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21 Nov, 2010 Beauty Blog

One of the most popular makeup looks that I constantly get asked to create is the classic smokey eye, as It always looks sexy & feminine… plus it never dates.

For those of you that think it may be too harsh for your complexion or age, bear in mind that you can create a more subtle version of the smoldering eye, you just need to learn to apply it correctly & bend well. If you like the smokey eyes I created in this gorgeous shot from the latest Bride & Groom mag, simply follow the simple steps below….


1. Begin by prepping your eyelids with a touch of foundation & a dusting of mineral powder. This creates a good base to work on & will make your eyeshadow last longer. If your makeup tends to run easily or you have a special occasion where your makeup has to last all night, you can apply a cream base such as Elizabeth Arden ‘Eye Fix’ first.

2. Using a soft fluffy brush start by sweeping a white or cream powder eyeshadow over the whole eye area. This evens out the skin & helps to create highlight. My favorite colours for this job are Bobbi Browns ‘White’ or MACS ‘Orb’ ( a pale cream).

3. The next step is to create contour & I like to use a warm pinky brown through the crease to do this. I find this trick gives smokey eyes extra dimension & makes them a little softer than the usual dark eye. I use MACs ‘Haux’ or ‘Quarry’ for this job, sweeping it through the crease of the eye & up into the brow bone. You can also use your favorite blusher, as it will create the same effect.

4. Next, take a black kohl pencil & draw a line as close to the lashes as possible. Use short, soft strokes to create this line as it will eventually be blended out with eyeshadow so it doesn’t need to be super precise. If you want your eyes to be extra dark (Kardashian style) you can also draw the line under the eye as well, but take care to only take it half way to avoid a ‘hard’ look. My current favorite eye pencils are the mineral ones by Jane Iredale as I find them extra soft to use & they dont run.

5. Now for the fun part…. Take a small brush, dab it into your darkest eye shadow & blend out the pencil line, gradually building up intensity towards the outside edge of the eye, as well as lightly underneath. Remember to begin with a light hand & slowly build up depth, as this is the secret to perfect smokey eyes. The darkest part of the eye should always be close to the lashline, then it should softly blend out & up into the warmer tones along the crease. MACs ‘Carbon’ is the blackest black eyeshadow you can find & I always use it for shows, however a great alternative is MACs ‘Smut’- a perfect blend of black, grey & brown & much easier to use than flat black (plus alot softer).

6. Once you have completed this process & your blending is perfect, its time to add several coats of black mascara. You can also line the inner rim of the eyes with black kohl pencil as this always finishes the eyes beautifully, adding that extra depth & intensity. For extra glam smokey eyes you can also add a dab of gold or silver eye shadow to the inner corner of the lids as this really makes your eyes sparkle, plus I also love to sweep simmer powder across the brow bone & cheeks for that extra touch of highlight. You can also update the traditional neutral smokey eye by using aubergine, teal, navy blue or dark green instead of black/charcoal.

Smokey eyes are perfect for the evening, but keep in mind that the rest of your makeup should remain simple so you dont appear ‘overdone’. I love to match up dark eyes with a light dewy foundation, a sweep of rosey blush & a nude glossy lip- Jennifer Lopez style!


  1. Hi Nikki, can you please draw a diagram to explain where to put the eyeshadow? Thanks!

  2. See diagram above!! Thanks, Nx

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