“Smokey eyes aren’t for those with monolids.”

How many times have you heard someone say that? How many times have you thought of that yourself?

Gurl, get those negative thoughts out of your head. We found two awesome YouTubers of Asian descent (with monolids and hooded lids!) who have shown us that pulling off smokey eyes has nothing to do with one’s ethnicity so much as one’s attitude. Learning how to do a smokey is no longer out of your reach!

1. Start with an eye primer

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With eye primer, you can take on the world. Ask anyone with oily eyelids what their secret is to long-lasting eye makeup and the answer will most probably be unanimous: eye primer.

Aside from improving the longevity of your makeup, eye primers can also intensify your eye shadow colours and make them pop. This is especially important when doing a smokey eye, which is all about the shadows and depth. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, this is one step you shouldn’t be missing.

2. Apply a base shade all over your eyelids

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

Pick a matte shade that’s either very close to your skin tone, or a shade lighter. This will help to make all the other colours stand out more, and will also help them blend more easily on top.

3. Apply a transition shade along the outer crease

For transition shade, pick a shade that’s slightly darker than your base shade. Apply it along your crease in a V shape, or along your eye socket if you don’t know where your crease is. The point of the V should be pointing towards the outer corner of your eye.

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

If you have hooded eyes, make sure the transition shade is visible above the hood. YouTuber Tina Yong’s tip for those of us with hooded eyes? Relax your eyebrows and look straight ahead when you’re doing eye makeup, so you know whether the colour you’re applying is showing up when you open your eyes.

Also remember to use matte eye shadows for the outer corner of the eye and anything above the hood, as these colours are meant to look like shadows and thus create depth for the eye. You can bust out your shimmery colours later!

4. Apply a darker colour on the outer corner of the eye

Next comes the part that intimidates the most people. You’ll have to pick a darker shade of eye shadow to apply on the outer corner of your eye, along the same V line as your transition shade.

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

Remember that the aim here is to deepen your crease, or, if you don’t have one, to create the illusion of one. That means you’re deepening the shadows that your eye socket naturally creates to make it seem deeper, so your dark colours should be aligned with that.

5. Use another dark colour to build up the intensity

Now, pick a shade that’s even darker still to really build up the intensity of your smokey eye. You don’t have to restrict yourself to grays and blacks – feel free to experiment with dark purples, greens, blues, whatever tone you want your smokey eye to be!

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

During this step, be aware of what eye shape you’d like to create. If you want a longer eye, pull the colour outwards. If you want a rounder eye, pull it slightly upwards and round up the shape a bit more.

6. Use a lighter shade for your highlighted areas

Now is the time for you to bust out your shimmery, glittery shades!

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

With a lighter shade of the same colour scheme as the rest of your smokey eye, apply the shadow starting from the inner corner of your eyelids and sweeping it towards the middle. When blended out properly, the colours on your eyelid should form a smooth light-to-dark gradient starting from the inner corner outwards.

For those with hooded eyes, make sure you concentrate most of the colour intensity underneath your hood! Always check whether the colours you’re going for are still visible after opening your eyes, so you know where to build up pigment if needed.

7. Apply the same darker shades on your lower lashline

Using the colours you had already used on the outer corner of your eyelid, apply these colours to your lower lashline to make your eye makeup look more consistent and complete.

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

Be careful though! Go in with a light hand, and make sure the dark colours are only on the outer one-third of your lower lashline. Darkening your entire lower lashline could make you look like a panda if you aren’t sure of your technique!

Optional: Pull the light colour you used on your inner corner over the inner one-third of your lower lashline. Blend it well with the darker colours on the outer portion so it mirrors the gradient you have on your eyelid.

8. Apply eyeliner very close along your lashline

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

If you don’t want to add any other eye makeup to your look, you’re free to stop at the previous step. Otherwise, you could also apply the eyeliner you’re most comfortable with using (check out our tutorial on how to apply eyeliners here!).

The only thing you need to ensure is that your eyeliner isn’t covering all the hard work you’ve just put into blending your eyeshadows just right.

9. Apply mascara along your top and bottom lashlines

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

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Screenshot from Claire Marshall

This is another optional step, but va-va-voom lashes sure do go well with smokey eyes. Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler, and then apply mascara thoroughly, coating each lash from root to tip.

The finished looks

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Screenshot from Tina Yong

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Screenshot from Claire Marshall

If you’d like to see it done on video, check out these two tutorials:

Can Asians pull off the smokey eye look?

At the end of the day, eye makeup is all about understanding your skin’s undertone and eye shape. Pick out the right colours that flatter your complexion and use the right techniques to complement your natural eye shape and you’ll be able to pull off any eye makeup look that you like.