Smokey Eye Tutorial
Don't feel bad—you're not the only person who has yet to perfect the smokey eye
Ready to try a smokey eye? The smoldering look is totally in style but can seem daunting for a non-pro to perfect. (Sultry=good. Raccoon eyes=bad.) To get the look right, we checked in with makeup artist Emily Aznavourian of Cheekadee in Philadelphia on how even first-timers can flawlessly smoke it out.
1. Prep your lids. Gorgeous eyes start with a clean base: First, with eye makeup remover, get rid of leftover shadow or mascara. To make sure your shadow doesn't do a disappearing act, apply an eye shadow base like Urban Decay Primer Potion to keep your color put—cover from brow to lid.
2. Line your upper lids. That sexy, smokey look starts with liner. With a coal liner or pencil, trace along your lash line—the black eyeliner in Benefit Cosmetics Smokin' Eye Kit is all you need (plus its three shadows are primed for the following step).
3. Add shadow. The perfect smokey eye transitions from the darkest color on your lids to a middle “crease color,” to the lightest shade near the brow, like a rainbow. Color should also be lighter toward the inside of your eye, then gradually darken as you travel toward the outside of your eye. With all the shadow options out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed.
Kits like Too Faced Smokey Eye Collection edit down to the nine best shades to create that elusive neutral-yet-noticeable smokey eye. Apply the dark shadow over the penciled area, and smudge outward. Use the point of a brush to apply the medium shade in the crease. Then, apply the lighter shadow with a larger eye shadow brush, always smudging outward.
4. Finish with mascara. Complete your pretty peepers with a luscious coat of mascara. Try Benefit They're Real. For extra pop, curl lashes once before and after application.
5. Clean up the look. To avoid raccoon eyes, dab the area under your eyes clean (use a tissue folded in eighths to dab away leftover shadow), then apply a creamy concealer using your ring finger. To set the look, use a brightening power (try the eye bright in Benefit Cosmetics Smokin' Eye Kit).
6. Don't overdo it. For the most natural effect, pair black liner with brown shadow (for flawless shades, try the gorgeous color trios in Smashbox Photo Op Eye Shadow). If you want to add a touch of color, stuck with shades of plum, bronze or gold. And play down the rest of your look—choose a softer, nude lip with a smokey eye.