Friday, March 11, 2011

A WEARABLE Smokey Eye Tutorial

My biggest challenge when I began to try out makeup was learning to work with my eye shape. I had watched countless YouTube videos, figured out all the main brushes I would need, seen tons of different application methods, techniques, and styles, and I was ready to start. I wanted to achieve a smokey eye! I was determined. I was excited to start recreating everything I had seen. I had watched tutorials on just about every look under the sun. I had seen bridal makeup, prom makeup, everyday makeup, arabic-inspired smokey eyes, glittery smokey eyes, cut-crease eye tutorials, and everything in between.

Unfortunately once I began trying, I realized that something had gone wrong. Even though I would follow the gurus step for step, I would just end up with a mess on my hands- or my face rather. I had no idea it would be so difficult.

Many YouTube makeup gurus have a standard eye shape, and are blessed with a lot of lid space with which to work. Lid space is important because from lid to brow bone is where you're applying all the shadow, liner, etc., and the more you have the easier of a time you'll have. With more lid space you can do bigger sweeping motions. With me, everything is detail work. Since figuring out what works for me, it has been a walk in the park. I'm going to share my own personal tips and methods for achieving a smokey eye. I think this is important because there aren't many YouTube gurus who have an eye like mine. I have a hooded eye shape, and it is extremely hooded. When I do a line of eyeliner and look up, pretty much all you see is liner. That thin line will take up my entire section of lid. My crease is not clearly visible, so I do what a lot of asians do, and shade in the socket bone area. This is where your crease would normally be, and it is the deepest part of your eyelid, so that's the part you really want to add dimension to.

Smokey eyes are not all alike, and there are tons of methods in achieving stunning looks that can be dramatic, subtle, neutral, colorful, shimmery, or matte. There are different ways to apply, and different ways to achieve dimension and depth. Typically on a day-to-day basis, I go for extremely simple. I'll throw on a main lid color, and smudge a darker color into the crease and outer V and boom, Smokey eye is complete with some mascara and liner. However, for this post's purposes I used a lid color, a crease color, an Outer V color, and a highlight. The effect is a nice neutral smokey eye, not too loud, not too crazy.

With that said, this is how I do a neutral, office and school- appropriate smokey eye:

1) I prep the lid with a primer to make the eyeshadow last and keep its vibrancy all throughout the day. Urban Decay Primer Potion is notoriously the best, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance is also a great option. Many Gurus use a base instead of, or sometimes with a primer, to enhance the color of their shadows. NYX jumbo eye pencils are popular, as well as MAC paint pots. In this look, I used Urban Decay Primer Potion.

2) I then go ahead and put on a main lid color.

The starred shadow is my lid color (Toasted, Urban Decay Naked Palette)

This is the primary color in my look, which I smoke out with other colors. I usually apply this on my lid and into my crease. After generally applying all over the lid I sort of push the brush into my socket area and move from the middle of my lid to the outer part. The key during all these steps is to make sure you're not being heavy handed, or else you'll get a blotchy result.

3) After this, I add depth with a crease color. The circle on the shadow in the above picture (Hustle) is what I used. I smudge this starting from the outer portion of my eye into my socket area. I use a very light hand because it can quickly look too dark or not well blended.

3) Finally, I added a little black (triangle above) to the outer V and shaded slightly inward

4) I added Naked (the shadow with the square over it) as my highlight color, underneath the brow bone

5) I threw on some mascara and smudged a little of Hustle and Creep underneath my lower lashline, and just a bit of eyeliner on the outer third of my bottom waterline. Look complete!

Voila! Your basic, simple, wearable smokey eye :)


  1. Oh my goodness! Could it be? An actual smoky eye for hooded eyelids? I think I might faint! But in all seriousness, thank you so much! I have the same thing as you, where my eyelids are so hooded that if I wear any eyeliner on the top lash line, it's all you can see of my lid. This helped so much. It's a beautiful look and isn't too "runway-ish" or dramatic. Just right. Earlier, I wasn't sure about the Naked palette, not knowing if I could really pull off the colors, but now I am definitely getting it! I was even planning on going to Ulta tomorrow to pick up a few things. It's practically destiny. Can't wait to use this!