Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Touch device users, explore by touch or with swipe gestures.
HSTS Pixel

How to do a smokey eye

Perfect for nights out, mastering this classic look is easier than you might think.

How to do a smokey eye.

What is a smokey eye?

The go-to evening look

Like a bold red lip or winged liner, a smouldering smokey eye is one of the classics. Layers of eye shadow and liner are buffed out to create a 'smokey' effect. It suits everyone, and with smudging key to creating the look, it's a good one for beginners to try.

The kit you need

We've picked out a few of our favourite eyeshadow palettes, eyeliners and mascaras.

Step-by-step: Classic black smokey eye

Woman cleans her face with a cotton bud.

1. Start with a clean base

Use an eye-friendly cleanser or just some water to gently clean your eyes. Make sure they're dry before you start.

Woman applies primer to her eyelid.

2. Add a primer

An eye primer helps your shadow to stick without creasing, and keeps it in place for longer. Warm a small amount on your fingertips and smooth onto your eyelids.

Woman applies concealer underneath her eye.

3. Add some concealer under the eye

Pat a little concealer under your eyes to brighten any dark circles. Once blended you can also brush over a setting powder - this will catch any eyeshadow that drops down as you apply. Just swipe off this powder once your eye look is complete to reveal a neat finish.

Woman applies light grey eyeshadow to her eyelid.

4. Start with your lightest shadow

You'll use two eyeshadow shades for this look; a lighter grey and a darker grey or black shadow. Start with your lighter shade to create a base, sweeping the colour over the whole of the lid.

Woman applies dark grey eyeshadow to the outside of her eyelid.

5. Layer in your darker shadow

Taking your darker shade, apply to the outer third of your eyelid, starting close to your lash line and working up and into the crease of your eyelid. Buff this in with your brush until you're happy with the effect.

Woman applies eyeliner above her eyelashes.

6. Smudge liner along your lash lines

Using an eyeliner, draw along your top lash line. You can bring this around your bottom lash line too for a more dramatic look. Don't worry about it being neat - take your brush and buff into the rest of the shadow.

Woman with smokey eye makeup.

7. Highlight your inner corner

This step is optional, but we love the brightening effect it has. Take a highlighter or the lightest eyeshadow in your palette and apply to the inner corner of each eye.

Woman applies mascara to eyelashes.

8. Layer up your mascara

Grab your favourite mascara (something volumizing works well with for this look) and apply to your top and bottom lashes. Build up the layers to amplify the look.

Smokey eye variations

Once you've got the technique you can experiment with different eyeshadows - why not try one of these?

Eye with neutral brown smokey eye makeup.

Brown smokey eye

Looking for an everyday look? Opt for more neutral brown shades, like taupe or copper.

Eye with bold glitter smokey eye makeup.

Glitter smokey eye

Perfect for the party season, swap one or both of your shades to glitter eyeshadows.

Eye with colourful purple smokey eye makeup.

Coloured smokey eye

Jewel tones work well, like purples and blues - or why not match to your outfit?

More inspiration

Why buy at Argos?