How To: A Silver Smoky Eye That Sparkles

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I usually go fairly light on makeup in the summer. But come winter, I’m ready for more dramatic looks. Probably the only bonus of the cold, dry air is that makeup stays put forever--so why not pile it on? Smoky eyes are tricky for a lot of people, but with the addition of a forgiving metallic finish, and using a fat liner as a base, it’s basically foolproof.

Start by priming your eyelid: wipe off any excess oil and apply the primer of your choice. 

This is important to not only get bold color deposit, but also to keep your shadow from "sunsetting," aka getting all muddy. I use NYX Studio Perfect Photo Loving Primer in Clear. It doesn’t burn and it blends seamlessly with the rest of my makeup.

eye primer after

Primed and ready. 

Now tightline your upper and lower lash line. 

Why do this first? Especially for beginners, tightlining can be a watery affair. Start with a soft, waterproof formula, working it between your lashes to cover the rims of your eyes. 

tightline lash line


Next, break out that fat liner! 

I used NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Slate. It’s creamy, long-wearing, and highly pigmented. You’re going to line your entire eye, then cover and shape your mobile lid. It doesn’t have to be perfect--you’ll define it with black shadow and blend a lighter shadow on top.

metallic eye makeup

If you don’t typically wear a lot on your eyes, this WILL feel weird to do.

With a small pencil brush, apply a black shadow (I used Noir from the Sleek MakeUP i-Divine Au Natural Palette) to the outer corners of your eyes, taking care to tap off extra pigment. 

Then take a clean blending brush and work it into the lighter shade using light, circular motions.

blending eye shadow

Adding in the black shadowing. 

metallic eye shadow

No harsh lines here.

With a clean blending brush, dab on the tiniest amount of light brown shadow. This is going to be the transition between the darker shadow and your brow bone. Blend it like your very existence depends on it.

brown eye shadow

Light brown transition zone, blended in for dear life. 

Beginning at the inner corner of your lid, use a sexy metallic shade--I’m using L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow in Liquid Diamond--to blend lightly into the black shadow.

Then sweep it along the lower lash line, blending to smudge the darker liner into a softer line.

silver metallic eye shadow

Concentrate the metallic shade over the tops of your mobile lids. 

Curl and apply a few coats of mascara--maybe add some falsies if you so desire--and your eyes are just about done. 

With a clean cotton pad and some remover, carefully wipe away any shadow fallout.  

false lashes after

Look at those lashes. 

Grab a clean brush and lightly sweep a highlighting shade under your brow bone and in the inner corners of your eyes, then dot on some glitter liner. 

I’m using Essence Crystal Liner in Twinkly Starlight. I love it because it’s clear and opalescent glitter, not silver, so it catches the light but doesn’t look odd when it’s not lit up.

silver glitter liner

Downcast eyes showing the highlight and clear glitter liner. 

silver smoky eye side view

Smoky silver eyes, all done. 

I initially wanted to use Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips in Smoky for the liner, but I was really unhappy with the texture and pigmentation. That said, I can’t describe how much I love L’Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Liquid Diamond: it has a warm purple tone to it, so it looked really banging with my hazel eyes. 

I paired the look with Rimmel Tea Rose Lipstick, adding just a touch of it on my cheeks.

silver smoky eye

My smoky side-eye. 


silver makeup swatches

L-R: Sleek Noir eye shadow, NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Slate, L’Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Liquid Diamond, Essence Glitter Liner in Twinkly Stardust

  • Everyone has a totally different smoky eye technique. What’s yours?
  • Do you do the brown/orange transition shade at the top of your crease?
  • Does anyone actually have formal holiday parties anymore?