Attending a lavish gala, looking to impress on a hot date or just fancy shaking up your style? Smokey eye makeup could revolutionise your beauty routine. This classic look never goes out of fashion and there's a technique to suit every eye colour and shape.

It may seem daunting, but, as with all makeup techniques, practice makes perfect. Our ten-step guide will help you achieve a smouldering stare in just a few minutes. We’ll also cover eye makeup tips and tricks so you can find the smokey look to suit you.

Applying black eyeliner to upper lashes

Step one: Apply a cream concealer to your eyelids. This will act as a base and create a long-lasting foundation for your eyeshadow to stick to.

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Sweeping a light brown eyeshadow on the entire eyelid

Step two: Sweep a pressed powder over your entire eyelid to prevent your eyeshadow creasing and ensure longevity throughout the day. Smokey eyes shouldn’t mean smudgy eyes.

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Blending brown eyeshadow on outer half of eyelid

Step three: With a black eye liner pencil, draw a steady line from the inner corner to the outer. Run the same pencil over the roots of your lower lashes. 

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Blending dark eyeshadow on outer corner of eyelid

Step four: Take the lightest colour from your palette of eyeshadow and sweep it across your entire lid. 

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Applying mascara to eyelashes

Step five: Get a new brush for the medium shade. Start blending from halfway across the eyelid, working upwards and outwards towards the crease.

Step six: Using a blending brush, sweep the darkest shade you have onto the outer corner of the eye and along the crease. 

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Step seven:Take a pale colour lighter than your skin tone and brush it along your brow bone to highlight the eye.

Step eight:Go back to the darkest shade with a small brush and apply lightly to your lower lash line. 

Step nine:With a blending brush again, blend your shadow and buff out harsh lines, paying particular attention to the outer corner of the eye.

Step ten:Complete the look with lashings of mascara to frame your eye dramatically. 

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Nars dark silver eyeshadow.

To get the most out of your smokey eye look, choose an eyeshadow at the opposite end of the colour wheel to your irises. This will enhance the appearance of your eyes and make them appear bigger and brighter.

Hazel eyes
Choosing the right shade for hazel eyes can be tricky because their multifaceted spectrum of green, brown and gold means there’s no one colour to match to. A darker emerald shade or rich brown will complement your eyes’ many tones and help them stand out.

Blue eyes
A contrasting shade of coffee brown will enhance the blue tones of your eyes, while shimmering bronze will add impact and depth ideal for a long-lasting evening look.

Green eyes
Green eyes work best with purple shades and floral hues like pinks and lilacs. Try a soft violet eye with deeper plum shadow blended softly into the socket for a knock-out stare.

Brown eyes
Eyeshadow colours don't have to be dark to achieve the smokey effect, so draw attention to your deeply coloured eyes using cream and bronze shades. This will make sure your already dark eyes don't become overwhelmed with even darker eyeshadow.


The last secret to the perfect smokey eye makeup is figuring out the most flattering technique for the shape of your eye. Once you understand the basics you can experiment by applying these rules to different colour combinations and find your signature blend.

Illustration of almond shaped eyes

Almond eyes

To accentuate your almond eyes, use a shimmery shade from lash line to crease. Bronzer in the crease will intensify the smokey effect and lining the upper eyelid rim with a black pencil to draw attention to your elegant shape.

Illustration of small eyes

Small eyes

You can create the appearance of wider eyes by keeping the shades you use on the lighter side. Your lightest colour should be cream or a very pale pigment, and think grey rather than black for your dark tone. Avoid lining the lower rim in black. Instead, use a white or nude eye liner to make the eyes appear larger.

Illustration of close set eyes

Close-set eyes

Add a light iridescent shade or highlight to the inner corners of your eyelids, and use a deeper shade for depth in the crease. Your eyes will appear further apart as well as getting the benefit of your sultry makeup.

Illustration of wide set eyes

Wide eyes

Wide eyes come with a generous amount of surface area to work with so don't hesitate when it comes to creating a bold look. Go all out here with dark browns, blacks and bold liner. Remember to blend dark colours well so that the contours around the brow bone don't appear harsh.

Illustration of asymmetric eyes

Asymmetrical eyes

Extend your darker shadow slightly higher towards your brow bone on the eye that is the smallest or that droops downwards. This subtle trick will balance the symmetry of your face.