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How to Craft The Perfect Smokey Eye According to Your Eye Shape

The sultry smoky eye is not one-size-fits-all.
  • Clare Holden
April 19, 2024

When it comes to eye makeup, there are a handful of key looks you probably find yourself going back to over and over again. For us, it’s the classic smokey eye. The sultry look is versatile, flattering, and it can easily be adapted for different situations. Plus, once you nail your smokey eye makeup technique, the glam look is surprisingly easy to achieve—which is exactly what we want out of a go-to makeup look.

The catch: There isn’t just one technique. How you apply your smokey eye makeup should be guided by your eye shape. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Ahead, we’re sharing 10 smokey eye tutorials for different eye shapes to help you find the technique that best works for you.

Does a Smokey Eye Look Good on Everyone?

Smokey eye makeup is versatile, and the look can be adapted to flatter anyone. That being said, the application—and colors used—may look different from one person to the next. Ultimately, rocking a gorgeous smokey eye makeup look comes down to making the right adjustments for your eye shape and size, and that can take some practice. Once you learn what’s most flattering for your eye shape, your smokey eye (and all your other eye makeup looks) will instantly level up.

How to Create the Perfect Smokey Eye Look for Your Eye Shape

Adapting your makeup routine to complement your unique features is one of the best ways to ensure a flattering end result. So, get ready to amp up your eye makeup with our smokey eye makeup tutorials for each eye shape.

Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial for Hooded Eyes

Hooded eyes lack visible lid space—so if you find that your eyeshadow tends to visually disappear the moment you open your eyes all the way, you likely have this eye shape. Fortunately, a few small tweaks to your standard smokey eye routine can help ensure your hard work applying makeup doesn’t go to waste.

Step 1: Start with brown eyeshadow

Ultra-dark eyeshadows can make the eyes appear smaller and may visually weigh down hooded eyes. As such, we recommend swapping out the black eye shadow for a medium brown shade, like the L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Pain Au Chocolat. Use a fluffy tapered eyeshadow brush to sweep the color onto the entirety of your lid, blending it above the crease and just past the outer corner of your eye.

Step 2: Blend with a shimmer shade

Next, reach for a lighter-toned shimmery shadow, like the L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Quartz Fume. Using the same brush you used earlier, apply it just above the brown shadow. Then, lightly sweep your brush over the boundary where the two shades meet to create a blended, diffused effect.

Step 3: Highlight your brow bone

Using a detail brush, apply L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Paris Beach to your brow bone and inner corners. This little bit of light shadow will help to add brightness and make your eyes appear more open.

Step 4: Define with eyeliner

Once you’ve applied (and blended) all of your eyeshadow, line your upper and lower waterlines with a creamy gel eyeliner, such as the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner in Brown Denim.

Step 5: Finish off the look with mascara

No smokey eye makeup is complete without long, wispy lashes, so top off the look with a coat of the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Panorama Waterproof Mascara, which offers up to 24 hours of smudge-resistant wear.

Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial for Round Eyes

If you can see the whites around the top and bottom of your iris, then you likely have round eyes. Opting for smokey eyeshadow can give your natural doe eyes a more sultry vibe.

Step 1: Fill in the eyelid

Using a fluffy eyeshadow brush, begin your smokey eye look by sweeping a matte brown shadow all over your lid. Blend the color past your crease so it extends toward your brow bone.

Step 2: Add subtle dimension

Next, apply a shimmery brown shade onto your lid, bringing the color just up to your crease.

Step 3: Create a wing with eyeshadow

Lightly dampen an eyeliner brush and dip it into the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Matte-Ison Avenue. Then, use the point of the brush to line your upper lid, flicking the line outward at the corner of your eye to create a soft wing. Once dry, use a clean brush to blend the line and soften it—you should be left with a subtle, smokey cat-eye shape. Then, use a dry eyeliner brush to apply the same shade along your lower lash line.

Step 4: Accentuate your lashes

Complete your brown smokey eye by swiping a chocolate-toned mascara, like the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara in Brown, through your upper lashes.

Editor’s Tip: If you have round eyes and like to wear false eyelashes, cut the lash strip in half and apply it only to the outer corners. This easy hack will lift and elongate the shape of your round eyes and speed up the application process.

Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial for Small Eyes

If you think that a smokey eye look is too bold for your small eyes, we’re here to squash that notion. In fact, when done properly, a smokey eye can make your eyes look bigger. Read on to learn how.

Step 1: Start with a matte eyeshadow

Take a brown eyeshadow, like the L’Oréal Paris Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Matte It Up, and lightly sweep it all over your lid. Use a light hand and blend upwards to create a soft wash of color that coats the entire lid.

