Most people associate smokey eyes with "black eyeshadow" and "black eyeliner," and there is no denying that the classic/full-on dark smokey eye is also the most popular. In general, though, you can do a smokey eye with any color, keeping the intensity darkest near the lashline and fading away towards the outer corner, giving it a smokey hazy appearance - even if it it's using soft neutral browns. Irrespective of how dark the smokey eye is or what colors are used in the look, I have found that following a few small steps (I don't really want to call them rules) can go a long way in getting the "perfect smokey eye."
1. The eye makeup base. As with any eyeshadow application, starting with a primer helps the colors show up better and last longer, but that's not all. For the easiest smokey eyes, start with a darker eyeliner or cream shadow smudged along the lashline. Layer a powder shadow over this to give it an instant smokey effect and also prevent creasing and smudging.
2. Transition colors. These are colors used along the outer corner of the eye to blend the edges of the main eyeshadow as well as it give it a beautiful fading effect. While it's perfectly fine to use a single eyeshadow to do a smokey eye, using at least one other color to help transition the darker color into the skin gives a much better "smokey" effect.
|You don't have to stick to brown shades for smoking out the edges or transitioning colors - these are just safe, simple choices.|
3. The brushes: Yes, there are some fabulous makeup artists out there who could pat on eyeshadows with fingers and sponges and blend everything seamlessly to perfection, but for most of us ordinary humans, brushes definitely help especially with blending shadow along the edges.
There isn't any special brand or shape to look out for - any fluffy blending brush would help soften the eye makeup - but what I think helps make a difference is using at least 2 brushes. Use one brush to apply the eyeshadow, and then switch to a clean brush to do the blending. Sounds like a simple step, but it makes a huge difference in how clean the makeup looks in the end.
4. Eyeshadow Fallout: Working with dark colors, blending powdery eyeshadows, packing on glitter - there will definitely be some color or shimmer that is going to deposit on to the cheeks or the undereye area. The easiest way to handle this is to do the face makeup after completing the eyes. Clean all the fallout easily with a makeup wipe or makeup remover and move on with your foundation.
In case you have already finished your face makeup before you decided on starting with a darker smudgey eye, then the most effective way to avoid ruining your makeup is to hold a tissue in place just under the eye to catch the fall out. Or, use shadow shields that you can stick under your eyes and will catch the dropping shadows (not tried those yet). If the fallout isn't too much, use a foundation/concealer brush with leftover product on it to wipe away the fallout. Applying a generous amount of loose powder under the eyes to catch the fallout and then dusting it all off is an option that works for some. I don't do this because the powder just sits in my undereye creases making everything look patchy while not really doing anything to solve the fallout problem, but that's just my personal preference.
5. The Face Makeup. The most important thing to keep in mind, especially when doing darker smokey eye makeup, is to cover up any undereye circles and pigmentation. If you have very dark undereye pigmentation like I do, use a peachy-toned corrector to help neutralize it and use a concealer over it to knock off as much of the darkness as you possibly can. This helps to avoid looking tired and/or like someone punched you in the eye. Also, I like to keep the focus on one feature at a time, so if I apply darker eye makeup, I keep the rest of my face makeup simpler - softer blush, neutral (not necessarily nude) lips, etc.
And that brings me to the end of my really long essay! I love a good smokey eye, and while I am nowhere near achieving even a reasonably perfect makeup look, adding these simple steps to my usual makeup routine has definitely helped. Do give it a try, and I am sure it will help you too :)
P.S: I have just added in some random face photos here, and the shadows used (Chanel Charming eyeshadow palette) in it are not any of the ones I have shown in the post here. Sorrrrrrry...my eyes aren't feeling too well today, so I didn't do any makeup :P
MORE MAKEUP TIPS AND HOW-TO'S HERE.