Smokey Eye for Women Over 40

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Smokey Eye for Women Over 40

I was inspired during my recent interview with Liz Hilliard to do a smokey eye post. Liz is a natural beauty that has a passion for makeup, especially eye makeup. Sitting across from her, I noticed her makeup was applied with precision expertise. I guess that is to be expected from an ex-model.

Nonetheless, there are some simple tips that even a novice can utilize to create a smokey eye with ease. As an executive in the beauty industry, I was fortunate to have witnessed some of the most talented celebrity makeup artists while they created their own smokey eye effect. They created their individual look on models such as Liz, but mostly on everyday women like us. Normal women who wanted a little tease of mystery and allure with their eye makeup from time to time. I am sharing some of the preeminent tips that I learned after two decades in the field. So, no matter what your skill level, let us jump in and create a soft, smokey eye together.

Smokey Eye Do’s and Don’ts


  • Only use satin or matte eyeshadows, it is less forgiving on a mature eye;
  • Choose a deeper color that accentuates and compliments your eye color;
  • Blend your shadow with a brush and then blend again more than you think you need to;
  • Step away from the mirror from time to time to see how it looks standing an average distance across from another person;
  • Use a Q-tip for cleanups.


  • Use a shimmer or sparkle eyeshadow;
  • Apply the darkest shade too heavy-handed;
  • Line the interior of the lower lash line or what is called the waterline of the eye, it will make your eyes appear smaller, and it is not safe for your eyes. The only ones that can pull off this look are prostitutes and Courtney Love (the early years);
  • Mix eyeshadow formulas;
  • Only choosing black or dark gray as your smudge color.

Choosing Your Eyeshadow Colors

You do not have to confine yourself to just black or dark grays as your main smokey shade. A color wheel will help determine your best eyeshadow colors for your unique iris color. For example, If you have brown eyes, choose a darker, deeper plum or raspberry. This will make your brown eyes pop more as it is a contrasting color. Selecting a deeper color versus black will also be a more forgiving color to work.

It would be best if you were using three to four complementary shades. Meaning the colors should go from the lightest to the darkest, and yet they should all be the same hue, just differing shades. The first color is your base color, and it will be the lightest shade (lighter than your skin tone). Next, select a light to a medium shade that matches the other tones you chose. This shade will be one to two shades darker than your lid. The third color is a medium to a dark shadow that is going to be more vibrant and more pigmented than the last. And the fourth color, if you want to add it in, should be the deepest and most pigmented color. It is preferable to stick with the same brand and the same formula. This ensures they will blend well together. A good default is a pre-assembled eyeshadow compact.

Smokey Eye Application

A smokey eye doesn’t have to be all over the lid, it can be closer to the lash line for smaller eyes (like mine). Your eye shape and style should dictate how much pigment to use and how it will be applied.

The first and lightest shade should be applied from lash to brow with an overall eyeshadow brush. Next, take the medium eyeshadow brush and apply the light to medium tone from lash to crease. At this point, the lightest color will be visible only on your brow bone. The inner corner of your eye should be lighter than the outer edge. Using a contour brush, apply the third color or the medium to dark shade to define the crease and just above into the brow bone to help open up the eyes.

Use a pencil or gel liner to line along your top and bottom lashline. Use a smudge brush to diffuse the look along the bottom. If you prefer, you can take the fourth and most pigmented eyeshadow color and apply it with a smudge brush over liner for a more dramatic look.


If you curl your lashes, curl them before applying mascara. The most effective way to apply mascara is to start on the outer corner working your way from the bottom of the lash to the top of the lash, wiggling side to side as you coat the entire length of the lash. Follow with the same technique for the middle lashes and then again for the inner lashes. Sometimes I like to go through and feather out the outer lashes so that they are positioned out to the side more than vertically. It has a dramatic effect on the lash and also makes them appear longer.

Eyebrow Gel

When applying eye makeup, I have noticed the brows are one area (especially as we get older) that women neglect. Brows help to define and expand to the entire eye area by including the brows. Brows that have vanished or have become more sparse give the illusion of an older face. Just Google, celebrities without eyebrows. It is a creepy look.

I typically contour my brows as the last step of my eye makeup application. That way, I can judge how much definition my eyebrows need to complement the specific eye look I am going for. With a smokey eye (which is a more potent effect), I will most likely opt for a bit more definition with on brows to help balance out my face.

Choose a brow color that is one shade darker than your current hair color. A brow gel versus a pencil is a lot easier to apply, looks more natural, and is more forgiving. Using a brow brush, apply at the base/bottom of the eyebrow across the entire length of the eyebrow. Then go back with a brow wand and feather up all the way across so it deposits the gel evenly into the whole brow.

Lip and Cheek

Finish the look with a nude lip, and cream blush will work well to keep the focus on your smokey eyes. This is one of the few products that I actually apply with my fingers instead of a brush. I dab a little bit right on the apple of my cheeks, and I move in a downward, feathering motion all the way out to the hairline. This creates a beautiful, flushed look to the cheeks.

The lips are just as easy to apply – take the same product and smear it across your bottom lip. Then rub your lips together. If you need more, apply with your finger in the appropriate areas. Rub your lips together again to create a uniform look.

Effortless Smokey Eye for Women over 40

There are some other relevant articles to this Smokey Eye post found in the Beauty section. Below are three I think are pertinent to your smokey eye application:

These suggestions are ideal for creating a soft and sexy smokey eye for anyone beyond the age of 40. This smokey eye takes me less than 5 minutes to create. You are remarkable and unique, so play up the eye features that you love most about yourself. Let your natural sparkle shine through and radiate to the world. I want to hear from you. How did it go with your smokey eye application? Drop me some comments below. Or if you have questions, I am ready to help.