Master Your Basic Smokey Eye

I used to think that with all of the videos out there of how to do eye makeup, that everyone in the world is now able to perfect the art of the smokey eye, even our cats ... and yet I still hear women asking me how to do the smokey eye. So I made a video about it! 

The smokey eye is more of a technique than anything. It's really quite simple, and I don't want you to feel intimidated by it.

I show two ways of doing the smokey eye, or, three, really.

It's best to start out with neutral colors, like brown or gray, to get your technique right, then move on to playing with color - you can start playing with shimmer -- rose gold, emerald green, and violet.

I love browns because they're earthy, soft, they look good on everyone in the world, and they are the most flattering. They're easy to blend and no matter how dark you go, brown eye shadow will never look weird or gothic.

The first way: Creamy Eye Pencil Smudging


The first step is to apply some type of primer. My favorite is concealer. The one I use is Select Cover-up by MAC in NC 30. This color could be too yellow if you're Caucasian. For my warmer skinned-toned girls, it's perfect. 

I prefer concealer to primer because I find most primers are too white, ghostly, really, or too pink, or too shimmery. Concealer just looks like the color of your skin.


Smudge a soft, creamy, waterproof brown pencil all over your moving eyelid. You can use your fingertips, or a 217 MAC brush. Can you use cream eye shadow? Absolutely. The idea is to create a wash of color -- from lash line to eye socket. DO NOT take the color past the eye socket, because we still have some blending to do. 


Apply a transition color like bronzing powder on the eye socket and blend with your pencil smudging. 


Apply a wash of powder eye shadow on top of your creamy eye pencil to make it stronger. Remember, this is optional. I always just wore my creamy eye pencil and always got compliments on my makeup at how soft and pretty it was. 

The second way: Powder Eye Shadow

# ONE 

Dab, dab, and dab powder eye shadow on your moving eye lid, careful not to go past the eye socket. Because we've applied concealer, the shadow will grab right away.

You can apply a dusting of powder, but that will dilute the strength of your darker shadow, and we don't want that.

You can use a medium color of shadow first, like a soft taupe. My preference is always to pack on the dark shadow then buff out the edges. 

# TWO 

Apply your transition color on your eye socket. I use Espresso from MAC for this step, but you can absolutely use your bronzer for this. I used bronzer for the longest time on my clients because it gives the prettiest shadow look and now I can't stop. I don't think there's a shadow that actually works as well as a bronzer does! 


Now you want to blend the edges together. 

Always use a light hand, and always do a wash of color, windshield-wiper motions, adding on more shadow as you like. Use a fluffy brush, like the MAC 217, to buff out the edges using light strokes. 

You can wing out your shadow, but I am keeping it simple for this tutorial and keeping the look rounded.

Line Inside Your Eyes

Now apply a dark gel liner in the inner rims of your eyes. I'm a huge fan of the Maybelline Eye Studio gel liners. They have never failed me. Smudge it with your fingertips and don't be scared if it's messy. 

TIP: If you have small eyes, you want to skip this step and apply a beige or gold pencil inside your eyes to open them up. 

Foundation, Concealer & Powder

Concealer is one of those things that women love to ignore when they do the smokey eye. I don't know why that is - but I'm here to tell you that you can't have a smokey eye without concealer.

Almost everyone has dark circles, and if you're only going to apply dark shadow on your eyelid and leave under the under-eye area, it won't look pretty. 

We need dark and light to contrast with one another. That's how colors get to shine :) 

I use the Select Cover-Up. I normally love my Clinique All About Eyes concealer. I use MAC a lot on clients, and I love NARS too. Use the one you like. This part doesn't need to be heavy. It just needs to cover any darkness. 

Go ahead and apply your favorite foundation. Keep it dewy and fresh - you want the eye to be the focus and everything else to blend seamlessly. 

Apply a loose dusting of powder to set your concealer. 

Smoke Out the Underneath & Mascara

Now go underneath your eyes and apply the shadows you used on top with the tip of the brush. Apply the bronzer, too. You can go as light or as dark as you like. 

Finish off with some lip color, shimmer blush (I skipped this because I was running late), and mascara. Don't forget to curl your lashes first!