Make-up Smoky Eyes (Simple Guide In 7 Steps)

How do you make-up smoky eyes?

To make up smoky eyes, in addition to dark eye shadows, you also need eye primer, make-up brushes, several, black eyeliner, highlighter and mascara. In this post, I give you a quick guide on how to succeed with smoky eyes.

Succeeding with smoky eyes can be a bit tricky sometimes, but when you succeed, it’s so nice and a real party make-up that always works. Smoky eyes can be done with dark eye shadows and it does not always have to be a black eye shadow. You can use other dark eye shadows as well.

How to get smoky eyes easily – 7 quick steps

Smoky eyes are so beautiful and it puts focus on your eyes. The most common is that we choose black eye shadow for smoky eyes and that is why it is called just smoky eyes.

But you can also choose to soothe eyes with, for example, a dark green, dark blue, dark purple, dark red or a dark brown color.

You can also spruce up a pair of smoky eyes by applying a glitter shadow at the end of the eyeball.

Below I go through seven steps on how you can easily succeed in applying smoky eyes.

What you need:

  • Eye primer
  • Makeup brushes for the eyes
  • Dark eye shadow
  • Black eyeliner
  • Highlighter
  • Mascara

1. Start with an eye primer – Makes the eye shadow sit

Always start with an eye primer before applying an eye shadow. This is the most important step so that the eye shadow does not settle as a line on the eyelid during the day (creas). It is common for this to happen if you do not use eye primer. Eyelids tend to become oily during the day.

Another benefit of applying an eye primer is that your eye shadow becomes more intense in color and will stay in place throughout the day. Only a small amount of eye primer is enough as they are often very expensive.

Apply all over the eyelid with your fingers or with a small flat makeup brush. Let the primer sink in a bit before continuing with the eye shadow.

2. Apply eye shadow

Start by applying a dark brown or a dark gray eye shadow over the entire eyeball with a flat makeup brush.

Do not go higher up on the eye than where you feel the eye bone begin. Work in the shadow properly with circulating movements.

A tip! Tap off excess eye shadow from the brush before you start applying the shadow on the eye. Then you avoid it crumbling and settling under the eye.

Now take a black eye shadow and apply it on the outer edge of the eye and up under the eye bone. The black eye shadow should shape the eye and go around the eyeball.

So where you just applied the brown or gray shade, do not go over with the black shade. Here you can use a blending brush that brush is a little fluffier.

3. Fade – To avoid a sharp edge

After applying the black eyeshadow, it is important that you fade it out properly to avoid sharp edges. When you fade out the shadow, you get a softer impression than a hard one.

To fade out the eye shadow, you can use a blending brush the same as you applied the black eye shadow with.

Also mix in the lighter shade with the black one and it will be a nice transition. Work in circulating movements over the eyelid.

4. Highlight the lash line – For an impression of fuller lashes

Now you should mark the upper lash line to give the impression of fuller and denser lashes. Take a black eyeliner and paint as close to the lashes as possible.

Paint in the waterline on the upper lash line it enhances the fullness of the lashes even more.

When you have finished applying the eyeliner, take a slanted brush and soot out the sharp line you painted to get softer edges.

Here you can work out the eyeliner line with the brush against the outer lash line to get a light wing.

5. Apply eyeliner on the waterline – Frames the eye

To get the smoky look, you should also apply black eyeliner in the waterline on the lower lash line, it frames the eye but also makes the look more intense.

Many people find this moment difficult and a little uncomfortable when you are so close to the eye. Be careful and pause between meals if it feels awkward.

Also take the black eye shadow and apply with an oblique brush under the lash line for an even more intense effect but also because it looks a little softer.

Fade it out too, you can also draw the color out of the eye with the brush so it will be like an eyeliner wing that goes up.

6. Apply highlighter under the eyebrow – To lift the eye

Now that you are done with the sweeping on your eyes, you should apply a light eye shadow or highlighter just below the eyebrow.

It helps to lift the eye a little and makes the makeup a little vivid.

7. Finish with mascara!

For smoky eyes, you should have a lot of mascara with volume. Start by bending your lashes so that you open up the eye and so they look longer.

Then apply the mascara near the lash root and zigzag out towards the lash top so you catch all the lashes. Here you can add a few layers of mascara so you build up the volume 2-3 layers are usually good.

Tips & things to keep in mind for smokey eyes:

  • Make sure you have a good foundation, such as a primer or a black eyeliner. This prevents the shadow from falling under the eye.
  • Turn off the brush against some paper before applying the black paint to the lid. Excess color then falls off and you avoid it falling down on your cheeks.
  • Do not place the black shadow too high up against the brow, start towards the lash line and work your way up.
  • Have several brushes on hand. It is almost impossible to create a sweep with just one brush.
  • A brown shade makes the transition from black less harsh.

You should avoid this when applying smoky eyes

There are mistakes many people make when they smoke their eyes and that determines whether you get nicely smoky eyes or not I list the most common mistakes we make below and which you should avoid.

  • The biggest mistake many people make when they soot their eyes is that they do not fade out (blur) the edges, which makes it look very hard.
  • Do not knock off the makeup brush before applying eye shadow, it causes the shadow to fall down and settle under the eye.
  • Uses an eyeliner and paints a wing. The disadvantage of this is that the eyeliner itself is not visible on the eyelid as the eye shadow is black and the eyeliner is black. It only gets weird when an answer line comes out from the sweep. Instead, use a black eyeliner that you wipe out against the edge instead of a wing.
  • That you use too few brushes. Always use more eye brushes when applying an eye makeup. The brushes have different advantages and work in different ways.
  • Avoid using budget eye shadows. They are usually poorly pigmented and are difficult to work with and fade out.
  • Always lay the base last. Even if you knock off the makeup brush from excess eye shadow, it can still end up a little under the eyes. It’s so sad if you laid a nice base before. You will avoid this if you apply the base last, then you can wipe off what ends up under the eye without ruining the rest of the makeup.

When is it nice to have smoky eyes?

Always! I think it suits all occasions, but you can take in more and less. I love to use a bit of a matte black eye shadow just closest to the lash line which is then rowed out, and also a bit on the underside of the eye.

It will be easy and nice for a job interview, for example. While a sweep with more shade is suitable for the party, then you can also use shimmery or glittery black eye shadows.

What is the most common mistake we make?

Too little black shadow on too large an area, you often feel like a panda afterwards. If you instead apply a carbon black color only a little on the lid, it will be much nicer and easier to wear.

What is most important to think about?

To use a good black ear shadow! Budget variants are usually greyish.

How can you vary a smoky look?

It can be varied in quantities! For example, you can only shade just closest to the upper lash line, pull out the shadow a little slightly at the outer edge and you want to get a little “longer eyes”.

You can also match with a glittery eyeliner if you want a real party look! If you think it gets too “dark” with a sweep, you can also apply a light, neutral eye shadow inside the corner of the eye.

It opens up, makes it bigger and brighter.

Summary – Make-up smoky eyes

Applying smoky eyes is not difficult and what is needed is eye primer, eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara.

The most important thing when making smoky eyes is that you make sure to fade out the shadows properly and really work it into the eyelid to avoid hard edges.

Do not forget to use an eye primer when applying eye shadow, this will prevent you from getting lines on the eyelid (creases) during the day.

The eye shadow will sit well and give a more intense color.

A smoky make-up does not have to be in a black color, it can also be dark blue, dark green or dark brown if you want.

Always put the base last when you make smoky eyes to reduce the risk of ruining a nice base because the shadow has fallen and settled under the eye when you put on make-up.


  • Madalyn Marie. (2014). FACES


This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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