How to Perfect the Smokey Eye Makeup for All Eye Colours

How to Choose the Best Eyeshadow for Every Eye Color

How to Perfect the Smokey Eye Makeup for All Eye Colours


This is the ultimate guide to choosing an eye shadow that works best with your colors, so gone are the days where your only choices for natural eye makeup are brown or black.

We have over 30 mineral eye shadow shades, giving you the luxury of playing with a multitude of colors and textures to create the effortless and chic look you want. However, with all of these options, it may be difficult to choose the most complementary eye shadow color.

Today, we are taking the guesswork how to create a beautiful makeup look that enhances your eye color, so follow along for some simple guidelines.

Looking at a color wheel will help you pick the best eye makeup shade to make your eyes stand out. You want to choose a shade that is on the opposite side of the color wheel because contracting hues will draw attention to your eyes.

Additionally, using eye shadow with texture (i.e. a metallic or shimmery finish) will help mimic flecks of color in your eye. Now that you know the basics, keep reading to find out what makeup shades will look best with your eye color.

Ladies with brown eyes, you have the most versatile eye color! Therefore, you can wear almost any color on your eyes. If you want to bring out the clarity in your eyes, try deep purple or bronzy golds. To make your brown eyes look lighter, try a mossy green eye shadow.

For eyes that dazzle, choose eye makeup in cool hues charcoal or silver. Lastly, add a touch of intensity to any look with black.

You can either blend a little black eye shadow into your crease or if you have dark brown eyes, use black eyeliner on your waterline to add extra definition.

Brown Sugar PurePressed Eye Shadow Triple

Onyx Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner

Merlot PurePressed Eye Shadow Single

Orange is the opposite of blue on the color wheel; therefore, if you have blue eyes, try eye shadows with orange undertones such as rich browns and terracottas.

Additionally, gold, bronze or shimmery champagne eye shadows will bring out the gold highlights in your eyes. One thing you to remember is black eyeliner may look too harsh on blue-eyed lovelies because you tend to have lighter skin tones.

To get the same sultry look with a while complimenting your skin tone, try brown or bronze eyeliner instead.

Canvas Smooth Affair for Eyes

24-Karat Gold Dust

Dark Suede PurePressed Eye Shadow Single

If you have green or hazel eyes, red is the opposite shade on the color wheel.

Since red isn’t the best color for a natural look, we recommend using eye shadows in the pink family or even darker hues with reddish undertones bronze, rust and mahogany.

You can also opt for eggplant-color eye shadow to help the green or gold highlights in your eyes really pop. Similar to your blue-eyed sisters, trade your favorite black eyeliner for a less harsh shade charcoal, silver or even purple.

Steamy PurePressed Eye Shadow Single

Double Dazzle Highlighter Pencil

Petal Smooth Affair for Eyes

Gray-eyed ladies, you have one of the most unique eye colors. Your stormy eyes look best paired with eye makeup that enhances their misty shade. Choose eye shadows and liners with steely hues, such as silver, mink gray, or icy blue.

Black/Grey Eye Pencil

Smoky Quartz Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner

Smoky Grey PurePressed Eye Shadow Single

Need help deciding which of our eye shadow shades will look best on you? You can virtually test all of our products on yourself with our Makeup Room tool.

Also check out our post about how to keep your eyeshadow from creasing. Once you’ve picked the perfect color to make your eyes pop, share pictures of your dazzling eye makeup look with us on Instagram.

Make sure to tag @janeiredale and #BeautyWithBrilliance.

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7 Chelsea November 8, 2016


Smokey Eye for Beginners: Step by Step Guide to Smokey Makeup

How to Perfect the Smokey Eye Makeup for All Eye Colours

RELATED: 3 eye makeup looks every woman can master

What Makes a Smokey Eye Look

Smokey eye makeup, as the name implies, consists of dark eyeshadow and eyeliner blended into lighter eyeshadow to create a “smokey” effect. This can range from a smooth and soft blending of shades to just-slept-in-my-makeup levels of smudging.

Usually done with blacks and greys, the smokey eye has evolved into a technique to be used with all sorts of colours: warm tones, cool tones, rainbow colours, you name it. As long as your colour choices create the contrast needed, the sky’s the limit.

Nowadays, smokey eyes are highlighted with a pop of light metallic or shimmery eyeshadow in the inner corner of the eye. This elevates the look and adds more drama and contrast, making it a staple among influencers and celebrities a.

Where Did Smokey Eyes Come From?

