How To – Everyday Soft Grunge/ Smoky Eye

Variations of this eye makeup are pretty much my ‘go to’ everyday eye for makeup wearing days. I always get asked about it! It’s quicker than you think and with a bit of practice, you’ll get it down to a fine art! You can pretty much switch up and use any colours you like too (I’ll include some colour suggestions for different eye colours at the end!) to enhance your own eye colour.
The in depth look I’m showing you today is a bit more technical, eg. I love including a flick of liner along my top lashes to lift and elongate my eyes…but take from it what you will, just have a play and I’m sure you’ll come up with your own kind of signature soft smoke!

So let’s get started…

PRO TIP – I usually begin by filling in my brows. I find it really useful, it’s almost like having a ‘map’ of your eye area to work from. It acts as a guide and allows you to plan your shape and blending etc.

➕ So first thing’s first…the first thing I always do, is prime. I like to use a skin toned primer to even out the tone of my lids (they can get quite pink) as well as intensifying my shadow and keeping it in place! I’ll even use it on ‘no makeup, makeup days’, just to brighten and make me look more awake! I like the Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden (Available from*), it’s a yellow based nude, so it knocks out any redness from your lids, bonus. I love the Pro Longwear Paint Pots by MAC too, great for priming as well as eyeshadows in their own right and available in a wide range of colours/ textures. I set my primer with a bit of powder (any is good) which will also help the blending of your shadows later.

primed lid and brow

PRO TIP – I don’t really add extra highlight my brow bone unless I’m going for a stronger look, day to day, the space between the definition of my brows and my blended eyeshadow will almost act as a natural highlight anyway. It gives you a softer, more effortless look to the eyes.

➕ I nearly always start an eye makeup (this one no exception) by placing a ‘transition’ colour down. A transition colour should be a matte texture shadow, only a bit darker than your skin tone. Using a shade like this will mean that when you start adding your darker, smoky shades, they’ll blend well and more seamlessly in to each other. It’ll make sure you get that smooth gradation from light to dark, with no harsh edges. I apply my transition shade with a fluffy blending brush (I love the Morphe Brushes- M504 – Large Pointed Blender Brush*) in small circular motions.

transition shade

PRO TIP – Hold your brush as close to the handle tip/ as far away from the brush head as possible, this way, the brush will do the work for you! You’ll have a lighter touch, better blend and more control! Remember…the area of skin your brush first touches will have the most initial product deposit, so I usually like to start at the outside corner and blend in towards my nose, so the concentration of colour is concentrated in the outside corners, giving lift and definition.

brushes and palette

➕ Next up, I like to apply a base shade over the whole of my mobile lid (bellow the crease/ bit that moves) using a larger flat shader brush (like this one – Zoeva 222 All Over Shader Brush*). This can be any colour you like and shimmer or matte, whatever you fancy. For everyday, I love to use this one by Milani (Bella Caffe – Gel Powder Eyeshadow*) it has a natural semi matte finish and it’s just a great neutral that you can wear alone or pair with pretty much anything!

applying to crease

➕ Using the same blending brush that I used to apply my transition colour, I apply my crease colour in the same way. Again a matte texture shadow, but this time, a darker mid tone shade. Still working from the outside in and also buff this same colour in to the outer corners of the eyelid itself, blending about a third of the way in.

PRO TIP – If you want to go stronger/ smokier, just keep going, blending deeper tones in to the crease and outer corners of your eyes to build up the depth you want.


➕ I always tight line my upper lash line (inside – this ensures there’s no gaps and makes your lash line look thicker/ fuller too!) and most of the time my lower waterline with a black/ dark brown long wear pencil (I use the Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil*). Sometimes I go all the way across, outer corner to tear duct to intensify the look, but most days, I’ll go from the outside to about half way across just to frame my eyes. I also work the liner pencil through my lower lashline, using a pencil brush or small firm shading brush (like the Morphe M508 Smudger Brush*) to smudge out with a bit of eyeshadow to soften. I’ll either use the same crease colour, or anything else I fancy to add a pop, shimmer or matte texture, whatever! A quick final blend with your fluffy brush and shadow is done! (There’s no such thing as too much blending for a look like this, the more the better, blend until you can blend no more!)

PRO TIP – If you want to make your eyes look bigger/ soften this look down further, apply a flesh tone pencil (Urban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil*) to the waterline instead of black/ dark brown…along with a little liner/ shadow smudged under your lower lash line, it really brightens and opens up your eyes.

➕ To finish up, I usually do a small (ish) liner flick. You can bypass this if you like and either go straight in with mascara or smudge a bit on pencil along your upper lash line if you’d rather. I curl my lashes…essential when you have long, but super straight lashes like mine, ugh…and apply a good few coats of mascara (often the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara*), at this stage, I instantly feel way more awake! You can add lashes at this point too, on the daily though, I don’t tend to bother.


And that’s it! I have this eye makeup down to a fine art at this point and it usually takes about 10 minutes to do. The more you practice anything the less time you’ll take. Give it a go, I love this look on clients too, it’s flattering for pretty much every eye shape and size and like I said before, you can switch up the colours used to suit. Neutral everyday shades you might want to try…

For blue eyes – warm yellow/ orange based tones, golds, coppers, caramels and bronzes.
For green/ hazel eyes – red toned plums, cranberry tones and warm browns.
For brown eyes – cooler taupes, greys, blue toned plum/ lilacs and cooler, charcoal browns.

Lyd x



I’m now based in Cork, Ireland. Although I do still take select bookings for North Wales/ Cheshire and Dublin (get in touch for more info) and am available to travel country wide…I’m mainly taking makeup bookings for Cork City and surrounding areas. 

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