9 Hacks For Nailing A Smokey Eye

9 Hacks For Nailing A Smokey Eye

Sophisticated and chic, nothing makes you feel ready for a night out like a smokey eye. While they don't need to be impeccable or overly defined, there are a few key hacks to note in order to perfect the basics. We asked top MUA, Hannah Martin, for her top tips to ensure you get the best results every time...

Don’t Make It Too Perfect

Many of us assume smokey eyes must be flawless in application, but they don’t need to be perfect at all. In fact, smudged and blurred always looks best with no hard lines interrupting. This gives a sort of edginess and downtown-girl effect that looks far cooler and effortless.


Play With One Colour

While some of the smokey eyes we see on Instagram are impressive, multiple shades immaculately blended together is really hard to create and pull off. Instead, look to simple, singular colours, and draw or brush these onto the lids. It’s just as effective and takes all of a minute to apply. Try the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Smoke; simply swipe it all over the lower lid and blend either with your finger or a fluffy brush, right up through to the crease of the eye.


Utilise Your Lower Lash Line

For extra drama, sweep your colour or shadow stick along your lower lash line too, blending it in with your finger. This will give you a really simple, soft and wearable smokey that never looks harsh or ageing. It will also work to open up the eyes for a wider effect.


Experiment With Textures & Different Formulas

Don’t worry if you don’t have a cream shadow stick to hand. You can still try the above technique with your eyeliner pencil and get great results. Gel liners are particularly great for this technique, but kohls are fine too. If the base you create isn’t totally seamless (some long-wear liners dry quickly so don’t always blend easily) then apply some sparkle over the top. It will disguise any unevenness instantly – I really rate Bobbi Brown Sparkle Stick Eyeshadow for this.


Use Your Bronzer For A Softer Smokey

Smokey eyes don’t always need to be too dark. Think about Kendall Jenner’s brown, smokey eyes, which can easily be achieved by using your bronzer as eyeshadow. Take the bronzer right into the bridge of the nose for a super sultry look. Make the roots of the lashes dark with an eyeliner, a few coats of mascara, and you’re good to go.


Black Isn’t Your Only Option

Jewel tones also make for amazing smokey eyes. Catherine Zeta Jones in the early 2000s used to rim her eyes with an emerald green and it was mesmerising, which comes back to my earlier point that you often only need one colour for full impact. Deep blues, purples and now reds (like Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of Shame) look incredible.


Never Scrimp On Your Mascara

If you’re going for a dramatic eye, you need to make sure you’re adding lots of mascara and using a formula that’s seriously volumising. My favourite is Hourglass Caution, which delivers full-fat inkiness every single time. Your lashes must match the intensity of your shadow – whimsical, barely-there mascara just won’t do.


Try To Think Outside The Box

Bold, statement-making eyes don’t always need heaps of product. If you want to pare it back and are looking for something low-key, a smoked-out eyeliner is all you need. Try just buffing the edge of your colour with a firm, small-headed brush, like MAC’s 228S, for a more doe-eyed Penelope Cruz look. Keep the line thick and straight, in keeping with this season’s call for a more graphic flick. As this is quite a clean look, finish with just mascara and a slick of nude on the lips.


Keep Q Tips Handy

Once you’ve applied your eye make-up, go back in and clean up any product fallout or errors with Q-tips that are dabbed in make-up remover. While it’s not about keeping everything polished, this just helps to brighten the area and keep the colour by the lash line.
 Shop our edit of the best smokey eye products below…

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