Dark eyeshadow is sadly the most under-used product in my makeup stash. I wouldn’t say it’s collecting dust under a pile of lip glosses and eyeliners, but I’m definitely not wearing it everyday. Truth be told, I’m not even wearing it every month. Besides the fact that applying eyeshadow is still a struggle that’s easier to avoid, dark eyeshadow looks just don’t get me excited like they used to either. And I think I know why.
Back in the day when I was still trying to figure out how foundation worked, the smoky eye was a look everybody and their Mama had to try. It’s as classic as red lipstick or the little black dress, but sultrier and perhaps a bit more grown up. And while I doubt it will ever go out of style, my previous obsession with doing it right eventually drove me to boredom. A smoky eye every single day? I didn’t have the patience, time or an exciting enough schedule for it. Eyeliner felt more my speed.
Admittedly, now that I’m older and more comfortable in my makeup skills, I know the dark eyeshadow gamut doesn’t begin and end with all things bold and black. If the runway is any indication, there are so many ways to go beyond a basic smokey eye and still maintain a casual vibe. And of course, there’s moments in which you want to be absolutely extra too. So consider all bases covered as you peruse 20 high-fashion looks I’m bookmarking as inspo to get back in the game and do it my way.
Sheer out a basic smoky eye when you want to go more casual than sultry.
Royal blue is one of many colors that pop on darker skin. So much so, you can probably skip the mascara when wearing it.
If you’re attached to your classic smoky eye, a simple color switch (to brown perhaps) is the quickest and easiest way to step outside the box.
Glitter on the lower lash line is another way to elevate a smoky eye with texture.
Color-blocked purple lids are perfect compliment to black under-liner.
A hint of shimmery maroon in the inner corners and silver along the lower lash line adds dimension to a dark eyeshadow moment.
Remember you don’t have to go super dark either. A sheer wash of bronze or rust shadow looks just as bold, especially against light eyes.
Negative space eyeshadow in a darker shade is the basically the minimalist’s version of the smoky eye.
Okay, so we had to include at least one smoky eye!
Emerald is one of our favorite colors for bringing out hazel eyes.
Gray glitter is the makeup version of a disco ball.
Blend out shadow into a triangle shape to create a high-fashion version of the classic cat eye.
Line the eyes in a darker shadow and cover the lids in a lighter one when you want to get adventurous.
Cobalt glitter shadow for the win.
A simple swipe of color on the lower lash line is minimalist-approved.
No matter what color you wear on your lids, remember that a white or beige liner on the lash line will also deliver the illusion of wider, more awake-looking eyes.
Bordeaux shadow is the best way to match your glass of wine at happy hour.
What isn’t there to love about the extended lines in this magenta look?
Lavender shadow is the best way to get ready for spring.
This edgy take on the cat eye is just what our boring routine needs.