7 Smoky Eye Mistakes You Might Be Making

Ah, the elusive smoky eye. While some are able to pull off the sultry yet sophisticated shadowy style, others are left looking like they were trying out for the part of "lead raccoon" in a local play. What is it about this hazy, sooty look that, for some, makes it ridiculously difficult to perfect? Back in the day, if I overdid it with the smudger, I could just play it off as "em." But sadly that time has come and gone. Surely I can't be the only one guilty of making certain smoky eye mistakes, right? I'll pretend you agreed.

So if you've tried meticulously following along to every YouTube beauty tutorial, read the instructions for your smoky eye shadow palette more times than you can count, and you still end up looking either lopsided or uber goth, don't give up hope just yet. As it turns out, there might be a few common smoky eye mistakes that you don't even realize you're making. Thankfully, these mistakes can easily be fixed and you'll be rocking that seductively sooty look in no time. So if you want to keep your eye shadow game on point, check out these top smoky eye mistakes.


You're Accentuating Everything

Though the smoky eye is definitely a solid choice if you're going for a dramatic look, you shouldn't make your eyes compete with the rest of your face. So if you're doing a bold eye, go easy on your lips and face. Glamour's makeup expert and beauty assistant Amber Kallor wrote that, "a smoky eye looks prettiest when it pops out against minimal makeup." The last thing you want is for all the hard work you put into your smoky eye to go unnoticed simply because you went heavy on the bronzer and red lipstick.


You're Overworking Your Eyeliner

If you grew up in the '90s, then you're probably very familiar with every girl's go-to make up accessory: black eyeliner. Though it can be a key element in creating your smoky eye, it can backfire if you don't know how to apply it properly. Troy Surratt, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Surratt Beauty, told Health that heavy liner on the top and bottom of your lash line can actually make your eyes look smaller. Make sure to stop and check as you're applying to avoid a heavy look.


You're Using The Same Brush

Even if you're a newbie to the world of cosmetics, you probably know that blending is an important step in achieving a smoky look. But there is such a thing as over-blending and over-smudging. Makeup artist Krystyn Johnson told Women's Health that, "the purpose of blending is to achieve a gradient effect with soft, sexy edges—but using a brush with residual shadow on it will only add more color in places you don’t want it." Keep multiple brushes (with different purposes) on hand to avoid this.


You're Ignoring Your Brows

While it can be tempting to just focus on the sultry masterpiece you just created on your lids, be careful you don't ignore your face-framing eyebrows. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard with plucking. You just need to pay as much attention to them as you do the rest of your face. Makeup artist Susmta Patel told Total Beauty that whether you prefer to fill them in or pluck the strays, groomed brows are an essential part of a smoky eye.


You're Forgetting Primer

Eye shadow primer is a great tool to have in your make up arsenal, but it can be easy to overlook this miracle product. When creating a look as dramatic as a smoky eye, you can't afford to ignore little details, like getting the most out of your primer. Style Caster's beauty editor Augusta Falletta, wrote that, "using a primer will help to absorb any oils on your eyelids, your eye shadow will grab onto the primer, and stop the likelihood of creasing." Ensure full coverage by putting the primer anywhere you'll be applying color.


You're Limiting Yourself

When most people think of the classic smoky eye, shades of intense black, warm browns, and sultry grays come to mind. But guess what? You can actually do so much more than just sticking to the basics, which can sometimes come off as too harsh. Celebrity makeup artist Wendy Rowe told Allure that you can have just as much fun by using jewel tones and other deep colors for a softer look. Luckily, there are plenty of palettes out there to ease you into the world of color.


You're Wearing The Entire Palette

You might think that because your shadows came in one palette, they can all go together. Unfortunately, that's not usually the case, especially when it comes to doing the whole smoky thing. Patel told Total Beauty that you should be "wearing no more than three shades at a time: medium on your lids, a lighter one near your brow bone and, a dark one as liner." So do try and resist the urge to wear the entire collection at once.