The classic smoky eye is a makeup technique that everyone should have in their arsenal. Not only does it give you an instant sultry, smoldering, rockstar vibe, it’s endlessly customizable with different eye color shades, textures, and finishes. Unfortunately, it can also be hard to master. Maybe it’s the fact that it involves so much blending—or that if you mess up, it’s hard to go back. Either way, we’re always looking for ways to make our smoky eyes quicker and easier.
Enter the newest addition to Charlotte Tilbury’s basically genius Instant Look in a Palette line: Smokey Eye Beauty. It has everything you need to create a dreamy, glowing, hazy look, and its color-by-numbers design makes it ridiculously easy to follow. It also includes some iconic Charlotte Tilbury cult classics: the bronzer from Filmstar Bronze & Glow, the two blush shades from Cheek to Chic in First Love, and Bar of Gold highlighter. Here, we walk through how to use the palette to create a soft, subtle smoky eye for day and how to amp it up for night.
Step 1: Start with a clear base
Apply foundation and concealer to even out your complexion, if desired. Above, Jinghan wears Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in 2 Fair mixed with an equal amount of Wonderglow for a more dewy finish, plus The Retoucher in 1 Fair under her eyes and around her nose.
Step 2: Prime and Brighten Eyes
Using a flat eye shadow brush like Chikuhodo GSN 9, pack the Eye Brighten shade from the Smokey Eye Beauty palette onto your lid with a pressing and patting motion. Start at the lashline and blend upward to the crease in a half-moon shape.
Step 3: Create a soft wing
With the same pressing motion, apply Eye Brighten to the outer corner of the eye in a wing shape. Use a fluffy blending brush, like Wayne Goss Brush 19, to blend the edges. Your wing should be shaped like a cat eye but without any harsh lines.
Step 4: Define the lashline
With a precision brush (we used Wayne Goss Brush 05 here), blend the Eye Enhance shade from the palette along your upper and lower lashline. This soft, warm brown shade creates subtle definition.
Step 5: Add some smoke
Drag Eye Enhance out towards your hairline to create a soft, feathered wing. Most of the product should remain on your lashline so that the wing has a subtle, smoky look.
Step 6: Finish with Eyeliner and Mascara
Apply brown eyeliner to your waterline and upper lashline. You can also use your precision brush to create a soft wing with the eyeliner. Curl your lashes and apply a volumizing mascara. Jinghan wears Rock ‘N’ Kohl in Barbarella Brown and Full Fat Lashes.
Step 7: Sculpt your cheekbones
Tap a contour brush, like Powder & Sculpt Brush, into the Face Bronzer shade. Starting under the apple of your cheek, swirl the brush in circular motions out toward to your temple.
Step 8: Apply blush
Lightly dust Face Highlight (aka Charlotte’s Bar of Gold highlighter) from the top of your cheekbone to the top of your browbone in a “C” shape. Use a small blending brush, like Wayne Goss Brush 18, to highlight underneath your brows.
Step 10: Add a nude lip
This soft, glowing look goes particularly well with a natural nude lip for extra polish. Choose a shade that flatters your skin’s undertones. Jinghan wears Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk underneath K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Nude Kate.
Add smoke for a nighttime look
Step 11: Create a smokey wing
Transitioning to nighttime is as easy as adding some extra smoke. With your flat eye shadow brush, pack Eye Smoke onto your lid in a soft wing shape. Use a precision brush to smudge Eye Smoke along your lower lashline.
Step 12: Enhance and highlight
Tap a fluffy blending brush into Eye Enhance and use it to blend the edges of your smoky wing until they’re soft and diffused. Tightline your eyes with black eyeliner (Jinghan wears Rock ‘N’ Kohl in Bedroom Black) and add another coat of mascara. You can also line your upper lashline with black liquid eyeliner, like The Feline Flick. Try laying the tip of the pen flat against your eye and using tiny strokes for better control. Use your precision brush to apply Face Highlight to the inner corners of your eyes for an instant eye-brightening effect.
Step 13: Add a gorgeous golden glow
Let your features catch the light by dusting the palette’s Face Highlight shade over your cupid’s bow, browbone, cheekbones, and the sides of your nose. Add your favorite neutral lipgloss for a polished lip look (Jinghan wears Lip Lustre in Ibiza Nights here).
Step 14: Finish with a dark, dramatic lip
For dramatic glamour, add a dark lip color, like a deep wine or plum shade. Jinghan wears K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Night Crimson over Lip Cheat in Bad Romance.