A Model Donning the Daytime Smokey Eye Makeup Look | Source: Shutterstock
A Model Donning the Daytime Smokey Eye Makeup Look | Source: Shutterstock

Styling Tips for Daytime Smokey Eyes and Runway Ideas to Copy

Akhona Zungu
Mar 30, 2023
02:00 P.M.
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The smokey eye is a decades-old make-up technique that celebrities and ordinary citizens alike have enhanced to perfection. It was reserved for the nighttime aesthetic, whether for models who grace runways or date nights, but now it can be worn during the day with a touch of color and, if one fancies, a shimmer.


The classic smokey eye can make a bold statement for anyone daring enough to wear this stunning look. Although it is usually worn in the evenings, experts in the make-up industry have advanced the make-up technique to be donned during the daytime. The daytime smokey eye is similar to the original, but the application slightly differs.

And achieving this look, especially as a novice, can be tricky without guidance. Celebrities such as actress Mindy Kaling, Fenty billionaire Rihanna, and musician Lady Gaga have had the aid of longtime professional make-up artists, but don't fret. This article will provide detailed steps to pull off a stunning daytime smokey eye.

Daytime Smoky Eye How-To

Like the classic smokey eye, its daytime variant can be worn by people of all genders. However, as the classic smoke eye may be too bold for the day, colors are expertly added to balance its jarring effect. Those shades can be chosen according to eye color or even skin undertones. Still, it seems the smokey eye has transcended the consideration of undertones.

Much like other make-up looks, the first step of the daytime smokey eye begins with priming the eyelids by applying eye primer and allowing it to set. Following this, professional make-up artist Arti Nayar advised applying a nude color using a medium shadow brush to create a base for the smokey eye.


Next, use a black kajal or a gel liner to create the first layer of the smokey eye. However, note that this can be done in one of two ways: either blending that first layer all around the eyelid or as a liner, then following the chosen shape throughout. Another tip Nayar provided regarding this first layer is limiting how long one spends buffing it out to avoid it setting and looking "patchy."

Mischa Barton is pictured during the 2006 Teens Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California | Source: Getty Images

Mischa Barton is pictured during the 2006 Teens Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California | Source: Getty Images


The following step involves applying black eye shadow to add intensity, accentuate the base, and secure longevity for the daytime smokey eye. Then follow with a matte brown color on a fluffy brush, blending it along the outer corners of the eye. Also, apply the brown on the crease, then mix and smoke it out with a crease brush, feathering outwards.

To create a more well-rounded daytime smokey eye, first apply some brown beneath the lower lash, then add black eye shadow. Next, line both the upper and lower lash lines with a black kajal for intensity. Finally, add black eyeliner to define the eye, and apply two coats of mascara.


Compared to Nayar's technique, the rose-gold daytime smokey eye requires a slightly different application. It begins with a cream rose-gold eyeshadow applied around the eyelid, on the crease to the eye corners, then blending by tapping with a finger. Add a powder plum eyeshadow with a fluffy dome brush on the outer corners of the eye.

Blend the plum slightly into the crease, then atop, use a flat brush to blend a shimmery taupe and extend further into the crease. Smudge the resulting color beneath the lower lash line, then add a brown gel eyeliner on both the upper and lower lash lines to define the eye; ensure it's a light shade of brown. To conclude the application, finish off with a few coats of mascara.


Runway Ideas of How to Wear Smokey Eye before Night

There are several color combinations that work for the daytime smokey eye. On the runway, they're often coordinated with the model's outfit. One such co-ord for the daytime smokey eye combines the shades of gray and mauve. Just as celebrity make-up artist Pat McGrath did for Valentino, the finished look sees the model's green-colored eyes rimmed with brown liner.

McGrath filled Valentino's eyelids with a grayish shade of pink, then outlined them with a dark mauve shade, feathering out into the outer corners. She rounded off the look with lots of mascara, achieving clumped-up lashes, and added champagne-colored blush on Valentino's cheeks. Another variation of a "soft" smokey eye is the one done by Tom Pecheux on one of the models at a Derek Lam show.

Kelsey Merritt poses at the "Tar" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2022 in Venice, Italy | Source: Getty Images

Kelsey Merritt poses at the "Tar" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2022 in Venice, Italy | Source: Getty Images

Like Nayar's technique, Pecheux blended black and bronze around the eye and the lower lash line. He then used the bronze the create a halo effect around the eyes, blending it into a cat-like shape just shy of the outer corners. Finally, he added soft rose-colored blush to complete the look and matched it with nude pink lipstick.

Similar to the rose-gold daytime smokey eye, the following variation includes adding a bit of shimmer, but sparingly. A somewhat sparkly daytime smokey eye can pair well with Nayar's technique, which blends shades of brown all around the eye and completes the look with a pale gold shimmer. This way, the shine peeks through the eyelashes just enough to be visible.

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