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Smoky eyes makeup tips and tutorial

Tricia Cusden / 01 December 2015 ( 18 March 2019 )

Follow our tutorial and guide to smoky eyes to create a subtle but dramatic look. It's a timeless make-up classic that's really easy to create and apply and is perfect for making a lasting impression.

Woman wearing smoky eye make-up
All eye make-up is improved with a frame of well-shaped eyebrows at the top and well-defined eyelashes at the bottom. Photo: iStock

The very term smoky-eye conjures up the image of a sultry temptress - doesn't it?

And as the words 'sultry' and temptress' are not often associated with women over a certain age, you may think that this is not a look for you.

Well - yes and no! I would say that an older woman can get away with a nice subtle version of a smoky eye but maybe you need to steer clear of anything too vampy.

Eye make-up masterclass in words and videos

Start with an eye primer

Older eyelids can be discoloured, oily and also crêpey in texture. An eye primer is the way to correct all of these problems.

LFF Eye Prime is flesh coloured which neutralises any discolouration and will form a nice, smooth, oil-free surface for the shadows you will apply.

Primers for the prime of your life

Decide which colours you will use and make sure you have two tones of that colour

Say your chosen colour is grey, you will need an eye shade like LFF Charcoal and a paler grey/brown (Taupe).

If you want to use brown tones then you'll need a dark brown (Cocoa), and mid grey/brown (Taupe)

Or you could choose green or purple - just remember to have two eye shadows - one dark and one mid tone.

Always use matte shadows

This is very important on an older eyelid as it is far more flattering than anything shiny or glittery. LFF offer six matte shades.

Start at the lash line with the darkest colour

Using a wedge brush push the shadow into the base of the eyelashes. This will make your eyelashes look thicker. Smudge the line slightly with an ear bud or a shadow brush.

How to make the most of make-up brushes

Using the mid-tone colour, cover most of the eyelid

Use a shadow blending brush and work the shadow into the eyelid (on top of the primer). Use circular movements to ensure that it is fully blended.

Now mix the darker and mid tone together

Apply into and above the socket line and on the outer half of the eyelid.  Ensure that the shades are fully blended, preferably using a clean shadow brush - you should not create a striped effect.

Apply a line under the lower lashes

Use the mid-tone again and a wedge brush, and smudge with an ear bud. Don't apply too heavily but try to balance the darkness of the shading on the eyelids.

How to make the most of your eyebrows and eyelashes

Add the finishing touches with Brow Shape and mascara

All eye makeup is improved with a frame of well-shaped eyebrows at the top and well-defined eyelashes at the bottom. 

I would also suggest that for a special occasion you curl your lashes first so that they look extra glamorous.

Top tips for great looking eyebrows

Choose a really soft and pale lip colour to complete the look

Beware of adding (say) a vibrant red with your smoky eye makeup or you might look a bit scary! So just keep the cheek and lip colour light and fresh and you will look dramatic rather than drama queen.

My final bit of advice would be to try these ideas before any special event - that way you can decide just how smoky you want to go.

I would suggest that you steer clear of excessively dark and heavy eyelid treatments but using these techniques you should be able to create a nice sultry 'femme fatale' effect.

Glamorous party looks


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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