How to Do Smoky Shadow if You Have Small Eyes

Different eye shapes warrant different smoky eye techniques. Here's one, via YouTube, that works for me.
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Nina Frazier Hansen
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Different eye shapes warrant different smoky eye techniques. Here's one, via YouTube, that works for me.

Beauty tutorials are big on YouTube -- a search for "makeup tutorial" and "hair tutorial" yields more than 5 million videos. In this weekly series, we put a mix of popular and under-the-radar tutorials to the test and show you what's best.

Creating a smoky eye is no easy task. I fancy myself pretty good with a shadow brush (enough for my best friend to trust me to do her makeup at her wedding), but I often end up frustrated. On more than one occasion, I've found myself stopping and starting over again from scratch, with brushes, powders and liners scattered across my vanity. There were times when the whole ordeal became too much -- I just wiped it all off and opted for something simpler in the name of time. 

Determined to finally do it right, I sifted through hundreds of smoky eye tutorials on YouTube. The first thing I discovered was that there are different techniques for different eye shapes. My eyes are not small, but they are hooded, meaning the techniques I had been imploring before (like shadowing heavily inside the crease of my eye) were probably not doing my lids justice. 

The key here is shadowing lightly at first and then building up the color. You'll need two brushes: A small, short-haired brush to place the color as deliberately as possible, and a blending brush. 

I chose brown as opposed to something darker to keep the look appropriate for day and built the color out starting from the middle of the lid and working outward and upward toward the edge of the eye until it was as dark as I wanted. This also helps to elongate the eye and create more depth.

 Another trick I learned: It doesn't have to be perfect at first, you can really work with the blending brush by placing the lighter eye shadow over parts that may be too dark, working the color outward until you achieve the desired effect.