How to: Basics Smokey Eye Application

by Jenny Tran (other articles by Jenny Tran)


Jenny Tran is an amazing make-up artist! We are lucky enough to have her share some amazing step by step techniques and insider tips.

Happy reading!

The smokey eye is the most asked for makeup look by my clients. It is one of the most versatile eye shadow looks and can be worn for so many occasions.

A common misconception is that a smokey eye is always done using black eye shadow - it isn’t the colour choice that makes a smokey eye “smokey”, it’s the technique.

To create a sultry and sexy smokey eye, apply eye shadow along the lower lash line and smudge it out. This is what gives the eye a smokey effect!

Don’t limit yourself to dark colours such as black or grey - play up your eye colour by incorporating complimentary colours:

-       Blue eyes: use colours with a terra cotta undertone to make your eyes pop

-       Brown eyes: colours such as blues will enhance the dark tones in your eyes

-       Green eyes: violets and purples will make your eyes extra vibrant

Below is a basic set of instructions to create a dark smokey eye. You can substitute each of the colours to suit your needs, for example, for a more daytime smokey eye, stick to matte colours in lighter hues and switch the black eyeliner for a dark brown.


2 x flat eye shadow brushes

1 x blending brush

1 x pencil brush

1 x liner brush (optional)

1 x eyelash curler


Eye shadow primer (e.g Urban Decay Primer Potion or MAC Painterly PaintPot)

Eye shadows in:

-       Champagne

-       Medium brown

-       Black

-       Bone (matte)

Black eyeliner (gel/liquid/pencil)

Black mascara

Eyebrow pencil


  1. One of the most essential parts of any eye shadow application is priming the eyes. This will smooth out the texture of your eyelid, acting as a base to allow the eye shadows to appear more vibrant and to stay on all day. Apply the primer with your ring finger from the lash line right up to the brow.
  2. On the inner third of your eye, apply the champagne colour using a flat eye shadow brush up to your crease line.
  3. At the centre of the eye, apply the medium brown colour with a flat eye shadow and bring the colour up to the crease. Use the blending brush to blend the champagne and brown colour together to create a flawless transition.
  4. In order to create a lift to the eye, apply the black eye shadow to a point. To create the right shape, follow an imagiary line drawn from the outer corner of your eye to the end of your eyebrow. Bring the shadow up to your crease and across the crease to meet the medium brown.
  5. Use your blending brush to blend the black eye shadow into the brown. Also blend the outer corner to ensure there are no harsh lines
  6. Take a clean blending brush to blend the colours together across your crease and up       towards the brow – blend up and out using windscreen wiper motions.
  7. Apply the bone colour to just below your eyebrow right below the arch with a clean flat   eye shadow brush. This highlight will help to give the illusion of an eye lift – no needles   required!
  8. Apply black eyeliner to the upper lash line. Follow the same imaginary line used to         apply the black shadow to create the perfect winged liner.
  9. Curl your eyelashes and apply mascara.
  10. Mirror the colour application of the upper lash line to the lower lash line - apply the         champagne colour to the inner corner, the medium brown to the centre and the black     to the outer corner using the pencil brush.  Blend as you go and make sure to meet the   colour on the outer corner of the upper lash line. Remember, this is what creates that     smokey eye.
  11. Apply mascara to the lower lash line.
  12. Don’t forget those brows! To help balance out your look, fill in your brows with an           eyebrow pencil 2 shades lighter than your hair colour.


-       Clean the blending brush on a tissue in between colours to ensure minimal smudging of           the colours occurs.

-       Don’t forget to apply eyeliner and mascara to give you the illusion of thicker lashes,                 particularly if you are doing a dark smokey eye. You don’t want your lashes to get lost               amongst the colour. Maybe even try some false lashes!


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