For come hither drama, there’s nothing like a smokey eye. The classic technique has myriad iterations, from over-the-top darkness a la Kim Kardashian to more subtle daytime version. Makeup artist (and smokey eye addict) Nam Vo gave us a step-by-step guide to a basic smokey eye using all neutral colors. Once you master this, you can experiment with different versions — just remember to keep all the shadows in the same color palette.
Using your fingers, apply a light-colored cream shadow like Bobbi Brown’s Sand Dollar, from the lash line to the middle of the eye. “The warmth of your fingers helps the shadow go on smoothly,” says Vo.
Next, use a flat brush to apply a complementary powder shadow like Smashbox’s Smashing Champagne all over the cream base. “The cream grabs the powder and helps it project more,” says Vo. “You don’t have to be precise, just layer it on.”
Take a dome-shaped brush with a flexible tip and dip it into a taupey gray shadow, like stila’s wheat. Fit the brush in the deepest contour of your crease and use a fluid motion to blend back and forth like windshield wipers.
Use a small detail brush to brush the same taupey gray shadow along the lower lash line and in a soft v-shape at the outer corner of your eye. This adds definition and makes your eye look bigger. When in doubt, blend!
To complete the look, apply a black liner or a soft black shadow along the top and lower lash line. Finish with two coats of major mascara like Benefit BADgal.
Tip: If you’re unsure about mixing and matching shadows, pick up a kit like stila’s Smokey Eye Palette that includes every shade you need.
- By Mollie Chen
Here’s what you’ll need to master the basic smokey eye.
stila prime pot waterproof eye shadow primer. This waterproof primer helps shadow and liner slide on smoothly and stay in place all day—and night.
Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow in Sand Dollar is a silver-toned taupe that works on all skin tones.