Ah, the smokey eye. It’s a classic that’s reached new heights in popularity in recent years, and shows no signs of stopping; only reinventing. Perhaps you haven’t found a good smokey eye tutorial and are now here, to get some ideas. We have a ton of unique and gorgeous ideas for you to try, no matter your eye shape, size, or color!
Are you ready for people to start turning heads? Are you ready for your eyes to pop like never before? If the answer is “yes”, then come on in, we’re ready for you!
What Is It?
Okay, so maybe you aren’t exactly clear about what a smokey eye look actually is. It’s currently one of the most popular eye looks and features three different shades of shadow: a dark, medium, and light. These are combined in all the right ways to create dimension, contour, and drama. There are various ways of going about it, and you’ll want to choose the one best for your individual features and tastes.
Traditionally, the look was reserved for evening wear only, but it’s since progressed into being an appropriate look, no matter what time of day it is. You can wear it to work or brunch just as easily as a night in the clubs.
Best Beginner Look
If you’re new to the game and are looking for an easy smokey eye for beginners, we have just the one for you. It can be intimidating trying to create a look that appears to be so advanced, but don’t worry; you can pull it off!
The most complicated part of creating this smokey eye is the blending, which really isn’t all that difficult to do. It is a very classic version of the original look, but much more of a “light” version than the traditional. It isn’t outrageous, but still retains a certain amount of drama about it.
This look has a light nude as the base and gradually becomes darker as you move towards the outer corner of the eye. It’s very important that the dark shadow stops at the crease of the eye to keep the browbone nice and highlighted, and to not look badly-done.
If you need another look; maybe something a bit trendier or party-appropriate, then check this lookout. The cut-crease is super trendy right now, and you can’t go wrong with gold glitter. The gold glitter base works in perfectly with a dark brown/black crease, and a slightly lighter brown to blend well.
The final beginner look here, is great for all eye colors, but we really loved it for how it makes green and/or hazel eyes stand out. Use a base of a light brown with a finely-milled glitter. Starting from the middle of your lashline with a sharp angle up to the outer corners of your eye, use a black shadow to create drama with ease. In the crease, start at the outer corner, working your way inward, with a medium-brown shadow to add more depth.
You can’t go wrong with gold! It looks great with casual looks, and looks even better if you’re dressing it up or taking it to parties.
As you may know, it was Brigitte Bardot who really kicked off the smokey eye look. This look kind of pays homage to her version. The base is a medium-light gold which compliments just about any color of eyes. The inner and outer corners are a dark, almost reddish brown, while you’ll see even lighter brown start to soften the edges around the browbone.
Are you looking for something editorial-worthy? Something that will really blow the socks off of yourself, and others? This dark smokey eye is just what you’re looking for. You can use either a deep plum, or a purple-brown. The dark shade covers almost the entirety of the look, with just a hint of gold/pink highlight in the center to give some dimension and added drama.
Pair with a deep purple lip for the ultimate in drama!
Another dramatic look that has become super popular in recent years, is the look below. As you can see, the part closest to the lashline is black, and progresses seamlessly into a more sienna brown. The dramatic effect isn’t complete until you finish it with the black all around the eyes, and the brown under the bottom lashline!
This color scheme looks absolutely stunning on those with light green or blue eyes. If you want to make them pop, try this look out now!
Smokey Cat Eye
Arguably, the two most popular/trendy eye makeup looks right now, are the smokey eye, and the cat eye. So, what happens when we combine the two? You have the ultimate in smokey eye makeup!
Start off with a liquid eyeliner, and frame your eyes completely with it. To create a perfect cat eye, you’ll want to use some kind of guide. If you’re more experienced, then this shouldn’t be too big of a feat for you. If you have some doubts, check out this tutorial.
Then, use a matte light brown shade to cover the entire eyelid (or vice versa, depending on your preferences). If you’d like to add a bit more depth, you could add in a darker brown or black in the crease of the eye.
Smokey Eye For Brown Eyes
While this brown smokey eye could obviously look good with just about any color, we find it particularly looks good with the mocha-colored marbles!
This look is super clean, precise, and is perfect for a daytime setting. First, use a very light, almost white shadow across the base of the lid. Slowly progress from a coppery-gold, to a medium-to-dark brown just in the corners of the eyes. Make sure to add some gold/copper to separate the dark brown from the browbone. You’ll want to use a black liquid eyeliner tight against your top lashline at the very end.
Best Look for Blue Eyes
For blue eyes, it’s really a fine line between “dramatic” and “over-the-top”. Blue eyes are very light typically, so if you’re just starting out, we’d recommend going with a natural smokey eye for blue eyes – at least until you get comfortable with that.
As you may know, browns and purples work to make blue eyes really pop. This glittery shadow is a purple-brown, so it is perfect for light-colored eyes and really intensifies their natural color. Apply the glitter shadow all over the eyelid, and add a dark, matte brown in the crease of the lid. Don’t forget to blend with a light brown or an orangey tone.
You don’t actually have to be going to a party to appreciate this look, but it’s definitely party-appropriate! This shimmery copper creation is perfect for fall, and compliments all of the rich autumn coppers, reds, and yellows.
Starting at the inner corner, use a rich copper/orange, blending into a light, almost-white purple, and finally into a deep purple in the outer corners of the eye. Use the copper again to blend the darkest shadow into the brow bone. Finish the look off with a dramatic cut/cat eye look. For an even more dramatic look, use a dark red or purple lipstick like the one shown above!
Purple was once known as the color of elegance, and we don’t think that’s really gone away. If you want to spice up your smokey eye, but don’t know what to do, switch out your black or brown for a deep purple. Purple adds a pop of color while still keeping things dark and dramatic.
We personally love this plum shade. Spread it across the eyelid, and highlight the browbone with a copper, and finally with a white. Use the white as a highlight in the corner of the eye for extra drama, while brightening and opening up the eyes.
So, which one of these 11 smokey eye looks was your favorite? The great thing about them is, you don’t have to decide between just one or two; you can try them all! Select something that’s going to work well with your eye color, shape, and size. You may have a preference for colors, or want something to complement a particular outfit.
The options really are endless, so have fun with it, knowing that the smokey eye will bring all the right attention to your eyes!
Rosalind graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media from the Erasmus University Rotterdam and now lives and works as a freelance writer in Utah.