If I'm on a time crunch, you can bet money on the fact that I won't be attempting to create a smoky eye. It's touted as one of the most classic makeup looks of all time, the "perfect Satuday night" beauty choice, but easy? That adjective never seemed fitting to me, until I chatted with celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli and got his incredibly simple breakdown on how to do smoky eye in five steps.
You'll still need to put in some practice to get the blending technique down, but this simplified tutorial has helped me graduate from my usual swipe of beige shadow. Keep scrolling to check out his tips, plus the InStyle-approved products you'll need by your side.
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Step 1. "Be sure to start by using a primer on your eyelids to keep the product locked in all day and to prevent creasing throughout the day," says Scibelli. He also suggests taking the primer along the lower lash line so that the product grips to the under-eye area, as well.
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Step 2: Grab your eyeshadow palette and apply your base eyeshadow color along your top eyelid, starting from your lash line and working upwards to your crease. "If you're going for a dark smokey eye, your first base color should not be the darkest shade," notes Scibelli.
He suggests going for a charcoal gray or a deep metallic. "For added definition, apply this same eyeshadow color along your lower lash line with a pointed eyeshadow brush."
Laura Mercier Ponytail Eye Crease Brush
Step 3: Use a brush to dip into the darker smoky eyeshadow color. Tap off excess product and apply this to your crease. "I typically apply the crease color starting from the outer corner of the eye, and into the crease, three quarter ways in, using a ponytail shadow brush," says Scibelli. "Use the brush in small, circular motions while adding the product from the outer corner of the eye moving inwards in the crease."
If your smoky eye looks too heavy, Scibelli says to grab a clean brush and use it to blend the existing product. Finally, take the color you applied as the base and apply a small amount of it ot the center of the lid to create dimension.
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Step 4: "That smoky, sultry effect isn't complete without adding your dark eyeliner," says Scibelli. Whether you prefer liquid or a pencil, he says to start from the outer corner of your eyes, working your way inwards. "For that Sarah Jessica Parker tight-lined look, you can apply a matte pencil liner to the inner rims of your eyes."
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Step 5: You might need to clean up the look a little bit after application. "A smoky eye can easily get messy, so keep pointed Q-tips and micellar water near by," says Scibelli. He uses this to clean up any fallout and to even out the eye lines. "Another way to 'clean up' your smoky look is to blend a highlighter under your brow bone, above your crease color, so that you have a clean transition of colors. You can always pop some highlighter to the inner corners of the eyes, for that extra spark. Finish off with your favorite mascara and you're ready to go!"