The dark, smudged eye makeup can find its roots in Egyptian culture. Egyptians incorporated cosmetics into their everyday lives. Using Kohl and powders from crushed mineral stones, they lined their eyes to both beautify themselves and ward off eye infections and evil spirits.

In pop culture, it was Elizabeth Taylor's iconic look from the film Cleopatra (dark blue eyeshadow with bold black eyeliner) that put smokey eye makeup on the map. Other silver screen stars, such as Jane Fonda in Barbarella, Olivia Newton-John in Grease and Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns made it an essential part of their on-screen characters.

In later years, the s of Beyonce, Keira Knightley, and Jennifer Lopez would go on to being known for their stunning signature smokey eyes.

Celebs Who Rock The Smokey Eye Look

Kim Kardashian-West shows off her cool grey and brown smokey eyes for the promotion of her Glam Bible (Smokey Volume I) eyeshadow palette.

Keira Knightley has made dark smokey eyes her signature look, giving the actress an edgy vibe to her overall attire.

Jennifer Lopez showed how a classic smokey eye makeup look is done: neutral tones paired with a nude, glossy lip.

Actress and dancer Jenna Dewan adds her own flair to the smokey eye look by creating a cat-eye wing with the shadows, rather than the liner.

What You’ll Need To Create Your Own Smokey Eye Look

To properly achieve the smokey eye look, you’ll need the following:

  • Eyeshadow primer or concealer
  • A pencil or gel liner in a dark colour, such as brown or black
  • An eyeshadow palette with the following: 
    • A middle eyeshadow shade to act as a base colour
    • A darker eyeshadow shade for adding depth
    • A light shimmer or metallic eyeshadow to highlight

Doing Your Own Smokey Eye Makeup

The look may seem daunting, but the smokey eye is actually an easy eye makeup look once you know the tips and tricks behind it. Follow our step-by-step tutorial to getting that coveted signature smokey look. 

1 – Prepare your eyes

Use eyeshadow primer or concealer as a base on your eyelid. This ensures that the eyeshadow will last and stay put throughout the day.

2 – Cover your eyelid with your middle shade

Your middle shade will be the foundation of the eye look, so make sure to pick a colour that complements your darker shade. For a more subtle look, you can opt for neutral browns and beige.

3 – Line upper lid with a dark eyeliner pencil close to your lashes and smudge

When lining your eyes, make sure to get between your lashes for coverage without gaps. Don’t worry about how perfect the liner is since it’ll be smudged and blended with the rest of the eyeshadow.

4 – Use the darker eyeshadow shade over your liner and in the crease and outer corners of your eyes

For classic smokey eyes, you can use black, grey, or navy. If you’re looking to do a more colourful look, jewel tones deep red, purple, green can work.

5 – Add a light shimmer on the inner corner of your eye for contrast

When choosing a colour for the light shimmer, try to pick one that complements the other colours from the look. Gold or silver can suit more neutral smokey eyes, while light colours pink, orange, or blue can suit more colourful looks.

Watch makeup artist Lisa Eldridge as she demonstrates how to do a smokey eye that can be worn in both daytime and night:


All things considered, the smokey eye is essential for that star-quality glamour in any type of look. Its versatility ranges from sultry to rebellious depending on the colour and level of messiness. And best of all, it’s easier than it looks, making it low-effort but just as chic.

Tons of celebrities have rocked this iconic makeup look over the years, and we’ve seen it in every colour you can imagine. Some have even incorporated the look into their identity, making it their go-to makeup for every red carpet appearance.

So now that you know how to achieve the look for yourself, it’s time to get out there and turn some heads!

RELATED: Makeup Tutorial: Tessa Thompson VMA Awards Makeup Look


The Best Eyeshadow Colors To Make Hazel Eyes Pop

How to Perfect the Smokey Eye Makeup for All Eye Colours

Bring out the gorgeous green and brown tones in your hazel eyes and hypnotise the world with your eye color sparkle!

The fabulous thing about hazel eyes is you have double the shades to choose from. You can use colours to bring out the green tones or colors that will enhance the brown – double the color means double the pop!

Play around with the different tones in your eyes and work out which ones you want to bring out. Browns, golds and greens will instantly enhance the richness of hazel, bronzes are dreamy for bringing out the warmth and purples provide a gorgeous contrast to your eye colour.

