Smudged, smoked-out eyeliner is the quintessential bad-girl eye look. When blended just right, the soft, hazy effect is positively smoldering. But crafting natural, even smudging can be tricky. Follow these pro tips to master the art of perfectly smoldering smudged eyeliner styles for day or night.
Understand The Technique
Smudged eyeliner creates soft, blurred edges by blending out a precise line before it sets. This diffusion provides a sultry shadow effect. The key is to initially apply eyeliner neatly and thickly along the lashline. Then take a small smudge brush and work the liner up and out before it dries. Smudge gently in small strokes to gradually erase any harsh lines.
The result should be a hazy band of liner that gradually lightens towards the edges. It mimics the effect of eyeshadow but with richer pigment. For nighttime grunge looks, continue layering and blending shades of shadow on top to build the drama. The underlying smudged eyeliner provides depth.
Gather Your Smokey Eye Supplies
These basic supplies make the smudging process easy:
– Gel or pencil eyeliner in black, brown or a vibrant shade like cobalt. Gel provides the most control.
– A short, dense smudge brush to diffuse the liner. A stiff pencil brush also works.
– Small concealer brush for precision blending.
– Matte neutral eyeshadows to layer on top.
– Makeup remover and cotton swabs for refining the shape.
– Eyelash curler and mascara for polished panache.
Prep Lids for Flawless Blending
Prepping lids before applying any liner is a must for smooth, even smudging. Start with an eyeshadow primer to create a tacky base that liner adheres to. This prevents skipping. Follow with a light base shade pressed across the entire lid. This provides the ideal color palette for blending – especially important for darker liner shades.
Line Thickly Along the Lashline
Once prepped, use short controlled strokes to apply gel or pencil liner along the top lashline. Do not pull or drag the line. Make it thicker than a typical wing, tapering liner out towards the outer corners. This full base provides ample product to smudge out. It may look stark at first but don’t worry, you’ll blend shortly.
Smudge Immediately Before It Sets
Here’s where the magic happens! Take your smudge brush and gently blot and erase the liner edge before it fully dries. Work in small upward motions, pressing and swirling into the line. Gradual diffusion creates that perfect “just smoked it out” look. Move the brush all along the line, smudging up and slightly out. Be gentle – no rough wiping.
Soften Further With a Clean Brush
For extra softness, take a clean concealer brush and sweep over edges to further feather out any remaining roughness. A brush without product blurs sharper pigment particles into the surrounding skin and shadow. Gently blend until the line appears as a faint, misty shadow.
Lock It In With Eyeshadow
For longevity, pat similar eyeshadow hues over the softened line using a dense brush. Press on charcoal or black shadow to reinforce black liner. Or try bronze, greige or brown shadows with softer smudged eyeliner styles. This sets the blending in place and adds depth. Just don’t sweep shadow back and forth or you’ll lose that smudgy look.
Catch Fallout Under Eyes
Hold a tissue under the eyes when applying and blending the upper liner. Let it catch any flecks of shadow or liner that drop down. This prevents having to clean up dark specks on the undereye area later. Propping your elbow on a table helps keep hands steady too.
Clean Up the Shape
Once your gorgeous smudging is complete, take a makeup remover wipe and tidy up the shape. Carefully erase any uneven bumps or smears along the edges for a polished cat eye effect. Make the overall shape clean and symmetric. You can also run concealer along the upper lashline to camouflage any thinning liner.
Curl & Apply Mascara
No smoky eye is complete without voluminous lashes! Curl upper lashes skyward which visually opens up eyes. Then apply two coats of mascara to top and bottom lashes, wiggling back and forth from base to tip. This frames the sultry shadowy effect. Waterproof mascara prevents smudges.
Daytime Smudged Liner Looks
For day, go softer with product choices and application. Swap in softer brown liner rather than harsh black. Line just the outer 2/3rds of eyes, leaving inner corners bare. Smudge brown liner up into a tan or bronze shadow. Finish with a single coat of mascara on top lashes only. The result is the sultry smudged eyeliner effect in an office-ready way.
Adjust Technique for Downturned Eyes
On downturned eyes that slant down at the outer corners, only smudge liner along the upper 1/3 of the lashline near inner corners. Avoid extending outwards which drags eyes down further. Smudge up and slightly inwards towards the bridge of the nose. Sweep lighter shadow at the outer corners to lift.
Full-Impact Nighttime Smoky Eye
For evening, go all-out glam. Line the entire upper lashline thickly in jet black. Smudge out liner with dark charcoal, purple or green shadows layered on top. Take it up above the crease for drama. Add glitter liner near the inner corners. Finish with false lashes plus two coats of mascara top and bottom. This creates maximum smolder factor perfect for a night out.
Work Slowly and Build Gradually
Patience prevents messiness! Go slowly when first attempting smudged liner looks. Apply and blend in phases, allowing time to perfect as you go. Keep tissues or cotton swabs on hand to catch any mishaps. Layer colors gradually to create depth. This prevents heavy shadow deposits in one area. Finesse the details for clean, blended edges.
Embrace Your Eye Shape
Smudged eyeliner styles work well on most eyes, but tweak placement based on your shape. On deep-set eyes, thicken liner mid-lid to draw eyes forward. For protruding eyes, keep the line very thin and blend up and out quickly to lift. Hooded eyes need exaggerated liner and blending to show. Place the wing higher than the hood.
With the right techniques and tools, you can create breathtaking smoky, smudged eyeliner for both day and night. Blend out softer for an everyday shadow effect or go bold and grungy for evenings out. This alluring look highlights eyes beautifully when perfected – enjoy the smudgy sultriness!