BEAUTY 101 | Smoky Eye FAQ – Where do the different shades go?

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 template at right (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 #2: How do I know where to start and stop the different shades?
Keep in mind everyone’s eye shape is different, and that’s where the smoky eye often gets tricky – knowing where to start and stop the different shades, how far upwards to take the darkest (contour) colour and how/if to line the bottom lash line.

Small or deep-set eyes:

keep the contour colour below the crease toward the lashline

For smaller or deep set eyed beauties, keep the contour colour (b – the darkest colour) below the crease of the eye and tight towards the lashline. To frame the eye and give more of a smoky effect, blend a bit of the darkest colour on the outer third of the bottom lashline. Don’t take the bottom line too far inward nor line the inner rim, as applying too much eyeliner on the bottom can make the eyes appear to recede and look smaller.

Larger Eyes:

extend contour shadow upwards, but still keep the it beneath the hollow of the eyelid

Larger-eyed beauties can use darker eyeshadows more liberally without the fear of making the eyes looking too small (I know, lucky ladies, right?!). For larger-sized eyes, you can smudge eyeshadow on the bottom lash line all the towards the inner corner. You can even apply eyeliner in the waterline (the inner rim of the eye) for a full-on smoky look. Lining the inner rim will help to brighten the whites of your eyes and make the look extra sultry.

Where to start and stop?However far up you blend it, the transition between the shades should be seamless, so well-pigmented eyeshadows and quality brushes are key to getting the look, bringing us to our next FAQ!

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