How to create the Perfect Smokey Eye

The smokey eye is a timeless and glamourous look, seen on runways, models, celebrities, in magazines...and now on you. If you've always loved this smouldering makeup look, but didn't know how to achieve it, this guideline is especially for you. My friend Shakira is a talented Johannesburg-trained, Cape Town-based makeup artist. She shares her steps on how to create the perfect smokey eye.

Step 1: Choosing a base that will keep eyeshadow flawless is very important. Apply foundation around your entire eye area. Then apply concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone. The ideal consistency for this is a cream concealer. Set with loose powder - which will also help catch all the shadow that falls underneath your eyes. Alternatively, you can use an eye primer - MAC 'paint' is a great one.

Step 2: Starting with the eye shadow - choose a highlighter in either a matte finish for the day or shimmery finish for a night time look. A white, cream or pearl coloured highlighter is ideal. Wipe the highlighter over the entire eyelid, up to the brow bone.

Step 3: Use a darker colour and line your eyes with an eyeshadow brush. You're not restricted to just black, you can choose any dark colour you like - blue, purple, green, brown or grey (as pictured above). Use the same colour to line the bottom part of your eyelids, just under the lash line. Then use a cotton bud to softly smudge the top and bottom of your eye line.

Step 4: You will need an even darker colour shadow to create a full smokey effect (such as the black one pictured above). Softly pat the eye shadow with a brush over your eyelids, making sure to stop before the crease. 

Step 5: Remember that the key to a perfect smokey eye is to blend. Take a flat shadow brush and blend. You don't want to see any definite lines.

Step 6: Take your shadow brush and dip it into the darker coloured shadow. Close your eyes, put the brush tip into the crease, then open your eyes (with brush still in place) and sweep it from half way to the end of the crease.

Step 7: Use the highlighter again, and brush on to the brow bone, following the eye brow shape.

Step 8: You can now choose to be more dramatic by taking a black liquid liner and lining your top lashes. For extra 'Oh la la' use an eye pencil to line the bottom eye lid. You can stick to black or a dark colour you prefer. Make sure you wipe away any excess powder that's underneath your eyes.

Step 9: Mascara, Mascara and Mascara...layers of it. You can use a lash curler to curl your lashes upwards first, for that Va va voom appeal. 

Step 10: With a brow brush, comb your brows neatly into place. You can even colour them in with black or dark brown shadow. Set with brow gel.

Remember to keep lips natural. When applying strong makeup, keep the focus on either lips or eyes - never both.

Here are some celebrity smokey eye looks to inspire you. As you can see, this style of eye makeup suits any hair colour, eye colour and skin tone.

From the Top: 
Keira Knightly lined her bottom lash line with pencil and used a dark brown eye shadow. 
Dianna Argon bats her eyelids under smokey eye shadow. 
Jennifer Lopez used a charcoal and steel eye shadow blend, which works superbly with her dark lined eyes. 
Camilla Belle used a soft brown shadow underneath her bottom lashes. 
Mila Kunis wears a sultry smokey eye better than most, darkly rimmed with black eye pencil.
Taylor Swift uses dramatic black liner and silver highlighter to bring out her blue eyes. 
Kim Kardashian amps up the volume with curly fake lashes. 
Notice how all these smokey stars kept the rest of their makeup simple with pale rosy blusher and nude glossy lips.

Try out these 10 easy-to-follow steps to crease your own irresistible smokey eye. Good Luck!


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