How To: The Most Basic Smokey Eye

The number one thing I’m asked to teach is a smokey eye. Even if someone says, “I want to look really natural,” I ask them to show me a photo of what they mean and it’s a smokey eye.

Every. Time.

It’s not just me. Jaclyn Hill even created an eye shadow shade in her eponymous palette with Morphe called SBN - which stands for Smokey But Natural - as a tribute to the number one request she’d receive as a bridal makeup artist.

There’s really no formal definition for a smokey eye - I mean, some spell it “smokey” and others “smoky” - so here goes mine:

Smokey Eye: uber-blended eye shadow that goes from light to dark in at least one direction

This means you can use any combo of shades and there’s no one “right” smokey eye application. Which makes me happy, but I know a lot of folks tend to get overwhelmed just looking at an eye shadow palette. To cut the confusion, I did my favorite, easiest, fool-proof (aka really hard to get raccoon eyes) smokey eye look with traditional shades that you probably already have in your makeup bag.

wow…that’s really close…

For this look, I used my Charlotte Tilbury eye shadow quad in The Sophisticate:

Basically, I go from light to dark while going from a larger area to a smaller one while blending like a crazy person. I love this because not only can you not be precise, you actually shouldn’t…and if things get a little nuts, you clean up around the edges with the lightest shade.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for you to follow. My best tips are to :

  1. Prep your lids with a little concealer and either powder or the lightest shade of eye shadow

  2. Take your time and and know that it gets easier with practice

  3. Blend like it’s the last thing you’ll do - but stay within the area where you placed each color (Thoughts on a blending tutorial? Let me know @ElectraLane on Instagram.).

Before we go, if you want the full breakdown to this or any makeup look, I’ve started another Instagram page just for that info. Feel free to follow @makeupchef_!