How do I Create Smoky Eyes?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2019
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Smoky eyes refers to a makeup technique that uses a combination of dark eyeshadow and eyeliner for a dramatic look. It generally uses dark gray or black eye makeup products, but can also be customized by substituting dark browns, greens, purples, or navy blues. If the eyeshadow and eye liner are applied incorrectly, the smoky-eyed look can be unflattering and make you appear as if you have dark undereye circles or smeared makeup. The correct preparation and application method can help make the eye makeup stay put and prevent it from rubbing off below your eyes.

Before you begin to apply makeup for smoky eyes, you have to first prepare the thin, delicate skin around your eyes. Smooth on a layer of moisturizer onto your face and concentrate on the areas around your eyes. If the skin around your eye area is dry, the dark eye makeup will draw attention to any lines. Let the moisturizer dry for at least 10 minutes so it has time to sink into your skin. Any wet moisturizer on your skin’s surface will make the eye makeup smear.


To keep the eye makeup from smearing underneath your eyes, brush on a thin layer of translucent loose powder across your eyelids and underneath your eyes. The loose powder will help give the eyeshadow and eyeliner a smooth base to stick to so it won’t smear off. Sweep a charcoal, black, or other dark eyeshadow lightly across your eyelids to form the base of your smoky-eyed look.

Select a lighter, more shimmery version of your main eyeshadow color, such as a light gray, and dab it onto the inner corners of your eyes. The lighter color will help your eyes look slightly bigger since dark eyeshadow can risk making your eyes look smaller than they actually are. Place your index finger onto the outer corner of your eye and lightly stretch your eyelid outward so the skin is tight. Apply a thin layer of dark eyeliner pencil or liquid eyeliner as close to your top eyelash line as possible, then repeat with your other eye.

To finish off smoky eyes, rub an eyeliner brush or other small bristled brush into your main dark colored eyeshadow. Drag the brush underneath your eyes, as close to your lower eyelashes as possible. This will give your lower eyelashes definition and a smoky look without looking too thick or smeared. If you use an eyeliner pencil or liquid eyeliner underneath your eyes, it may look messy and overdone instead of purposely dark. Curl your eyelashes and apply a layer of mascara to your eyelashes to complete your smoky eyes.


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