So here's a really basic smoky eye:
|Pistol, Verve, and Blackout|
The three colors I happen to use are not widely available - Pistol is exclusive to this palette; Verve is otherwise available only in the Rollergirl palette; and Blackout is otherwise available only in the 15th Anniversary palette. I will link you to Temptalia's review of Naked 2, as she has good swatches and is very thorough in identifying possible dupes. Otherwise, I would just recommend choosing a dark shade, a medium shade, and a light shade, in whatever color family you choose. Some people like silvers/grays, some like browns, some like crazy-colored smoky eyes in purple or green... it's up to you.
I'm going to outline the steps, since I get asked often about how to do a smoky eye. There are lots of tutorials out there, and not everyone does them the same way. I think it's valuable to have a variety of methods available because people have different eye shapes! I've never found a tutorial that suited my eyes and eventually just went and asked a makeup artist to do one on me in person.
- Apply a primer. I like UD Primer Potion
- Using a firm, flat eye shadow brush, pat on Blackout on the outer half of the lid. I use a light hand for this step, since I don't want it too dark right away. I also use the tip of the shadow brush (or you can use a small crease brush, not too big or fluffy) to pull the Blackout into and along the crease a bit. I also used a smudge brush (small and pointed) to pull Blackout along the outer corner of my eye and only slightly onto my lower lash line, just at the corner.
*Note: This is what I'm wearing to work, so I didn't do much with my lower lash line. If I were doing a special occasion smoky eye, I'd probably line my lower lash line too. Among other things.
- Wipe off the flat shadow brush and use it to apply Pistol to the other half of your eyelid, starting at the middle.
- Here's the important part - where the Pistol and Blackout meet, that's where you REALLY need to blend. There shouldn't be a defined line where one shadow ends and the other begins. That's why it's called a smoky eye.
- This is an optional step, but I like what it does - after I'm done blending the middle, I'll go back and apply the individual colors with a stronger hand at the respective outer and inner corners of my eye.
- To smooth out the crease a bit (because you don't want sharp lines in a smoky eye), I used a SMALL fluffy brush to apply Verve just above the crease.
- Finish off with black eyeliner and mascara (I used UD's 24/7 pencil in Perversion and BeneFit's They're Real! mascara).
That's it! I know that looks like a lot of steps, but that's because I'm wordy. Basically it's: Apply dark color, apply light color, then blend.
And as I said earlier, the blending is what makes the smoky effect. For good blending, you need good brushes, and you need good eye shadow that is smooth and easy to work with. (When I say you need "good eye shadow," that does not mean "expensive eye shadow." Wet 'n' Wild's Color Icon palettes and singles, for example, are SUUUUPER good. So are NYX's eyeshadows.)
I hope this helped someone out there :)