The secret to a perfect smoky eye: Make-up artist reveals her top two tips in simple tutorial

·4-min read

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Rose Gallagher, 30, is from Birmingham and has been a make-up artist for 10 years. She has 37,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts make-up tutorials, tips and tricks.

When someone hears that I am a make-up artist, one of the first things I get asked about is how to create the perfect smoky eye.

For me, there are two components to this: practice and brushes.

Even if you have a quick play for five minutes before you take your make-up off each day, you’ll build your technique bit by bit.

Also, I’m a huge believer that a few key brush shapes can do all of the hard work for you.

As lots of us are spending more time at home at the moment, now is a great time to get stuck into the make-up that has been sitting unused at your dresser.

Here are a few products I’d recommend, but by all means if you find something similar from your current make-up bag, these steps will work just as well.

1. MAC Eye Shader Brush 239 | £21 from MAC Cosmetics

MAC 239 eyeshadow brush
MAC 239 eyeshadow brush

This flat brush is ideal for pressing colours onto the lid. Use this to pack colour all over the eyelid, up to the point of a natural crease.

I tend to recommend these three key MAC brushes because I got mine back in 2010 and they’re still going strong now – that’s 10 years of regular use and regular washing.

Read more: How to cheat a well-rested make-up look in 5 minutes with 5 products

2. MAC 217 Blending Brush | £21 from MAC Cosmetics

MAC 217 blending brush
MAC 217 blending brush

A fluffy brush is truly the key to mastering any kind of eyeshadow look.

If you have one brush to your name, make it one in this shape. The soft, fluffy end of this brush is ideal for buffing out the edges of eyeshadow and creating a blended, diffused shape.

3. MAC 219 Pencil Brush | £21 from Mac Cosmetics

MAC 219 pencil brush
MAC 219 pencil brush

For smaller details, your pencil brush is ideal. You can use this underneath the lower lash line to add extra shape to your smoky eye, along the lash line to create the illusion of eyeliner, or in the corners of the eyes to add a little extra smoulder without overpowering the eye.

4. Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in Desert Haze | £40 from Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette in Desert Haze
Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Eyeshadow Palette in Desert Haze

When it comes to smoky eyes, I love Charlotte’s eyeshadow palettes because she takes the guess work out of everything.

On the back of each palette, you find a handy guide showing you where to place each colour.

This particular palette is great because each shade is matte, but unlike lots of matte shadows on the market, they are effortlessly easy to blend.

The great thing about using matte colours is that they’re subtle enough for a soft daytime look and create a lovely sultry finish for the evening.

5. Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen | £12 from Lookfantastic

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen
Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen

One of my biggest annoyances with eyeliner is when they scratch; nothing will ruin your make-up quicker than a watery eye.

The Pixi pencils are incredibly creamy, gliding tug-free over the water line or lids. You can even buff this out using a brush and use it to create your entire smoky eye shape

6. Il Makiage Icon Mascara | £23 from Il Makiage

Il Makiage Icon Mascara
Il Makiage Icon Mascara

Il Makiage is a new brand on the UK radar, fresh from New York. Their whole ethos is that make-up is designed to be seen and enjoyed, so this mascara will really deliver on making the eyes pop. The brush on this mascara is coated with lots of small and long bristles to catch each hair on the lash line.

7. Hourglass tinted brow gel | £27 from Cult Beauty

Hourglass tinted brow gel
Hourglass tinted brow gel

I always find eyebrows to be a powerful addition to any eye make-up.

If the eyes feel too heavy, a soft brow will balance things out.

Equally, if the eyes are soft, a polished brow will help to create more of a groomed finish. This brow gel does everything in one – tints, grooms and uses tiny little fibres to add volume. This is especially great if your brows feel scarce, because the tint captures every single hair, even the fluffy ones you don’t quite see normally.

You can keep up with Rose’s make-up tips on her Instagram account @rosegallagher or listen to her podcast ‘Beauty from the Heart’ on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all your usual podcast platforms.