40+ Makeup – A Simple Smokey Eye Makeup Tutorial

I’ve read in more than one place recently that no-one over 35 should wear a smokey eye. And if you have even the slightest wiff of a wrinkle, avoid the smokey eye. I think that is utter rubbish.

But I probably should accept that my days of wildly blackened sockets, heavily painted on eyeliner and lashings of enormous false lashes are behind me. (Mmm, not sure if I’m ready to accept that just yet).

But definitely my personal favourite these days is more London smog, less burnt charcoal. As I’ve gotten a little more – ahem – mature, I have toned down my look a teensy bit.

There are a million ways to tackle a smokey eye. Here’s the version that I decided on tonight. I think it is relatively easy to replicate and you can use any colour combination you like. From browns, to purples, to light greys to golds or silvers.

So here you go, it’s is my simple smokey eye makeup tutorial.

Step 1 – create the base


When I am working with dark colours, like charcoals or greys I don’t put my foundation on until after. That way I can clean up any mess and not have to reapply my foundation and concealer.

I simply start with a concealer and pat it on my lids to provide a good base to start.

Step 2 – light eyeshadow application


To save any hassle I am using a pre-designed smokey eye palette. Really all you need is three tones of colours in your palette – light, medium and dark. This one is a Mac one, it’s a special edition RiRi one but most brands do palettes that have good combos of colours for smokey eyes. For a traditional palette, this is a fantastic colour combination as it has a very light highlight tone and a very dark, sparkly black for the outer corners.

I start by applying the light colour all over, right up to the eyebrows. This is fine as long as you are using a very light, neutral tone such as cream, beige, vanilla, you get the drift. I do this with a medium eyeshadow brush. I use a bigger brush as I have a larger area to cover.

I then use a smaller brush and go to the next darker colour, which in this palette is a beautiful minky grey. I apply this on my lid, going slightly over the crease so it shows when my eye is open.

Step 3 – dark eyeshadow and eyeliner


I use my darkest colour, which in this palette is sparkly black, and apply in a sort of loose ‘U’ shape around the outer corners of the eye, just above the crease so you can see it. I put it on the outer half of the top lid as well and blend it in towards the middle of the eye. At this point it is looking pretty hardcore but as with all my makeup, I will do a lot of blending to soften the lines.

I then apply eyeliner on the top lid and under my eyes. For a smokey eye I like to use a thick pencil and get a fatter line. I use a handy cotton bud to blend the harsh lines and really soften them.

I then get my bigger brush that I applied the light colour with, as well as a bullet brush and start doing some full on blending. I rub the dark colour of the ‘U’ shape into the lighter colour with the bigger brush. Then I use the bullet to further soften the eyeliner on the top and the bottom lid. I even put a bit of light grey into it so that it spreads the line a little further down under my eye.

Step 4 – mascara and the cleanup


Once I’m happy the the blending has taken away any hard lines, I apply mascara. My absolute favourite at the moment is this Butterfly Wings Mascara by L’Oreal Paris. It’s awesome!

I then do my eyebrows. In the past you may have seen me use a brow pencil. This time I’m going for a powder and a sharply angled brush.

Now that I am finished, I use a facial wipe and some eye makeup remover to get rid of any black fallout.

I then do my foundation, bronzer etc as normal.

For this picture I have put on my foundation and bronzer. I haven’t added any blush or lipstick but I kinda like the bare lip with the more dramatic eye.

I like this particular smokey eye. I know it’s not a full on Kardashian one, but I think it is more flattering for #40plusmakeup and totally still dramatic enough to impress on a glam night out!





Written By

Gillian is a marketing savant and brand strategist with over 20 years of experience in above and below the line marketing, digital strategy and creative direction. She is an exceptional people person who loves to collaborate with clients every step of the way to achieve the best possible outcome. Gillian is also a successful makeup-artist and make-up obsessive who loves to share her tricks of the trade and help women to look good and feel great.


    • Oh thank you gorgeous, OMG I’d LOVE to paint your face SunnyB. You’re so gorgeous and you would be a perfect palette to work on 🙂 Maybe PB if we have a minute?! MWAH xxxx

  • Gillian you are a gem. I love these posts- achievable, instructive and fun. It’s a killer combo. Keep them coming! X

    Ps: You rock a smokey eye.

  • You look gorgeous! Easy to follow tutorial, thank you. I always manage to achieve the black eye look, wipe it all off and go without. Probably because I don’t usually wear makeup too much unless it’s a special occasion (allergy eyes). I’ve never really been a confident makeup wearer. You have inspired me to give it another go. 🙂 Xx

    • Hahahaha, I know that the smokey eye can definitely have it’s hazards. Thanks so much for the lovely comment Sandra, I love to hear that we have inspired you!!!!! Let me know how you go, I’d love to see pics if you are happy with the result xxx Cheers Gillian

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