Since the grunge era of the 90’s, the smokey eye has been one of the makeup world’s true staples. Although experiencing several style evolutions over time, it has maintained it’s smoldering, yet elegant, reputation. Rest assured that a smokey eye doesn’t have to be daring, dramatic or exclusively for red carpet events. Bring this timeless look into your everyday, with a softer, more natural look by following these tips to perfect the delicate and subtle smokey eye.
Prime your skin
There’s nothing worse than when makeup travels or settles into your fine lines, so the best smokey eye look requires skin preparation. Make sure that you hydrate dry skin with a nourishing moisturiser, particularly as we approach the cooler months, before applying your smokey eye. This will stop the skin around your eyes from drying out, preventing an unwanted build up of product. Smokey eyes are all about controlled smudging – not haphazard smearing – so next, apply a heavy eyeshadow primer. Apply this by gently patting your formula of choice all over your eyelids, from your lower lash line all the way up to your brows.
Create the perfect foundation
Some people like to apply their eye makeup before their base, but with a look that relies on undefined lines and tasteful smudging, it’s best to apply your foundation first. A radiant complexion is the perfect accompaniment for a smokey eye. A great way to make your smokey eye pop is to fill in your brows, and then apply concealer with a flat brush to your lower browline, and then blend out. Apply an illuminating highlighter to the apples of your cheekbones and brow lines, where your facial contours naturally catch light, then apply a deep bronzing powder, sweeping down from the middle of your ear, to elongate your cheekbones. Sweep your bronzer along the bridge of your nose and your jawline too to accentuate your features. Lastly, powder your under-eye area with a translucent powder. This will act as a safety net to catch loose eyeshadow pigment, allowing you to gently brush off any fallout after the application of your eye shadow.
Choose your colours
Before applying your eyeshadow, take some time to consider what kind of smokey eye will be most suited to your complexion and eye colour. If you have blue eyes, gold hues and coppery tones can really make your eye colour pop, whereas browns and pinks flatter those with hazel eyes beautifully, and purple-based brown’s work like magic for those with green eyes. In general, blacks and greys complement all eye colours, and are the most regularly used tones for a smokey eye. You should choose 2 or 3 colours from your eyeshadow palette to blend your smokey eye perfectly.
Take a large, round eyeshadow brush and apply your lightest shade to the entirety of your eyelid and along your browline, then take your darkest shade and apply it with a blending eyeshadow brush. Start in the middle of your eyelid, and sweep this all the way along the contour of your eyelid crease to the outer edges of your eyelid. Apply a few layers of eyeshadow along this crease, building up the colour more and more towards the outer eyelid. Once you are happy with the depth of your darkest shade, take your medium tones and sweep it from the outer eyelid into the centre of your eyelid with a blending brush. You can also gently blend the colours using your finger if you’re wanting to go for a more smudged effect. Next, take a thin, flat eyeshadow brush or a concealer brush, and sweep this medium tone lightly along your lower lash line. Afterwards, grab your angle eye brush, and, with either your medium or darkest shade, follow the natural crease of your eye socket so you can add additional colour and depth. If you desire more definition, use this brush to take the shade of your lower lash line and draw a triangular peak to meet the outer edges of your brow line. The secret to a perfect smokey eye is to blend the colours seamlessly, so take your blending brush to gently fill in or blend together your chosen colour palette.
Now, we are going for a subtle smokey eye, so you can apply your mascara here and be done with it, or you can accentuate your look further with the application of eyeliner. For a more subtle look, opt for a pencil eyeliner in a dark shade of your desired colour or black and apply it to your upper lash line. Grab a small sponge-tipped brush, and gently smudge the liner until you are happy with your look.
The subtle smokey eye is a subdued and romantic look that suits all occasions. This soft and natural look is less dramatic than your typical smokey eye, but when well-applied, can deliver just as much impact with its silky and diffused colour.