Beguiling cat-like smoky eyes are the bedrock of party season makeup. When you don’t fancy all the re-application of a red lip or the fall out from glitter, bold eyes are a great choice as they’ll see you through from dinner to dancing with nary a smudge. Hone your technique with our step-by-step guide and your sultry, after-dark eyes will take you through the festive season and beyond…
How To Do Smoky Eyes In Five Simple Steps
Step One: Prime Your Eyelids
Start by underpinning all your hard work and preventing eyeshadow creases with a smoothing eye primer to prep the area. We like Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, which dries clear and ensures the true colour of your eyeshadow is visible. As well as applying to your eyelid, take it underneath the lower lashes too and it will help to keep your makeup looking perfect for hours.
Step Two: Define Your Eyes
Take a soft kohl eyeliner such as Stila Stay All Day Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner and sketch a soft line along the upper lash line, staying close to the lashes and gently curving the line upwards at the outer corner. Take the pencil line along your lower waterline for a cat-like finish.
Step Three: Shadow Play
You’ll need three eyeshadows for your smoky eye, varying in shade from light to medium to dark. Choose a colour you love and find three variations, or choose an eyeshadow palette that’s specifically designed for eyes. We love Laura Mercier Editorial Eye Palette Intense Clays, which has a range of blue and bronze shades, or try Ilia Beauty Essential Shadow Palette, which contains light plum shades.
Lightly dust the lightest shade all over the eyelid, right up to your eyebrow, then take the medium shade and using the Surratt Small Smoky Eye Brush layer on colour over your lid, shaping the outer corners and gently diffusing with the tip of the domed brush. Take this shade onto the lower eyelid as well, gently building it upwards for a dramatic look. Remove excess colour from the brush with a dry tissue, then dip into your darkest shade and blend into the crease – this will create the all-important dimension and depth that brings the smoky eye into its own.
Step Four: Add Highlight
Dial up your smoky look for party season with a golden highlighter like Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter Gold Lava. Use your finger to dab it into the centre of your top lid, near to the lash line and gently apply to the inner corners of your eyes for a bright, wide-eyed finish. Then, using your finger again, sweep a small amount just below the arch of your brow for extra drama.
Step Five: Groom Brows And Lashes
It’s essential that your beautiful eyes are framed with perfect brows and lashes. For brows, we love the fine pointed Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil – use the spoolie end to brush hairs upwards first, then fill in any gaps before setting with Chantecaille Full Brow Perfecting Gel. Curl lashes with the Space NK Lash Curler to open up eyes and show off your smoky shadow, then follow with three coats of Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara, which builds incredible volume and thickness and critically, never smudges.