Most of us consider a great smokey eye to be the ultimate nighttime look, but when done with a lighter touch, it can be flattering for daytime, too. The key to getting it right (read: more red carpet than night club) is choosing the right shades for your eye color. When creating smokey eyes for blue eyes, you want to avoid blue shadows, as they’ll actually tone down your eye color as opposed to making it pop.
The secret to showcasing your eye color is picking a shadow that’s on the opposite on the color wheel: “Antique-colored rust browns, bronze, pumpkin, and plum eyeshadows are a perfect way to spice up a smokey eye for girls with blue eyes,” says celebrity makeup artist and blogger Nicole Williams. Follow her simple step-by-step instructions for creating appropriate daytime and nighttime smokey looks.
Daytime Smokey Eye
With softer colors and brown mascara (you’d be surprised how much less dramatic it is than black), a smokey eye can easily be daytime appropriate.
Step 1: Apply a soft orange or bronze cream eyeshadow, like Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Eyeshadow in Fierce and Tangy ($6, amazon.com) on the lids.
Step 2: “Follow by dabbing Ardency Inn Modster Light Catching Eye Powder in Friendly Fire ($32, sephora.com) in the inner corners of the eyes to reflect light,” says Williams.
Step 3: To add to the smokey effect, Williams recommends smudging a rust-colored eyeliner like MAC Eye Khol in Teddy ($17, maccosmetics.com) a rich brown with flecks of bronze shimmer, into the lashline. For added smokiness, blend the eyeliner with a pencil brush.
Step 4: “Finally,” Williams says, “brighten the eyes with the NYX Wonder Pencil in Light ($5, nyxcosmetics.com) by applying it to the waterline.”
Nighttime Smokey Eye
“To create a smokey eye that makes blue eyes stand out, try unexpected shades of purple, like lavenders, lilacs and plum hues. Go for palettes that are filled with a variety of similar color tones, like Lancôme Color Design Eyeshadow in Amethyst ($50, sephora.com) ” Williams recommends.
Step 1: Start with a deep shade in the lash line, blending upwards toward the crease.
Step 2: Use medium-toned shades to accent just above the crease of the lid.
Step 3: Finish with lighter shades to highlight the brow bone, inner corners, and the waterline.
Before you dig in, Williams has one last piece of advice for those with blue-green eyes: “There is sometimes a fine line between blue and green eyes. They might vacillate between both colors depending on what eyeshadow, lipstick, or even color of clothing you’re wearing. If you want your eyes to look more blue, wear eye makeup that has more of an orange undertone. If you want your eyes to appear more green, go with eye makeup that has more of a red undertone.”
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