16 Unique Takes on Smoky Eyes
When we think about smoky eyes, we think of dark, sultry makeup in 50 shades of gray. Or perhaps variations of brown — but this is usually where things end. It’s time to open our minds and see the rainbow because any eyeshadow color can be used to create a gorgeous smoky eye.
If you’re a black smoky eye devotee, you don’t need to abandon the inky shade completely. You can incorporate it with other colored shadows. Once you get comfortable with things, you can try using multiple shades of one color or opt for a rainbow look by mixing multiple shadows.
While you’re experimenting, it is also time to think beyond your usual smoky eye shape. There are countless liner shapes and the same goes for smoky eyes. From long and angular to soft and blended, you can create infinite looks with the same shadows just by playing around with shape.
Are you ready to break out of your comfort zone? Grab your eyeshadow palettes and brushes and scroll down to see some truly unique smoky eyes.
Good as Gold
Jazz up your brown smoky eye with strategic pops of gold metallic shadow. Apply a little rose gold to your inner corners and along your brow bone.
Cat Eye 2.0
Put a spin on the classic cat eye by smudging the tails. Go au naturel when it comes to your inner corners to balance out the look.
Play With Purple
A royal purple shadow is intimidating when you're used to black, but be bold and give it a try. Purple is one of those colors that makes all eyes pop. The streak of liner on the lid and the surrounding smoky shadow will have you reconsidering your approach to your regular evening look.
They Do Match
Forget that style rule about not mixing black and brown. It works when it comes to your wardrobe and your makeup. The shimmering brown on the inner part of the lid gives the eye great depth.
Take It to the Top
Makeup rules are meant to be broken. The one about not applying eyeshadow up to your crease should be when it comes to a dazzling look like this. Wear the gold shadow up to your arches and your eyes will look supersized thanks to the sultry gradient.
There is plenty of smoke in this look, but not a speck of black. The lids were left bare, so the brown shadow above the crease really makes them pop. Skip mascara to get a similar look. If you're feeling bold and you want to bleach your brows, too, go for it.
If you're wearing this look and people call you a green-eyed monster, it should be taken as a compliment. The emerald green shadow is toned down as it extends toward the corners thanks to a bit of gray.
The Julien Macdonald Spring 2017 show made a case for mixing contrasting colors. A gold highlight on the inner corners of the eyes brought some drama to a gray smoky eye.
No Raccoon Eyes
Are you worried that your smoky eye will make it appear like you have two black eyes? Steer clear of the black shadow and try shades of brown. A bit of chocolate brown shadow on the outer corners takes this makeup into sultry territory.
On the Outside
Can't get enough of your beloved black shadow? This look focuses it on the outer corners of the eyes. The opaque blue-gray shadow on the rest of the lid gives the look a mod 60s vibe. The natural nude lip and defined brows keep things modern, however.
Get Some Gloss
It isn't just the shadow color you should think about. The finish is also an important consideration. A shimmery smoky eye is a fail-safe option, but a glossy one is made for those who cannot get enough of full face strobing. Use some Vaseline to achieve the effect.
Silver, white and blue give you an icy look that no black shadow ever can. The combination is perfect for channeling your inner snow queen, but you can still get away with the look when it isn't winter.
Break the Rules
Remember what we said about playing around with placement? The smokiness here is concentrated in the inner corners of the eyes with the black shadow extending up to the brows. When you first try it, it may feel wrong, but resist the urge to smudge the shadow over your entire eye area.
Play up your peepers with a bold blue. This cobalt blue is a few shades lighter than navy. It's perfect for the times when you don't want your makeup to be too intense.
Flip that smoky eye upside down a la this seafoam one. Instead of applying the color on the lid, it is concentrated below the lower lash line and on the outer corners.
The Right Angle
"Blend, blend, blend" is the phrase that you hear over and over in smoky eye tutorials. With this blue and black combo, you can put your blending brush down. The angled look has a more defined shape on the outer corners.