Avoid Black Eyeliner Or Black Eyeshadow
A more modern take on the smokey eye can be created by incorporating shades of coffee, charcoal, ash, sable and violet. These earthy, more sophisticated eyeshadow shades offer a ladylike twist on the classic, seductive smokey eye look. When creating your smokey eye, choose two different shades (one darker and one lighter) of the same color, avoiding jet black. For eyeliner, opt for a dark, smudgy pencil (charcoal, chocolate, brown, coffee, plum,etc).
Choose Your Tools Wisely
Keep things simple by only using the necessary tools and products. A flat paddle eyeshadow brush and a small blending brush is all you need. The flat shape and thin edge of a versatile brush such as MAC #213 is particularly excellent for packing on the shadow.
A dome-shaped and small, fluffy blending brush (MAC #217) is ideal for mixing and toning down color in a single stroke.
Apply The Shadow
Start by using the paddle brush to sweep the lighter-toned shadow from the lash line to the crease and from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye. Using the same brush, carefully place the darker toned shadow tight to the lash line and lid, being careful not to extend past your brow bone. Next, use your pick of eyeliner (I adore a dark charcoal as opposed to black) to line the upper and lower lash line, including the inner rim of your eye, particularly if you're feeling bold.
Learn The Art Of Blending
Now, the most crucial element to an expertly applied smokey eye: blending! After applying the liner, choose a tone slightly warmer than your natural skin tone. (Insider tip: For blending, For blending, I use my favorite bronzer or contour cheek color instead of a shadow because it's just a touch warmer than my natural skin tone.) Using your blending brush and a touch of bronzer (or colors from this Tom Ford Quad), swish the brush back and forth inside your brow bone first and then dust along the lower lashes. This lets the eyeliner line appears smudgier and less defined. With a naked brush, swirl the bristles back and forth to spread the product slightly past the brow bone creating the perfect dreamy diffusion of color.
Don't Forget The Lashes!
Although I recommend avoiding pitch black eyeshadow, I love it for mascara. Using a mascara that is blacker than black will help lashes stand out against the variations of dark shadows. When it comes to applying mascara, more is definitely more here!