How to Get a Smokey Eye That Doesn’t Need a Touch-Up

Victoria Moorhouse
smokey eye no smudge tips

Photo: ImaxTree

The smokey eye. It’s one of the sexiest beauty looks of all time, but sadly, it’s also one of the most high-maintenance. Touch-ups are almost always required, unless you don’t mind it smearing off your eyelids and onto your face. It’s honestly enough to make you quit eye makeup altogether. We’re just as sick of it as you, so we went to a pro to find out if a smudge-proof smokey eye was even a thing.

Turns out, with a few simple product swaps and application tricks, getting a look that requires little to no touch-ups is totally possible! Who. Knew.

Using an eyeshadow base or primer will change everything.
According to Smashbox Pro Lead Makeup Artist Lori Taylor-Davis, going without an eyeshadow base is one of the biggest causes for a smudged smokey eye. “An eyeshadow base is key to make any look last longer and look better,” she says. It’s the first step you should take before applying any shadow or liner to your lid.

You can also use a primer to set your lids with a matte finish—Taylor-Davis says this will even make blending and setting your eyeshadow easier. “I love Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer ($21, because it gives that creamy powder like texture that is great when applying shadows,” she says. “Sometimes a primer is the perfect base shade as well!”

Pick your eyeliner wisely.
Finding the right eyeliner for a touch-up-free smokey eye can be tricky. While Taylor-Davis says that waterproof eyeliners are “a must” for a smokey eye, they can be hard to blend out. Look for one that has a creamy consistency and reads waterproof. “You want a pencil that’s going to glide on and then set,” she explains. Try using a kohl liner that doubles as a base. Taylor-Davis suggests doing this with Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner ($20,

Pack on your eyeshadow.
“I notice a lot of women swipe their shadow on when you should actually pack it on and build,” says Taylor-Davis. “You’ll get less fallout, and you won’t have as much clean up afterwards.” After you apply the base, apply your eyeliner and then buff it out. Next, Taylor-Davis says to pack on the shadow. After that, you apply another line of eyeliner and defuse it. “You really want to blend out the crease because you don’t want it to be a solid dark line,” she says.

Finish off with a spritz of setting spray.
If you’re really worried about a smudge, Taylor-Davis says you can spritz on a light mist of setting spray. “Hold it at arm’s length and let it mist or trickle down,” she says. However, she says that if you already have on a base, you probably won’t need it.

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