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How to Create a Subtle Smokey Eye

how to create a subtle smokey eye

Typically, a tutorial for smokey eye makeup shows you how to create a dark, dramatic eye look with charcoal, black and steely gray shades. But really, a smokey eye is more about creating soft drama and definition, rather than using specific colors. It’s an intentionally imperfect look that is smudgy and soft around the edges. At IT Cosmetics, we’re all about the subtle smokey eye. And we’re going to tell you how to get the look in just a few simple steps!

Products you’ll need to get the look:

• Your favorite neutral eyeshadows. Our must-haves are Superhero No-Tug Shadow Sticks, which we’ll be using for shade recommendations throughout this article.

• A dual-ended eyeshadow brush (with a fluffy end for buffing and a tapered end for smudging)

Liquid eyeliner (optional)

Volumizing mascara

Prep & Prime

When creating a smokey eye—or any eye look for that matter—it’s important to use color-correcting makeup on your eyelids to cancel out any discoloration.

• Apply a light warm beige like “Courageous Cream” across your entire eyelid by sketching the shade onto your eyelids, then buff it out with the fluffy end of your eyeshadow brush.

• Next, apply a gold tone like “Gallant Gold.” This creates a subtle base for the liner you’re about to apply.

Line & Define

• Dip the smudger end of your brush directly onto a medium brown tone like “Tenacious Tawny.” Dust this along your upper and lower lash line.

• If you want to intensify the look a bit, you can layer a deep brown shade like “Fearless Umber” on top of the color you just applied to your upper and lower lash line. For the lower lash line, lightly press the smudger brush into the root of your lashes, then softly blend it out with the fluffy end of the brush.

• Sweep this same deep brown shade halfway up your lid, making sure to blend it into your base shade.

• Optional Step: If you want to take your smokey eye look to the next level, you can use a black liquid eyeliner to do winged eyeliner or a cat eye. Be sure to keep the brush as close to your lash roots as possible for a seamless, no-skip glide. Press lightly to create a thinner line and add slightly more pressure to create a thicker line.

See how easy it is to draw winged eyeliner!

Add Dramatic Volume to Your Lashes

Complete your look by applying several coats of a volumizing mascara to your upper and lower lash line. And just like that, you’ve mastered how to create a smokey eye makeup look that’s subtle, but still guaranteed to attract attention!

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