Step 2: Darken your outer corner

Apply a slightly darker-brown eyeshadow to the outer half of your lid, blending the color to your crease and toward your brow bone. Keeping the darker colors on the outer half of your eye can help make your eyes appear more open and, in turn, larger.

Step 3: Define your lower lash line

Use an eyeshadow brush to apply the same darker brown shadow to your lower lash line. Be sure to blend it well to create that smokey, diffused look you’re after.

Step 4: Create a wing

Next, grab a liquid eyeliner and trace your upper lash line. When you get to the corner, flick the line toward the tail of your brow to create a thin wing. You can keep it thin, or re-trace your work to create a thicker, more defined wing. (If you have trouble creating even winged liner, we recommend using the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Flash Cat Eye Waterproof Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner: it comes with a handy removable wing stencil for a precise application.)

Step 5: Create look-at-me lashes

Lastly, curl your lashes and apply a few coats of the L’Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Oversized Eye Washable Mascara Instant Volume to lift and lengthen your eyelashes for a wide-awake look.

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Downturned Eyes

Downturned eyes typically have an almond shape with a slight downward tilt at the outer corners. Opting for winged eyeliner and blending your eyeshadow upward can help visually lift the outer corners of your eyes.

Step 1: Create a nude base

Start by applying a light pinky-nude shade to your entire lid and the inner corners of your eyes.

Step 2: Add depth

With a fluffy eyeshadow brush, blend a medium brown shade from the middle of your lid all the way to the outer corner. At the corner, sweep the shadow in an upward motion to visually “lift” the eye.

Step 3: Create a soft wing

Take a dark brown shadow and pack it onto the outer corner of your eyelid. Use a smaller blending brush to buff the shadow upward, creating a soft wing shape.

Step 4: Trace your wing with liner

Once you’ve finished applying your eyeshadow, grab a liquid eyeliner (we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner in Brown). Line your upper lash line, then create a wing at the outer corner to “frame” your eyeshadow wing. You can skip lining your lower lash line—for this smokey eye look, we want all the focus to be on your upper lids.

Step 5: Finish with mascara

Finish off your smokey eye with a few coats of L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Washable Mascara. Again, we suggest keeping the mascara to your upper lashes only to help accentuate the lifted effect you created with shadow.

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Almond Eyes

Almond eyes are, well, almond-like in shape: elongated rather than round, with a slight angular quality. A lot of different makeup looks can flatter this shape, but this is one of our favorites:

Step 1: Apply a matte shade to your lid

Start your smokey eye look by applying a matte gray shadow to your lid. Blend the pigment upward, stopping just beneath your brow bone.

Step 2: Add shimmer

Next, use your finger to tap a metallic gunmetal shade onto your lid, bringing it just up to the crease.

Step 3: Highlight your inner corner and brow bone

Use a small eyeshadow brush to pat a shimmery silver shadow onto your inner corner and above your crease. Make sure to blend this highlight well with your gray shadow to create a seamless gradient of smokey color.

Step 4: Line and define your eyes

Line your upper and lower lash lines with the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last, Up to 24HR Pencil Eyeliner in Grey for a balanced look.

Step 5: Complete the look

Add the perfect amount of dramatic volume with the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Panorama Washable Mascara.

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Monolid Eyes

Monolids don’t have a defined crease, which can make it challenging to follow smokey eyeshadow tutorials that aren’t created with your eye shape in mind. But don’t let that make you miss out; a smokey eye is a great way to enhance and flatter your eye shape. Here’s a tutorial for getting the look when you have monolids:

Step 1: Swap eyeshadow for eyeliner

Our best tip for creating a smokey eye when you have monolid eyes is to use eyeliner, not eyeshadow. This allows you to be super precise with your application—before you smudge it out. Use a waterproof eyeliner like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last, Up to 24HR Pencil Eyeliner in Aubergine or Ivy so that your eye makeup will last throughout the night.

With the pencil, draw a thin half-moon shape above your eye. The outline should start at the base of your lashes and curve up, creating that crescent shape, as if you were defining a natural crease. Fill it in before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Blend the eyeliner out—quickly

Next, take a fluffy eyeshadow brush and use it to blend the curved edges of the shape you drew. It’s key to work quickly here because the waterproof eyeliner dries fast.

Step 3: Bring it all together with a matte eyeshadow

Once the edges are blended, take a neutral eyeshadow like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Matte It Up, and apply it where your eyeliner meets your skin. Blending the shadow on top will give you a more seamless, smokey look. Then, continue blending your shadow outward and upward to create the subtle shape of a wing.

