There's something to be said about a perfectly-blended, smoky eye. Next to a statement lip, a sexy, smoldering shadow adds an instant edge to an otherwise minimal makeup look. It's also super versatile and able to flatter every eye shape and skin tone. Though we love the classic black and gray color scheme, the effect can be toned down for daytime wear by subbing in brown and taupe shades. We teamed up with Eyeko cosmetics founder Nina Leykind to find out how to get the look exactly right, and rather than breaking out a spread of shadow palettes and blending brushes, Leykind showed us a shortcut using two of the brand's Me and My Shadow sticks ($19 each; sephora.com) in the Taupe and Chocolate shades. Who knew getting the perfect smoky eye could be so easy? Keep reading to see our step-by-step GIF guide to creating the look on yourself.
With the shadow stick in Taupe ($19; sephora.com), Leykind applied the product all over the lid as a base, then blended it out with the flat-edged brush on the opposite end. "You can even use your finger to pat it in and diffuse the color," she says.
Picking up the Chocolate shade ($19; sephora.com), she worked the deep brown color into the outer portion of the crease, ending about halfway in. "You want to open up the eye, so don't take the color all the way across the crease," she advises. "The key thing is to build it up rather than apply too much, because it's always easier to add more than to take away." Start one layer at a time, blend, then build up the intensity as needed. You can also add a touch of black shadow or the Charcoal hue ($19; sephora.com) to intensify the appearance.
Leykind then flipped the shadow stick to the brush end to blend out the colors, and drag the product along the lower lash line. "As long as you're blending it out with the brush and keeping it soft focus, you won't go wrong," she says. Keep your eye shape in mind as you're blending to create the most flattering look possible. If your eyes are close-set, emphasize your outer crease and add a highlight on your inner corners to create the illusion of space. Dark colors can make small eyes appear even smaller, so avoid going too heavy on the application, and pull the shape out on the outermost edge to make your eyes appear larger. Once you're finished, pick up a cotton swab dipped in eye makeup remover to clean up any smudges.
Repeat each step on your other eye, then top off with a little liner and mascara if needed. "If you're using brown tones, you can even pair the look with a red lip to give off a classic '70s or '80s-era glamour look," Leykind adds. "And a nude lip is always flattering if you're using darker shadows, or want to keep the focus on your eyes."