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By, Charlie Timmens 02 August, 2022

How to nail a smokey eye like a pro

A smokey eye sounds simple in principle, but can be pretty elusive in practice. That's because there is such a thing as too much smoke (I know, we didn't think it was possible either). 

After all, smokey eyes are supposed to be the rebellious, rock 'n' roll alternative to meticulously neat makeup. But, there's a delicate balance to be struck between looking "sexily dishevelled" and just plain, WTF. So it's pretty understandable that over 21 million of us have typed in "how to do a smokey eye?" on Google recently.

What is a smokey eye?

First things first, what makes a smokey eye? Effectively, it's a blended or diffused eyeshadow rather than one block colour which a) creates dimension and b) looks downright hot. You can use one shade and smoke it out at the edges, but usually, you'll build up layers with different shades and textures. In his video tutorial on metallic smokey eyes, celebrity makeup artist and King of the smokey eye, Hung Vanngo explained "all the layers create so much dimension. You may wonder 'why do I need to do a pencil first and then the shadow, and then another shadow?' But it's for the depth that you create. It shows through in the pictures you take and it's beautiful. Basically, you craft a gradient from really dark and fade it out."

We asked Bobbi Brown's Global Pro Artist, Amy Conway for a smokey eye step-by-step, complete with her top tips for getting it right. The clincher? Blending (lots and lots of blending).

3 things to know before starting your smokey eye

  • The key is to always keep the darkest point at the lash line. It keeps the makeup really modern and fresh, and ensures you are drawing more attention to the eye vs the makeup.
  • Keep it simple. Stick to no more than 3 shadows and a liner to make your eyes pop.
  • Blend is your friend. Brushes are super important to get that blend. When it comes to a smokey eye, it doesn't matter how dark you go, or what colours you use, it's how well you can blend the liner and shadow. That's what gives it that sultry look.
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