It crops up on the red carpet time and time again and is a classic go-to for an evening out – no, we're not talk about the Little Black Dress. It's the smokey eye. Hailed by celebs and make-up artists alike, the timeless look has come on leaps and bounds since it was first worn by the Egyptians and Persians. And who can forget Elizabeth Taylor's kohl-lined peepers in Cleopatra?
Sophisticated, seductive and oh so chic, the smokey eye has gone from a strictly soot-black evening-only look to an everyday alternative in bronze, grey, brown and metallic hues. With the rule book firmly out the window, there are plenty of variations to make the smokey eye work for you.
To make an impact, try to opt for shades that will make your eye colour pop - think greys, browns and blacks on lighter eye colours such as blue and green and plum, green and metallic shades for brown eyes.
For a soft and subtle variation of the smokey eye, try muted shades and use the eyeshadow to gently line the lower lashes rather than a kohl pencil, which tends to add more drama to the finished look.
Not sure where to start? We've got your ultimate how-to smokey eye guide to help you through each step.
What you'll need:
- A blending brush (we love this Sigma E23 Brush)
- Kohl pencil in your chosen shade (this grey Kohl Pencil from MAC is perfect for all smokey eye colours)
- Smokey eyeshadow palette (Urban Decay's Naked 2 Basics palette is a beautiful blend of subtle shades)
Apply your base as usual (foundation or tinted moisturiser). This would be the time to add an eyeshadow primer or concealer if you'd prefer.
Start by applying the lightest shade all over your eyelid as a base. This could be beige, cream, grey or a light brown, depending on what colour smokey eye you're going for.
Keep the darkest point at the lash line to keep the look modern and fresh. Apply an eyeliner (gel is better for a strong, even line) or darker shadow along the lash line.
Try to keep to 3 graduating shades for the optimum finish. Layer a darker tone over the liner, blending halfway up the lid and along the crease line of the socket. It doesn't matter what colour your smokey eye is, it's all about how well you blend one shade into the next.
Add the darkest colour to the outer edges of the eye like a gradient and blend into the mid-shade until they seamlessly fit together.
Take the darker or mid-shade along the bottom lash line.
Finish with the all-important additions that define the eye, such as mascara in black or your chosen smokey eye shade. Add 2-3 coats to the top lashes and either a light coat to the lower lashes or none at all to let the eyeshadow do all the talking.