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Get This Actual Real-World Look: Smoky Eyes

By Amalah

Happy Monday, everybody. Say hello to Sarah.
Hi, Sarah.
Today Sarah is going to demonstrate one of the most popular looks out there for evening eye makeup: the smoky eye. It’s sexy, it’s dramatic…and it’s also easy to screw up and go right past “smoky” and straight on to “raccoon.” Or possibly: I went to bed with my eye makeup on. Two days ago.
But! That won’t happen to you anymore, if you follow Sarah’s step-by-step How To Do Smoky Eyes Correctly guide, which I will now quit talking about and just post already.
First up, the products!
For the smoky eyes look, I use Bobbi Brown shadow in Bone (light shade) and Charcoal (black), along with a soft black eyeliner pencil (any will do, this one is Urban Decay Pocket Rocket), and black mascara (Lancome Definicils).
This is a more dramatic look than what I wear everyday.
Sweep the neutral eye shadow over your whole eyelid, lash line to brow.
Line your lid along the lashline with the soft black pencil. It doesn’t have to be neat because you are just going to smudge it. Make the line thicker or thinner depending on how much “smokiness” you are going for.
You can also do this with shadow, and in any color you like. I’ve done it with lots of colors – brown, navy, and plum are good for my eye color (light brown). Personally I like the glitter that’s in my eye pencil, but if you want to leave that to the teenagers, go for it.
Smudge the line with your finger. I start from the outer corner and go in, then from the inner corner out. Touch up as needed.
Here’s what it looks like after smudging.
Next, line the bottom lid with the soft eye pencil. TREAD LIGHTLY or you’ll look like you’ve been rubbing your eyes. Smudge with your finger.
If you want to, use a charcoal shadow along the lash line. I do this when I want a little definition and DRAMA.
Apply mascara.
You can stop here if you’d like, or……
Here’s the controversial bit – line the INNER lash line with the soft pencil. Your eye doctor will advise against it, but I think it looks HOT. I’ve done it with or without this step, it just depends on what you’re going for.
Voila. Smoky eyes.
(And voila. HOTNESS. Thanks, Sarah. Am off to go dig up my black eye pencil and try this myself now, because hey! It’s Monday morning and I’ve got a long day of nothing ahead of me, so why not look super sexy for it?)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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It’s that easy? Really? I dunno…I was expecting something that was more, um, complicated. (I am the queen of adjectives. I rock.)
This step-by-step stuff has arrived perfectly in time, thank you to both Amalah and Sarah! My 30th *gasp* birthday is this coming weekend, and my best friend is coming to visit which means par-TAY(am I too old to say that now? Scratch that, It’s more like I’m too much of a dork, ha) so yay! I get to try out Going Out Type makeup! Whee!


I am seriously impressed, both by the makeup tips (I also had no idea it was that easy!) and by how well those how-to photos came out.
Would black and charcoal work for someone with blue eyes and fair skin, or would that be too harsh? Can you achieve “smoky” with browns?


I think smoky with brown hues looks great on blonds, but it comes off a little heroin chic on me. I usually do a smoky eye with eggplant colors and it works really well for me.

Sarah in LA
Sarah in LA

Stephanie – yes, you could definitely do this with brown. I think black could work too. Try out any color you like and see how it looks! The good thing about this technique is you can tone it down or ramp it up as you wish. Just play around with it, it’s fun!


Hey Sarah (and the gang)
Great demo, thanks for the explanation and great shots! One thing, looks like Urban Decay has dc’d it’s Pocket Rocket in black and Sephora doesn’t sell it either. Any suggestions for substitutions or ideas where you can still get the PR?


This is totally f’ing hot. Also, Sarah has perfectly shaped eyebrows.

Sarah in LA
Sarah in LA

That sucks that the Pocket Rocket is discontinued….another one I’ve used is Estee Lauder Artist’s Pencil in Soft Smudge Black (or brown). And that one comes with a handy smudger if you don’t want to use your finger. Whatever you end up getting, just make sure it’s soft. Urban Decay has a shadow called Oil Slick (black w/glitter) that gives good results but it’s messier to work with because it’s powder.