Smokey eye makeup is a true classic that’ll see you through everything from party season to weddings and days when a statement eye is just necessary. But if you’ve been sweeping your lids with the same blend of smokey shadows over and again, it’s time to mix things up. We’re talking pops of colour from deliciously dark teal to bright orange, swapping greys for copper tones or a wash of rainbow shades, and changing up the shape or placement of your shadow so that even hooded eyes won’t hide your handiwork. Keep scrolling for 11 incredible smokey eye makeup ideas now.
Take the classic smokey eye up a notch by maxing out the lighter shade with a high-shine metallic. The Urban Decay Heavy Metals Palette (£43) is packed with metallic powders perfect for party eyes—the Glamrock shade is ideal for re-creating this look from the Brandon Maxwell runway.
Who says smokey eyes need to be dark? Brighten things up with a blend of gold and zesty orange, as seen at the Hermès shows, then add the smoke by smudging black or dark brown kohl around the outer corners and lower lashline. Try the By Terry Crayon Khol Terrybly Color Eye Pencil in Brown Secret (£24), a blendable pigment that’ll stay put.
If you have hooded eyes and rarely get a chance to show off your super smokey blending skills, take a tip from the Jill Stuart runway and sweep things up and out for a smokey wing. The brow’s the limit, so push it as boldly as you dare. For extra control try a soft precision eyeshadow brush like the Urban Decay E207 (£17).
If dark grey shades trend to leave you looking washed out, warm things up with copper tones instead. Blend russet reds with bronze, copper and gold for a seductive switch that’ll suit all skin tones. You’ll find the perfect collection of colours (and more besides) in the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Palette (£56).
The Alberta Ferretti A/W 17 show took smokey eye makeup to the next level by placing hot red smudges in the centre of the lid and finishing up with a touch of gold in the inner corners. It’s fresh and fierce, and we love it. To re-create, use a wet applicator to press MAC Pigment Colour Powder in Copper (£16) onto your lids.
If a pop of colour isn’t quite enough, go full rainbow. Swap the traditional light-into-dark blend for clashing shades, finishing up with a metallic third hue under the lower lashes. A highly pigmented palette like the Morphe 35 Colour Smokey Eye Shadow Palette (35S) (£24) will have everything you need to experiment.
For a seriously cool edge, try smoking murky greens and shades of teal. They’re the perfect alternative to black and grey and promise a double take. We love the offering in the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in The Rebel (£39), complete with a highlighting powder and three trend-led takes on teal.
Why stop at the crease when you can smoke the whole eye socket? On the Armani Privé runway, models sported matte eyeshadow taken all the way up to the brow. If the look feels too harsh, soften things a little as the colour creeps closer to the eyebrow, using a powder like Beauty Bakerie Flour Setting Powder in Translucent (£20).
This one is easy. After applying your smokey shadow as you please, give the look one final flourish with some glitter pressed at the outer corners. Try a glitter primer like the Nyx Professional Makeup Glitter Primer (£8) to give your sparkle all-night hold.
For a touch of the unexpected, skip mascara on your upper lashes and overload the bottom set instead. If you’re worried about a classic smoky eye looking dated, this is the fashion week–approved way to add a modern edge. For chunky lashes, try a full-throttle mascara like the Eyeko Rock Out & Lash Out Mascara (£19).
For a fresh take, try leaving the lid bare to create negative space, and concentrate your smokey efforts above the crease. A creamy formulation will make this easier as you’ll have more control over where it goes. We love Touch in Sol Metallist Liquid Foil & Glitter Shadow Duo in Talia (£20).