Creating the perfect smoky eye can be tricky, as some of our recently wed Royals found out after fashion icon Vivienne Westwood commented: “I think she’s got a problem with eye make-up. The sharp line around her eyes makes her look hard. Either she should be smudgy or wear none.”
So, with this in mind, here is the ultimate guide to creating a smoky eye.
First things first – colour. If you’re concerned that black might look too hard, consider dark greys, browns or even greens. However a word of warning – steer clear of blue if you’ve got less than radiant skin, as the shade can enhance any existing dark circles. “Very often shades of browns, bronze and chocolate are more than enough to create a smoky finish but still make the eyes stand out,” points out Bobbi Brown. “A brown smoky eye is a much more wearable eye than the classic black version and is also the perfect way to complete a sun kissed summer look.”
Primed and ready
Just as foundation primers can help even out skin tone whilst giving foundation extra staying power, eye lid primers can smooth the skin around the eye, whilst also keeping our eye shadow in place – something that’s essential when it comes to the smoky eye. If you’re focusing on toning down redness, opt for a yellow-based colour correcting primer. To prevent eye smudging and minimise creases, opt for a champagne-coloured version.
Next, assemble your tools – Jemma Kidd’s ultimate smoky eye kit comprises an eyeliner pencil and two eye shadows – one in a silvery grey shade and a second in a darker colour.
“Starting at the outer corner of the upper lash line, work the eyeliner pencil between the roots of the lashes,” says Jemma. “Working along the upper lash line, build up colour intensity – this gives depth of colour and makes the lashes look thicker. Blend dark grey eye shadow along the upper lash line, smudging the pencil and blending it all together.”
Next, take the silvery grey eye shadow and apply above the eyeliner, blending up to the socket crease. “This creates a creamy base for the powder eye shadow to adhere to and intensifies the effect,” explains Jemma. “Use a little more dark grey powder eye shadow over the lower part of the lid, working from the lash line upwards and outwards and blending the colours together.”
Finally, apply black eyeliner pencil all the way around the inside of the upper eyelid and along the edge of the lower lid at the roots of the lashes. Once you’ve perfected this look, the intensity can be adjusted by using a liquid eye liner along the top lash line or by going over the inner rim of the lower eye lid with your eye pencil. Remember that the perfect smoky eye also calls for lashings of mascara, so opt for a lash-boosting formula that will add volume and length.
Finally, to avoid the Duchess of Cambridge’s faux pax, remember to take the time to smudge the lower lash line. Additionally, a flick of eyeliner across the top lash line will instantly lift and elongate eyes. “The line that the Duchess of Middleton draws is lining and defining, but not elongating,” points out Chase Aston, international make up artist at the Body Shop. “Rather than drawing the top line straight across the lid, she should flick the outer corner up and out – this will stop the outer corner of the eye looking droopy.”
Too Faced Smoky Eye Kit £23, Boots
The Body Shop Carbon Eye Definer. £9, The Body Shop
Jemma Kidd Eye Wardrobe Quartet £24, Look Fantasic
Benefit They’re Real Mascara, £18.50, Benefit