Double Photo TestMuch in the fashion of my ‘Eyeliner Tips for Eyeliner Noobs’ post I thought I’d rustle up a feature for smokey eye schmucks from one cack-handed eyeshadow wearer to another – you there? If you know your outer-v’s to your inner corner/lid/crease blends then feel free to share your wisdom in the comments below but if you’re still scratching your head at the back of the Eyeshadow 101 class giggling at the incessant use of the word ‘crease’ then this one’s for you. Head’s up: all my product picks lean to the more neutral side of proceedings (durr), but if you fancy whipping some colour into the mix then you go gurl. So I’ve penned down my ‘if I can do it, anyone can’ top tips for a fuss-free, no technique required smokey eye.

One shade does it all. The oldest trick in my book is the one shade all over the lid jobbie; that when blended out look as though you’ve gone to the bother of pairing up colours and that’s your faux smokey eye sorted. Certain formulas, especially ones that have a duochrome finish, are puuurfect for this – MAC’s Soba, NARS’ Ondine and Burberry’s Pale Barley are all shades that come out to play when I’m in the mood for some lazy lid work.

A MAC 217 will be your best friend. Unfortunately my makeup life pre-MAC 217 is well documented by many pictures on Facebook of yours truly sporting lids of a solid semi-circle colour after attempting complex shadow looks using crappy foam applicators. It wasn’t pretty. When the 217 entered my life, that all changed. Dramatic, but true. Anyone can master a subtle smoke in their crease with this in their toolbox.

The creamy pencil trick. Now this is a huge cheat – heck, it doesn’t even involve eyeshadow – but when I’m really not in the mood to get to work with my 217 then I just scribe on some liner. Sticking to the outer corners of the top and bottom lashlines I draw it on then blend up and out in the corner with my digits to ramp up the definition. Repeat and blend till you reach your desired level of smoke.

Not back to black. Still lagging behind at back of eyeshadow school, I can find black a little intimidating when it comes to eyes. Now there’s a time and a place to dig MAC’s Carbon out, but for shadow scaredy cats MAC’s Smut is a much safer option. Dark enough to sex-up a look, but with a softer grey, almost purple tone that adds something different to my usual bronze affair. Did I just say I like a purple eyeshadow? I need to sit down…

Cream eyeshadow + your fingertip. After initially shunning creamy lid offerings, I now sit firmly in the cream shadow camp. They are awesome. Favourites include the Estée Lauder Stay-On Shadow Paint in Chained* and Clinique’s Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes in Fuller Fudge*. Ridiculously easy to use and all your need is your digit to blend them to your crease and beyond. The messier the better.

Still giggling at the word crease? Yeah me too.

 *PR Sample

  • Lottie

    I need a 217 and Smut in my life, they will be mine come payday!

    Lottie x

  • ta
  • ta

    AAAH thanks for this! It’s amazing!


  • Kelly N

    A while back Into the Gloss did a smokey eye tutorial with just one Loreal eye shadow, easiest smokey eye ever! I find the key to any good eye look is just blending which is where a 217 comes in as you said!

  • Romila Marie

    Pale Barley! So much want! Lovely eye makeup look, Anna!


  • gemma alexander

    I need a 217 in my life, whenever i go to pop the cherry it’s always out of stock!

    Do you know of a more secluded MAC store that doesn’t have a que outside all day?

  • Luciie

    What colour is the scandaleyes liner & urban decay 24/7 liner?

  • tor bennett

    I very rarely wear eyeshadows, but when I do (other than my Naked Palette) I always reach for cream shadows… they’re ideal for eyeshadow dummies like me!

    Tor @ That’s Peachy Fashion & Beauty Blog

  • Silvia Quirós

    soft and natural, great look

  • Gemma Antonia

    You look gorgeous with smokey eyes! I can’t go on a night out without a smokey eye, it’s definitely a must!

    Gem x

  • Snezhana

    Do you use your fingers with estee lauder one as well? It works with maybelline ones, but i heard that EL has a slight differ texture? What do you say?) xx

  • Louisa

    I always spend ages trying to achieve the perfect smoky eye and then it ends up looking messy anyway so I might try out these tips, thanks! Especially the one about only using one colour!

    Louisa’s Notebook

  • Just a Spoonful Of Sugar

    Very interesting post! I really need a 217!

  • thebeautymist

    The Burberry eyeshadow and the Estee Lauder Shadow Paints look stunning:) x

  • Maddy Cane

    I really want to try a 217, they look like a miracle! xxx

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD


  • El

    Synthetic brushes work best with creamy products and real hair ones with powders and really blending in eyeshadows is key! Use a matte brown in the crease to create a dramatic socket and a shimmer in the inner corner to brighten up your eyes. If you loathe liner, use a black or dark brown eyeshadow on an angled brush and apply very close to the lashline. Brown is always less harsh (and best for beginners) than black, so if you’re doing a smokey eye for the first time use a bronzy colour so mistakes aren’t as obvious.
    Hope that helps! X

  • Marit

    Love this look!!

  • Imogen

    Great tips! going to try some of these tomorrow :)

    Imogen – A rendezvous with you

  • Holly Gardiner

    These are some fab tips – I wish I had a MAC 217, but I’ve always blended with my finger as best I can haha…

  • sof

    Very interesting and original post anna! :)

  • rosie_cumberlidge

    I’m in a bit of an eyeshadow rut at the moment so this has really helped. I need some good brown go to shadows so I’ll look in to some of these as an investments. I really think I need the 217 brush as well, I’m putting off buying it but it does sound really worth it!


  • Leah Louise
  • Lucinda La Wing

    Am I missing something? Why would anyone be giggling at the word ‘crease’?

  • Klaudia Chwedyna

    good make up
    please fallow Me ! ;*

  • Claudia

    I loved reading this, and your pictures are great :)

  • Tree Mushroom
  • Pippa Jones

    You look amazing with a smokey eye!


  • Nicola

    The No7 Blend and Contour brush is a good MAC 217 dupe if you’re not near a MAC counter/want a cheaper option! Xx