Discover Charlotte Tilbury’s range of eyeshadow products to complement your hazel eyes and create the perfect mesmerising makeup look…



Charlotte’s sensational Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in Mona Lisa is a wisteria-chocolate bronze that brings out the gorgeous warmth of hazel eyes. The shade cleverly pulls the golden tones forward and makes the dreamy green and beautiful brown tones stand out.


For the perfect daytime look, wash this dreamy, creamy shadow over your eyelid for a soft wash of mesmerizing bronze that instantly brings out your eye color sparkle. Use the Eye Smudger Brush to run the magic shade under your lower lash line for added smoulder!


Instantly dial up your look by applying the eyeshadow using an Eyeshadow Blender Brush to amp up the color! To complete your smoldering eye look, use Rock ‘N’ Kohl eyeliner in Barbarella Brown to define your eyes.

Shop Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in Mona Lisa


Golden eyeshadow shades will also bring out the warmth of your eyes and Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil in Golden Quartz is the perfect sultry golden color to complement hazel, as it highlights the gorgeous green, brown and golden tones.


For super easy eyeshadow on the go, you can’t get much quicker than a Colour Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil. Simply scribble it all over your eyelid and blend for the easiest smokey eye in seconds – it’s perfect for a desk to disco makeup look.


Use this magic eye pencil with Full Fat Lashes Mascara to instantly amp up the look. Apply lashings and lashings of this best-selling mascara to instantly add volume, curl and definition to your eyes! You can also apply the eyeshadow along your lower lash line to create a sultry, smouldering finish.

Shop Colour Chameleon in Golden Quartz

How to Get the Perfect Smoky Eye in Five Minutes Flat

How to Perfect the Smokey Eye Makeup for All Eye Colours

Here at Byrdie, we live and die for a fabulous smoky eye—especially when makeup artists Patrick Ta and Sarah Tanno are behind them. Sure, it might not be a look we rock on the regular, as we tend to opt for natural makeup more days than not—but that by no means diminishes our obsession.

You see, the smoky eye is a classic for a reason: It's foolproof in that it's perfect for just about any occasion, and is super versatile so you can go the signature black, gray, or brown route—or you can shake things up and incorporate color.

Either way, it's a look that always wows, which is why we think everyone should learn how to master it at some point. Because we know it can be a daunting eye look to execute, we took the liberty of breaking it down into seven, super simple and straightforward steps.

So long as you follow them and give it some practice, you're bound to be a master in no time. 

Scroll through to learn how it's done. 

The last thing you want is your shadow to fade, smudge, or crease over the course of a few hours—which trust us, totally happens—so priming your eyelids before anything else is essential.

It's also especially important to do if you have oily skin, as it will help keep your shadow from turning into a slippery mess.

These are a few of our favorite primers, all of which just so happy to be under $10. 

First things first, you want to go in with a neutral, medium-brown shade one or two shades darker than your skin tone.

Sweeping this shadow all over the lid and into the crease will make the rest of the blending process more seamless and give your high-voltage hues something to adhere to.

Here are 10 neutral eye shadow palettes we swear by, all of which have a variety of killer base shades to choose from.

An instant way to intensify your look right off the bat is to use a black or brown eyeliner to line your upper and lower lash lines.

This helps fake the appearance of having thicker lashes, while also edging up the look altogether.

If you have sensitive eyes that are prone to watering, you can 100% skip your bottom lash line and just do the top to be safe. It'll still look smoky and amazing.

Once you've applied your eyeliner of choice to your upper and lower lash lines, take a small pencil brush and gently smudge it outwards for a softer, sultry effect. This makes the liner not look so stark, which is what we're going for. 

After getting your base shadow and eyeliner to a place that you're happy with, you then want to go in with your main shadow, whether it be a classic black or bronze, or an electric blue or purple.

Simply pack this shade all over the lid and blend, blend, blend until there are no harsh lines. You can also trace a small amount on your lower lash line for an added intensity that brings the whole look together.

Just make sure to blend until everything is seamless. 

What's more: To give it a subtle cat-eye vibe, blend outwards and upwards in the outer corner where you'd normally do a wing. 

This step is completely optional but is a super simple way to amp the finished look. Just take your favorite eyeliner—liquid, cream, pencil, you name it—and smudge it along the base of your upper lash line using subtle upward motions. 

No smoky eye could be complete without a few generous coats of mascara. We'd recommend using one that's waterproof or smudge-proof to ensure it doesn't disrupt the rest of your makeup and stays put for hours. On the hunt for a new favorite? These are 11 formulas Byrdie beauty editors always recommend.