The 5 Rules Of Smoky Eyes

One of the most gorgeous ways to play up your eyes is with a classic smoky makeup look, but it’s not the easiest technique to master. Use too little shadow and your eyes won’t pop; use too much and you risk looking like a raccoon (Taylor Momsen, we’re looking at you.) Here are the five rules to applying a smoky eye, so you finish with captivating, flirty eyes like Nina Dobrev‘s.

Nina Dobrev

Photo: Getty Images
Nina Dobrev proves that a subtle smoky eye is perfect for daytime.

1. Use the right tools.
Creating a smoky eye is easy when you have the right tools. Start with a pencil along the lash line to define the eyes, then use a stubby blending brush to smoke out the pencil. Apply eye shadow on the lids using a fluffy brush to distribute color evenly, and use a pointier brush to blend color into the socket.

2. Go darker along the lashes and in the crease.
You’ll need at least two shades to create a smoky eye with dimension. Apply a darker shadow along the lashes and into the crease to give the illusion of depth.

3. Blend, blend, blend.
Don’t leave any harsh lines around your eyes. Blend your shadow out and up to opens up the eye and create an almond shape.

4. Add dimension with a pale highlight shade.
Add shimmer to both the brow bone and the inner corners of the eyes to balance the heaviness of the dark eye makeup.

5. Stay in bounds.
Dark shadow should never be too heavy under the eyes (it draws them downward), and should never go as high as the brow bone (too ’80s!). Don’t leave a gap between your shadow and your lash line, either; push the brush into your lashes to get the color as close to them as possible.

Read more: The 5 Rules of Bright Lipstick