I don't think the below image really does a smoky eye justice, but we'll run with it for now because I think I've exhausted everyone's patience for photos of ME with my "Taylor-made" eyes.
Okay, so let me start with a disclaimer: there are SO many ways to do a smoky eye. I know two. There's the bullshit way, with black eyeshadow, or the way I prefer, with black eye pencil. With the pencil, it's waay less messy, better precision... anyway, without further ado...
STEP ONE: Let's assume you have already put down your base of primer, foundation and powder (yes, you must powder the eyes). Rub a tonne of black eye pencil onto the top of your hand. I mean a tonne. Use a small brush - I have been using a lip brush, but a small eyeshadow brush, provided it's firm not all soft and blendy-like, will work also - and get a TONNE of the black stuff on the brush before applying to the lid. Press, rather than dragging it across the skin. It will apply colour with more depth, give it more staying power, and ... reduce saggy eyes. Haha. Work from the outer corner of the lashline inwards towards the nose, and then up to the crease of the lid. While applying, gently pull the eyelid flat from the eyebrow. That sounds mental, but you have to get colour right into the lashline because gaps look retarded. I'm serious.
STEP TWO: Right now you should have an eyelid that's completely black. Extreme, I know, but it's all part of it. Following the natural curvature of the eye orbit, extend the black colour over the crease. Use a blending brush for this - you don't want to add any more colour.
STEP THREE: Apply steps one and two to your other eye. Check your symmetry CONSTANTLY in the mirror. Trust me, black is a bitch to get off, so it's best to get it right from the start.
STEP FOUR: Depending on the shape you want, you can wing the edges of the colour out. You have to be careful with this though, because if you have "droopy eyes" - it's just an eye shape, it has nothing to do with aging or saggy skin, so don't freak out - winged-out smoky eyes are a killer. To be safe, just follow the natural eye shape and you pretty much can't go wrong.
STEP FIVE: Use the original brush (in my case, the lip brush) to create a soft line along the bottom lashline. Start from the centre and work outwards, then without adding more colour to the brush, work from the inner corner to the centre. If your line gets too thick, blend with a dry cotton-tip. The thickness of this line is a personal thing - I'm always told by tutors to make min thicker but you know, I want smoky eyes, not "I just went swimming" eyes.
STEP SIX: Pick a colour, any colour. Okay, not any colour... here's my recommendations:
Blue Eyes? Grey or silver.
Brown Eyes? Purple. But be careful, brown-based purples (yes, they do exist) can lead to eyes looking bruised. MAC's Violet Pigment is an excellent purple for a smoky eye.
Green/Hazel Eyes: Again, I'm going to say purple. Heather has the most intense hazel eyes ever, and purple looks amazing on her. As does a really vivid green. Blue-based green, not yellow, for the same reasons as brown-based purple. Fuck, are you lost? I'm lost.
ANYWAY. Apply your chosen colour with a soft blending blush. Again, pressing rather than dragging, because otherwise it will wipe off. Because the pigmentation of the colour is going to be so much less than the black, you can afford to extend the colour out further than the black. If you've gone with grey, silver, or gold, you can blend it carefully all the way to the browbone. Carefully.
STEP SEVEN: Waterlines. Eek!! I hate waterlines. But they are HUGELY important for this look, so do a good job. Top AND bottom. They've got to be dead solid or it's just not worth it. Use a black eye pencil and don't leave any gaps. Set it with some black eyeshadow. Beauty is pain - this is the most uncomfortable part, but it has to be done.
STEP EIGHT: Apply loads of mascara. The "look" is chunky lashes, but I'm not a fan, so apply your mascara like you would with a neutral eye. Favourites: DiorShow. Smashbox Bionic. L'Oreal Telescopic. It has to be black! Apply to top and bottom lashes with care. Do the pull-up-from-the-eyebrow thing again, so you get the mascara all the way to the roots. ESPECIALLY if your lashes are light.
You're pretty much done. Be sure to groom your eyebrows impeccably.
The smoky eye is best worn with pretty pink cheeks and either nude or pink lips - depending on what colour you used to "smoke out". Soft pink lips are especially cute with grey eyes. Either way, don't go teaming a smoky eye with strong lips, unless you're working the corner of K Road tonight. And even then, you're probably best to go without, because isn't that just more laundry to do in the morning? Anyway, I think that's another post.
If, like me, you found this post incredibly difficult to keep up with, let me know. My instructional skills definitely need honing.
Peace and love, yo.