Let’s make-up with Bina Khan: The smokey eye 101

So easy to get wrong, but also so easy to get right.

June 16, 2012

Without doubt the most asked for tutorial is how to do a classic black smokey eye. So easy to get wrong, but also so easy to get right. Follow these (hopefully) easy-to-follow steps to help you smoulder your way to smokiness!

(Before we start, do get onlineand review previous “Let’s make-up” columns to refresh your memory about techniques.)

1) Define your socket line (please read column “Understanding your eye shape” to work out how to do this) with a delicious terracotta, making sure to keep the socket intense with the colour fading toward the brow bone.

2) Highlight your brow bone with a bone colour. Its best to get this out of the way now otherwise you will spoil the intensity of the black by dropping this pale shade on to it later.

3) With an applicator cover three quarters of your lid with a rich, chocolate brown. Use the open face of the applicator flat against your lid; you are looking for sweeping rather than poking motions. This will ensure that your shadow is distributed evenly. Make sure that the meeting point with the terracotta is well blended and to stop at the socket line.

4) Give yourself a rich black outer corner, again using an applicator. The shadow should be the richest nearer your lashes and should fade as you approach your socket line. Also make sure it is darker towards the outer edge of your eye and fades as you come inwards. Again, make sure that the black and brown meeting point is well blended.

5) Give yourself a rich black liner. Then dampen a cotton bud (or a brush if you feel more confident) and gently blur the edge of your liner. The more the blur, the smokier the eye.

6) Using what's left on the cotton bud (or brush) and make the underneath of your eye - under your lashes - a little smoky too. Use your medium terracotta to blend this line out.

7) Put on lashings of kajal and mascara.

8) Using a small brush, pick up more of your bone coloured highlighter and clean up the inner corner of your eye.

Hey presto, smokey eyes!

Top tip: If you have powdered the concealer under your eye adequately, you should be able to brush away any fall out without damage to your base. If you are uncertain, add a little powder to your brush and be timely. As it falls, brush it away before the heat of your face causes it to get absorbed.

Top Products:

Terracotta (for your socket):

“Taupe” by Bobbi Brown

“Soft brown” by MAC

“Casino” by Nars (excellent as a contour powder as well)

Chocolate brown eye shadows:

BR308 by Etude (the best brown ever)

“Brun” by MAC

“Coconut Grove” by Nars


“Charcoal” by Bobbi Brown

“Intense Black” #13 by DMGM

“Carbon” by MAC

“Pandora” duo by Nars


"Shroom" by MAC
"Shell" by Bobbi Brown

Bina Khan is a make-up artist, photographer, skin technician and writer who owns a salon and photography studio in Karachi.

Published In The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2012.


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