Step 4: Add some smoke under the eye

Use the same brush and eyeshadow to smoke out your lower lash line. Finish off the look with winged eyeliner (if you want) and a coat of L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Panorama Washable Mascara.

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Upturned Eyes

Upturned eyes have a similar shape to almond eyes, with a more noticeable upward angle at the outer corners. This shape is a gorgeous canvas for many different makeup looks, including the smokey eye.

Step 1: Line your eyes and smudge it out

Line your eyes with a gel pencil eyeliner in a dark shade. (Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner in black, brown, or taupe gray.) Drag it across your upper lashes, starting at the inner corner and going outwards, making a slight wing in the outer corner. The wing should slant upwards, as if following the shape of your upturned eyes.

Don’t worry about your wing being perfect because you’re going to smudge it out. Our liner recommendation above has a built-in smudger you can use, but a small brush, finger, or even cotton swab will work, too. Use your tool of choice to blend and blur the wing and the line along your lashes.

Step 2: Repeat on the lower lash line

Next, take the pencil and line your lower lash line from the inner corner to the outer corner. Again, smudge out the liner.

Step 3: Smoke out the liner with shadow

Grab an eyeshadow palette with a mix of dark tones, and use a shade that coordinates with your liner to go over the lines you just drew with shadow. This will help add that true smokey effect to your look.

Editor’s Tip: If you like a sharper finish to your smokey eye, use a liquid eyeliner to add a sharp cat eye to your look. Simply draw it right on top of your pencil eyeliner and shadow. The smoked out shadow and the sleek liner will make for a great contrast.

Step 4: Add the finishing touches

With a clean eyeshadow brush, apply highlighter to the inner corner of your lid, then finish everything off with a few coats of the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Panorama Washable Mascara.

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Close-Set Eyes

Close-set eyes are, as you might expect, close together. You can use makeup to play up this feature or create the illusion of eyes that are further apart. Smokey eye makeup can be a good option for the latter. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Play with various shades of eyeshadow

Take an eyeshadow palette with a mix of light and dark shades, and select a light, medium, and dark shadow. With an eyeshadow brush, blend your lightest shadow onto the inner third of your eyelid. Apply your medium shadow to the next third of your lid, blending where the two shades meet.

Step 2: Use darker tones to lift

Place the darkest shadow on the outer corner of your eye, blending where it meets your medium shade. Then, at the corner, blend the shadow upward and outward to create a subtle, lifted look.

Step 3: Complete the look

Line your eyes with pencil eyeliner, focusing it only on the outer third of your eyes—this will give you a more wide-awake look. Apply a few coats of L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Panorama Washable Mascara; then you’re done!

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Wide-Set Eyes

This may go without saying, but wide-set eyes are spaced farther apart. To play up your eye shape, we recommend using darker shadows—which means a smokey eye will be your perfect look.

Step 1: Define the eyes with dark eyeshadow

Blend dark eyeshadow across your entire lid. You can use one shade or blend two together to give your look extra depth. Buff the shadow(s) past your crease to get a smokey effect.

Step 2: Add dimension

You can always opt to keep your smokey eye completely matte, but layering on a little shimmer can take things to the next level. Stick with dark colors, like the L’Oréal Paris Brilliant Eyes Shimmer Liquid Eye Shadow Makeup in Royal Onyx. Take your finger and lightly dab the shadow onto your lid, focusing it in the center.

Step 3: Coat your lashes

Complete your smokey eye makeup by adding some volume to your lashes with the L’Oréal Paris Air Wear Air Volume Mega Mascara, Lightweight Mega Volume Washable.

Smokey Eye Tutorial for Deep-Set Eyes

As the name suggests, deep-set eyes are set deeper in the eye sockets, creating the illusion of a more prominent brow bone. For this shape, it’s all about really making your eyes stand out.

Step 1: Stick with matte shadows

Shimmer-packed shadows can make eyes look deeper set, so we recommend playing with matte shades instead. Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Matte-Ison Avenue and apply it only to the lid. Then, use a matte bronzer to blend the edges of the shadow, bringing it outwards.

Step 2: Lengthen with a wing

Next, use the black L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner to draw a wing at the outer corner. Then, create a line along your lash line, connecting it to your wing. You can also tightline your eyes to make your lashes look fuller.

Editor’s Tip: If you have hooded, deep-set eyes, draw a batwing shape to create the illusion of a perfect wing when your eyes are open.

Step 3: Lift your lashes

Finally, open up your eyes with a few coats of the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Washable Bold Eye Mascara.

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