never would have thought of it but my it should make a world of difference for my shocking dark circles :O

    you’re goregous, thanks for that

    • November 7, 2013 at 4:36 PM #

      Thanks Sara! I hope you do give it a go. Let me know how it works out 🙂

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