Smoky eye make-up: the best tutorials, tips and products to help you get the look

There’s nothing more timeless than a classic smoky eye. Here, we run through everything you need to know to become a smoky eye pro, at home. 

If you’ve ever googled how to do a smoky eye, you’re not alone. Smoky eye make-up is nothing new – and yet it continues to be one of the most in-demand make-up looks around.

But with millions of smoky eye make-up tutorials online, it can be overwhelming when trying to re-create one at home.

That’s where we come in. Consider this your smoky eye make-up crib-sheet. We’ve rounded up the best smoky eye make-up palettes, the best celebrity make-up pictures to copy and a seriously simple three-step smoky eye tutorial to follow.

So clean off those make-up brushes and get practicing your technique, because smoky eye make-up just got a whole lot easier to do. 

How to do a smoky eye for beginners:

Want an easy smoky eye step-by-step to follow? We asked celebrity make-up artist Hannah Martin for her ultimate eyeshadow tips:

Step one: Blend a mid-to-deep toned eyeshadow all over the lower lid and up into the crease.  

The higher you take the shadow the more impact it will have, but always leave a little bit of space below the brows. 

I like to take the same shadow along the bottom lash line too. Keep the line thick and smudgy – the key to a smoky eye is no hard edges. 

Step two: Next, line your eyes with an eyeliner or eyeshadow that’s darker than the eyeshadow colour used on the lid. You can’t go wrong with black, but dark browns and greys work too.

Line all along your lash line and smudge the eyeliner or shadow out, so that you buff away any harsh edges.

For maximum impact take your eyeliner along the top and bottom waterline. This will make for a more feline-looking smoky eye.

Step three: Apply three-to-five coats of a volumising mascara. I’m obsessed with the Hourglass Caution Mascara, £25 as it helps create really thick, dense lashes with little effort.

The best smoky eye make-up palettes

Now that you’ve got your basic technique down, it’s time to experiment with colour. From golden bronze to warm, rich red – here are the smoky eye make-up palettes we love. 

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette

    Packed full of warm, buttery mattes and sparkling shimmers – this palette is perfect for a glamorous evening look.  

    Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette, £46 

    buy now

  • Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Pillow Talk Palette

    Charlotte Tilbury’s famous quad palettes are perfect for creating an easy smoky eye look. Pillow Talk is a favourite on the Stylist beauty team’s desk. 

    Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Pillow Talk Palette, £40 

    buy now

  • MAC Burgundy Eye Shadow Palette

    For a modern take on your classic smoky eye, this burgundy-toned eyeshadow palette looks gorgeous. 

    MAC Burgundy Eye Shadow Palette, £26 

    buy now

  • NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Eye Shadow Palette in Warm Neutrals

    If you want to try out your smoky eye technique without spending a fortune, this everyday bronze palette is a sure-fire winner. 

    NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Eye Shadow Palette in Warm Neutrals, £16 

    buy now

  • NARS Studio 54 Hyped Eyeshadow Palette

    This limited-edition eyeshadow palette is full of 12 highly pigmented matte, shimmer and satin shadows. 

    NARS Studio 54 Hyped Eyeshadow Palette, £56 

    buy now

  • Morphe 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette

    25 shades of rich coppers, deep bronzes and golden caramels make this pro-palette a major smoky eye winner. 

    Morphe 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette, £19 

    buy now

  • Laura Mercier Editorial Eye Palette Intense Clays

    For a classic smoky eye, this charcoal blue palette is perfect. 

    Laura Mercier Editorial Eye Palette Intense Clays, £38 

    buy now

  • Pixi X Heart Defensor Eye Palette

    Keep things modern by switching out your standard bronze, black and grey shades with pops of orange, pink and purple. 

    Pixi X Heart Defensor Eye Palette, £18 

    buy now

  • Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Eyeshadow in Fierce Safari

    Green eyeshadow looks gorgeous on brown eyes. Update your smoky eye with this quad of rich emerald-green shades instead.

    Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Eyeshadow in Fierce Safari, £43 

    buy now

Celebrity inspiration: the best smoky eye make-up 

Whether your eyes are hooded, almond, blue or green – we’ve rounded up some of our favourite celebrity smoky eye make-up looks, so you can use them as inspiration, next time you try one out irl. 

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    If you’ve got hooded eyelids, blend your eyeshadow up beyond your eye crease, so that it’s still visible when your eyes are open. 

  • Winnie Harlow

    Accentuate almond-shaped eyes like Winnie Harlow’s by adding false lashes and lots of sparkle.

  • Mila Kunis

    For a super easy smoky eye, copy Mila Kunis. Wash a soft shadow all over the lid and use a black eyeliner to create a smoky look. 

  • Naomi Scott

    Proving purple eyeshadow is definitely a thing, Naomi Scott’s smoky eye is dreamy. 

  • Zendaya

    For the ultimate cat-eye smoky eye, follow Zendaya’s lead. Blend your eyeshadow towards the outer corners for a feline look. 

  • Kerry Washington

    For a dramatic look, line the inside of your water line with black kohl eyeliner. 

  • Margot Robbie

    Take inspiration from Margot Robbie and update your smoky eye with reds, orange and purple tones. 

Image credits: Getty

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