How Do I Get a Smoky Eyeshadow Look?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2019
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In order to get a smoky eyeshadow look, you will need to choose various shades of the same color eyeshadow and complimentary eyeliner. Then line your eyes and apply the eyeshadow to your lid and lower lash line, blending well between each step. Once you’re finished, highlight the eye area and finish the look with mascara.

Smoky eyeshadow can be done with any color, so long as a deep shade is used; the most popular are black, gray, brown, and purple. Gather a light, medium, and dark shade in your preferred color, as well as brown or black eyeliner that is easy to blend; a soft pencil is typically best. If you are doing a colored smoky eyeshadow, such as purple, you may want to have a medium-light shade similar to your skin tone for the base color. This can help to add depth to the look and help you avoid looking too overdone.

Line your upper lid rather thickly with your eyeliner; this does not have to be perfect or straight. Then use an eyeliner blending brush or a cotton swab to blend the eyeliner towards the outer corner of your eye and up. While some color should remain at the inner corner, this should be the softest area, with the eyeliner gradually building towards the outside. As you’re blending out, smudge the color up until it fades just below the crease, or socket line, of your eye.


Line your lower lash line rather thinly, and blend this out towards the outside corner as well. If you have small or close set eyes, it can be helpful to only line the outer half of your lower lash line. This will help to make your eyes look open despite the smoky eyeshadow.

Apply the medium color eyeshadow to your entire lid, up to your crease. Gently blend the color up to the top of the crease, making sure to smudge out any harsh lines. To apply the color, it is typically best to use a soft, flat eyeshadow brush to deposit the shade and then a fluffy, dome shaped brush to soften it.

Take the darkest shade of eyeshadow and apply it against your lash line in the same location the eyeliner was applied. Blend the color out and up, focusing most of the color on the outer corner. Then take anything remaining on your brush and run it through the crease. Try to keep the dark color away from the inner part of your eye; the medium shade previously applied should be dominate here, slowly fading across the lid into the darker color. Take the dark eyeshadow and apply it to your lower lash line, thereby blending it gently to soften it and connecting it to the color at the outer corner of the lid.

To finish the look, take the lightest eyeshadow and apply it to your brow bone and the inner corner of your eye, near the tear duct. If you want even more definition, apply a thin line of eyeliner to your top lash line and on your water line. To complete the smoky eyeshadow, apply a lengthening, black mascara to the top and bottom lashes.


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