How to Smoke - The Basics of a Natural Smoky Eyes

Putting natural and smoky together sounds like an oxymoron but it is done all the time in movies.  But, it is done all the time and the difference can result in looking either like this…

picture taken from San Diego Zoo. Please, visit the cute Panda cam
or this
picture taken from James Bond Skyfall
Don't get me wrong, I love pandas and they have the cutest smoky eyes on the planet! 

What makes smoky eyes difficult is, for one, the sharp contrast between the light and dark colors but how come in movies like Skyfall they look so sultry and alluring?

Because of the basic colors used.  I am not talking about the basic dark colors for the typical smoky eyes, I am talking about the eyeshadows.  The shadows that create the contour, depth, and dimension of the eyes which in turn act as guidelines for other colors.

What are the basic colors?  They are what some people find really boring.  The best example and the best matte palette ever, Viseart Basic Matte eyeshadow palette.


Why is a palette like this important? The colors provide the illusion of depth and dimension for every skin color from light to dark.  Yet, when the lights hits these shadows in photography and film, they are almost invisible because they just look like the natural contour colors of the skin.

As I mentioned they are also used as guides for the placement of other colors.  Like a hairstylist, a haircut has guidelines to cut the hair into a certain shape.  Of course there is some freestyle cutting going on but to get that shape right, cutting between the guidelines creates the look.  This is same for eyeshadows.  Using these colors as guides for other colors not only provides a direction on where and how to apply but it will also soften harsh colors making them more camera friendly.

Still not sure?  Let's go back to the haircut, you get a haircut and it is the basic shape.  You can keep it the way it is and it will be a natural style.  But you want to change it a bit, you color it. You curl it.  What you are doing is accessorizing the shape of it to hide its natural shape.

Now, think of the basic neutral colors seen above.  These provide the basic shape for the eyes (which is why these colors are so popular for bridal photos).  Using just these colors will keep your eyes looking natural but better.  Layer on top with other fashionable colors to change the eye look.  The basic shape of your eyes have been defined by the neutral colors while the fashionable colors accessorize them.  Get it?

If you don't, then see how my boring eyes turn into sultry eyes in my Skyfall tutorial on Into the Palette.




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