BEAUTY 101 | Choosing Colours for a Smoky Eye Look

I recently held a make-up lesson with two amazing and quick-learning clients (thanks A. and S.!). We focused on doing a smoky eye look for the lesson, and it reminded me how (understandably!) many women have questions on how to do it or how to improve on it.

The short answer? Practice and experiment! The great thing about make-up is that even if you don’t get it right the first time, you can easily wipe it off and try again.

I thought it would be useful to revisit the technique and answer some frequently asked questions about smoky eye questions here on the blog. With the holiday season upon us, hopefully you’ll find the info useful, as it’s the perfect time to try something bold for all those parties you’ll be attending!

The template below (an oldie but a goodie!) is meant to be an approximate guideline for where the shades of eyeshadow go. Keep it in mind (and click it to enlarge it) – we’ll refer back to it frequently throughout the next few posts we do on the smoky eye technique.
Smoky Eye FAQ #1: What colours do I use?

Once you have the smoky eye technique down pact, you can pretty much use any colours you prefer, but keep the shades used within the same colour family (in other words, save those purple and green colour combinations for the runway!). The best colours for you are ones that enhance your eye colour and skin tone.

Some universally flattering shades that work well for a smoky eye look on all skin tones are grey, brown and black. For instance:


  • taupe as your neutral base (area ‘a’ in the diagram above, all over the eyelid but just beneath the browbone)
  • dark brown as contour (area ‘b’ in the crease of the eye down toward the lashline
  • an off-white (to highlight area ‘c’ just atop the browbone and on the inner corner of the eye)
  • midtone grey as the base (area ‘a’)
  • dark grey/black as the contour (area ‘b’)
  • an off-white to highlight (area ‘c’)
  • Once you get the hang of the smoky eye, you can very well interchange the colours above and do a smoky eye with green/purple/blue/burgundy as the base, rather than as grey pictured above. You can even use different textures such as frost, shimmer and glitter for an added festive look! One of the beautiful things about the smoky eye is that with one technique, you can get so many looks. So keep on experimenting to see what you come up with! :)

    On to more smoky eye FAQs…. :)

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