Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Smudged Smoky Eye : Tutorial

I feel like I need to post tutorials every Tuesday so that I can coin it "Tutorial Tuesday". Regardless, I thought it was time for another tutorial and today, we are going to venture into the world of the smoky eye. The greatest thing about a smoky eyes is that even the most simple smoky eye can look sexy as hell. This smoky eye is incredibly easy to achieve with minimal tools. Keep reading after the jump to see what you need and how to get this look.


1) You will need an eyeliner in a dark color. I used Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Starfish, which is a black/charcoal liner with gold and green glitter. If you want this particular product, I believe that it only comes in the "In the Garden" palette. You just need an eyeliner that has the ability to be smudged. I used waterproof so that it wouldn't continue to smudge after I did all my work.

2) A similarly colored eyeshadow. Since my eyeliner was black with gold glitter, I decided to go with my Laura Mercier Baked Eye Colour in Black Karat, which is a black base with gold shimmer swirled throughout. I'm a huge fan of Laura Mercier products and this is a great quality shadow; mine is mini-sized because I got it in a collection of products.

3) A cotton swab! I used a Q-tip, but any brand will do. You can also use a smudging brush, but I thought I would demonstrate the Q-tip method so that anyone can do this. Make sure that the cotton tips are well formed and aren't the super cheap kind that fall apart upon use.

4) An eyeshadow brush; I used my Sephora Professional Line Small Shadow Brush.

5) Black mascara. Smoky eyes look best with black mascara because it's going to help add to the drama; I'm using They're Real by Benenfit.

Let's get started!

As per usual, let's start with a prepped canvas. I have on my foundation (used Revlon Nearly Naked today), concealer, and powder. I also primed my eyelids with my eye primer from Tarte. You don't have to use an eye primer, but I know that my eyelids tend to get oily, so I prefer to prime before I do any eye makeup.

We're going to start with the liner! If you find that your liner is a bit hard to apply due to cold weather, just give it a very quick blast with the hair dryer, warm it up on your hand, or the really unsanitary way, breath on it a lot.

Line your eye lid in any fashion you see fit. This line doesn't have to be perfect because it's going to be smudged in the next step, but I recommend keeping it in a little bit from the corners of your eyes. For most people, putting a dark shadow too close to your inner corner can make you look really tired (or zombie like... I've been watching a lot of The Walking Dead). You can see that on my lids, I don't have to apply a very thick swatch for it to take up my entire lid.

Line the bottom of your eye too. As you can see, I did mine fairly thin and I did that with my eye shape and composition in mind. Everyone's eyes are different, but for my eyes, if I put too much dark color underneath, they go from look doe-like to looking droopy. If you have thinner eyes, you can generally get away with putting more dark color under your eyes. Just work with what you think works best for you and if you don't know, just start slowly; you can always build on more color.

Grab your cotton swab (or smudger brush).

Smudge! You want to smudge it until it looks like a smoky shadow of where the line was. You will also want to do this to the lower lash line. If you smudge too much and your color disappears, just draw on a new line and smudge again.

Here are both eyes smudged out. I like to smudge the liner and then go back and add a very thin line extremely close to the lash line. I do this because it doesn't detract from the smokiness, but it does add a bit of definition back to the lashes.

Grab your eyeshadow and brush!

I pat the eyeshadow onto where the liner was and then softly blend it upward so that it gives a nice little gradient. Your eyeshadow should add to the intensity of the line, not subtract. If you notice that the eyeshadow is killing the liner look, then you're probably using a shadow that it too light. 

I also take a bit of shadow and sweep it along the bottom lash line to make it look smokier. If you are using a shadow with a lot of fall out, you may want to wait to do your concealer until after your eyes. If you've done your concealer and then realize that you have gotten a lot of fallout from your shadow, do NOT brush it away with your hands. You have oil on your fingers, which will attract the shadow particles and you will end up smearing the shadow on your face. Take a big fluffy brush and try to get most of it off that way and then lightly dot some concealer on.

After using my shadow, I line my waterline. If you trust your hand, you can extend the life of your liner by patting a bit of shadow on top of recently lined waterline. I don't suggest this if you have shaky hands as you will probably end up with shadow in your eye.

And last, but never least. Add a coat or six of mascara. The great thing about the smudged smoky eye is that it looks its best when it's a bit messy. I think that there is a time and place for spidery lashes and I think that they go well with a look like this. If you want your lashes to get a mildly spidery look apply one coat of mascara, allow it to dry completely (like give it 10-15 minutes), and then apply another coat. You can repeat that as many times as you like and each time it will look more and more like tarantula legs.

I rarely apply mascara to my bottom lashes because they're ridiculously long and it just ends up with my having mascara on my face, but I think that this look calls for it. 

To complete my look, I used these four items.

1) Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso
2) Mac Mineralize Skin Finish in Redhead
3) Bare Minerals dual tipped brush
4) Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

You may be saying "What....?" to my lipstick choice, but I get really bored always seeing a nude lip with smoky eyes. Black Honey is a really sheer color and it's beautiful, so I used it.

And there you have the completely look! What do you guys think, will you try something like this? Let me know in the comments below!

(all photos copyright Allison Richardson Photography and not available for use without permission)


  1. I like this! I love the eyeliner and shadow colors. I think I may have to see about ordering those. What did you use for the waterline, and how do you get it to stay? Whenever I have tried that, it always comes off within seconds.

  2. I mostly used the Starfish shade from Stila, but to make it show up better on camera, I added a little bit of my Noir longwear eyeliner. Stila is pretty good at staying in the water line since it's meant to be water proof. It will wear off as the day goes on, but it should stay on longer than most. You can always apply a small amount of powder shadow on top to help extend the life of your liner!