Best shadows for a smokey eye

Smokey eyes is one of those make up classics that is not only a must have to master, but also a great way of doing your make up quickly. The point of a smokey eye is that it isn’t super precise, as long as you smudge everything out and go for a more intense look closest to the eye. Over the years I have gathered a few shadows that I love best when the urge strikes me to create a smokey eye. This is them.

smokey eyes eyeshadow favorites

Best eye shadow for a smokey eye

Some of the shades I’m about to show you I have had for years and have been well loved. Some aren’t even available anymore, but that doesn’t make them less perfect to create that sultry, smokey eye. Most of these shadows are dark, but not black. I am not a big fan of black eyeshadow and you can use other shades to create a smokey look. It simply makes for a more subtle smokey eye or a more edgy one if you’d like.

Make Up Store Microshadow | Jubilee


Sadly this brand is no longer available in The Netherlands, but in Scandanavia this brand is one of the high end make up brands to look out for. Jubilee is the darkest shade I will be showing you today. It is a black, smudgy eyeshadow with a goldish green reflect running through it. This is best applied over a black cream base that is applied messily. Layer this on top and you have that perfect sultry look with a twist.

MAC Alluring Aquatic Extra Dimension | Sea Worshipbestsmokeyeyeshadow3_zps1fwdjhpl

My favorite way to create a smokey eye is with this blackened khaki shade. I bought this along with Black Pearl eyeliner from the same collection, but both are now permanent to MAC’s line. I simply smudge some of the liner along the lash line and layer this over it and blend it out towards the brow bone. Only two products needed and a completely look in and of itself.

Make Up Designory | Taupe & Espresso


Meet my very first matte eyeshadow quad. I bought this some time ago together with one of their lipsticks. And I love these to create a brown smokey eye. Since these are matte eyeshadows that are really easy to blend (the quality on these is insane!), these can easily be build up and smoked out on their own without a base underneath. Just place Espresso all over the lid and use Taupe to smoke and blend and you’re all set!

Benefit Creaseless Cream | Skinny Jeans


This sadly discontinued gem by Benefit has been a longstanding smokey eye favorite. I believe this may very well have been the first shadow that helped me to master the technique. It is a deep shimmery grey cream that is easy to blend and stays put while being not too intense. In short, it was a beginner’s favorite, but I tend to forget about this product in my stash.

NYX Jumbo Pencil | Slate


Forget Black Beans: my preference for a dark NYX jumbo pencil to help that smokey eye come along is Slate. Remember I don’t like black? How about an intense slate grey instead? I prefer using this as my cream base as it is quick and easy to use, easy to smoke out and blend and most important of all: it stays pliable until set with powder, which gives you a lot of play time. Not the easiest to use if you’re first starting out, nor one to use on its own, but definitely a winner for intensifying any look.

Benefit Smokin’ Eyes Eye & Brow Kit


I remember buying this in Harrod’s and it was part of Benefit’s line for years and years. As you can see this is another one of those well-loved palettes. The dent in that middle shade just goes to show how much I loved this. Whenever I traveled, this would be the only palette I would bring and it came with all the essentials to keep your brows and eye look in check. The two grey shades, combined with the black eyeliner in this little kit, also make for the best smokey eye.


Jubilee | Sea Worship | Taupe | Espresso
Skinny Jeans | Slate | Smokin’ Eyes

Surely, Maaike, I hear you think, you might say these are great, but what about some swatches huh? As you can see these shadows all lean towards the deeper, darker spectrum shade wise. I still like a more subtle smokey eye, which is why my favorites are the more subtle shades here, but then again I like changing things up and create something edgier from time to time as well.

What is your favorite smokey eye shadow?

8 responses to “Best shadows for a smokey eye”

  1. If I need to do a dark smoky eye then my choice is Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette. It’s pigmented, longlasting, easily blendable, it doesn’t crease, and all other mandatory things the eyeshadow has to be/do.

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