What’s your skin type?
This will help us personalize your experience.

10 Dark Eyeshadow Looks That Will Look Gorgeous on Everyone

dark-eyeshadow-looks-thumbnaildark-eyeshadow-looks-header
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

As we kiss pool days and sunshine goodbye with the close of summer, we also push our brightly colored eyeshadow palettes to the bottom of our makeup bins. While the chilly days ahead are known to bring some people down, there’s no denying that fall and winter inspire some of the most bold, eye-catching, creative dark eyeshadow looks. Even if you haven’t gotten into these looks yourself, there’s no way you haven’t been intrigued by an eyeshadow tutorial (or 50) on TikTok.Over the years, brands including MORPHE, URBAN DECAY, and ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS have put these trends on the map with their striking palettes. Since then, many other brands have followed suit, so consider the aisles at ULTA your creative oyster. 

“Dark eyeshadow looks are corrective and balancing,” explains Nick Lujan, Kevyn Aucoin’s Global Director of Artistry & Education. “They allow you to adjust shape to balance and create symmetry around the eye area. Deeper shades of your favorite colors help frame the whites of the eye and draw attention to your natural eye color or colored contacts.” Lujan refers to deep shadow looks as “smoky eye makeup,” which really means the soft blending of all edges. Whether you’re after all-black eye looks or incorporating pops of color, keep reading for recs, how-tos, and hacks from Lujan and Pixi Beauty’s Director of Artistry and Education, Amanda Bell.


About the Experts:

Nick Lujan is a makeup artist who has worked on notable names in fashion and entertainment, including Lizzo and Kim Petras. Lujan also serves as Kevyn Aucoin’s Global Director of Artistry & Education.
Amanda Bell is Pixi Beauty’s Director of Artistry and Education, best known for creating makeup looks for the runway and fashion campaigns.

1. Edgy Smoky Dark Eyeshadow Look

Bell starts by framing the eyes with an inky black liner (eyeliner pencil is best—perhaps a kohl), and pulling out the shape into a wing. This is achieved by blending when the pencil is still malleable. She then pats a matte black shadow onto the lid, blending the shadow into the crease. “I love this as a modern take on a traditional smoky eye as it is minimalist and linear,” she says. “It frames the eye perfectly, and perfectly encapsulates a statement eye.”

2. Alt Liner Dark Eyeshadow Look

“Intense liner is a modern take on a retro wing that can be an impactful alternative to strong eye shadow,” Bell says. “Natural brows and a clean or glossy lid looks amazing with a dense, dramatic winged line.” Bell suggests keeping the liner close to the lashline and pushing the liner into the roots of the lashes, which is a double-duty tip; it not only frames the eyes but gives density to the lash line, making the lashes appear thicker. Start out thin at the inner corner of the eye, hugging the lash line to create a flawless curve. Once you have the curved liner shape, go back and add the wing, starting the wing at the outer corner and lifting the outer edge of the eye. 

3. Antiqued Dark Eyeshadow Look

If you’re a sucker for some lightness, you can incorporate vibrancy into a dark eyeshadow look by going for an antiqued aesthetic. “You can balance this look by working some metallic and bronze-toned gold on the center of the lower lashline and then blend outwards,” Bell says. “This embellishes the look and essentially softens the finish with a little textural pop. It’s also great for an altogether diffused and softer approach.”

4. Color Clash Dark Eyeshadow Look

If you consider yourself a wild child, an experimental, rule-free, avant-garde dark eye is the ultimate glam. “It’s a combination of a punky cat eye shape with a contrasting statement color on the lid,” Bell explains. “It gives a diaphanous and otherworldly finish. A strong and iridescent blue is such a perfect way of subverting a traditional look and giving you creative free reign.” The framework and structure is created with the darkest shades, and the contrasting color is the final touch. It’s placed on the center of the lid and blended outwards and upwards.

5. Deeply Monochrome Dark Eyeshadow Look

Bell created this bold look for a catwalk show by placing a white highlight at the inner corner of the eye. “This opens the eye and also ensures that the intense eye has extra impact when paired with a bright white,” she explained. “The two colors work in perfect harmony and give brightness and vitality to any dramatic eye makeup look.” She perfects the look with a pearlescent white powder shadow and a dampened angled liner brush to create a sharp-liner shape effect with staying power. She suggests a deep gray shadow and liner as an alternative to traditional black eye makeup, adding that gray in particular looks beautiful with the pearlescent white.

6. Halo Smoky Dark Eyeshadow Look

Highly recommended for close set eyes, Lujan recommends these makeup tips because they “create contrast between the white of the eye and surrounding color.” The pro suggests applying dark eyeliner to the upper and lower lash line and gently smudging, but keeping tight to the lashes. Then apply a bit of liner to trace the inner and outer edge of the socket, creating the look of a parenthesis. Then smudge the parenthesis to soften and stretch to surround the eye socket. Then apply a medium or dark matte textured eyeshadow to set the pencil and through the crease of the eye. Then apply highlighter to the center of the lid and blend into the deep shade for smooth gradients. Add mascara as your final touch!

7. Traditional Smoky Dark Eyeshadow Look

‘Tis the season for the classics! You’ll never go wrong with a traditional smoky eye, and Lujan is here to help you achieve just that—even for beginners. Lujan suggests starting with a dark matte black eyeliner close to the upper and lower lash line. Then smudge with your eyeshadow brush and stretch the color to frame the eyeball toward the crease. Then set the eyeliner with a medium or deep matte textured eyeshadow that’s pigmented, of course. Next, take a clean brush and soften and blend the edges of the shadow to fade into the skin tone, and apply mascara.

8. Smoky Color Wash Dark Eyeshadow Look

For the makeup-wearer who wants to go bold without taking it all the way, here’s a brief eye makeup tutorial to read. “Not only does this style make the eye color stand out, but it’s the perfect intro to wearing color if you haven’t experimented before,” explains Lujan, who takes us through the steps of achieving this aesthetic. You’ll want to start with application of a dark matte eyeliner in the color of your choice, close to the upper and lower lash line. Then you’ll smudge and stretch the color to frame the eyeball toward the crease. Then set the liner with a medium matte textured eyeshadow that matches the pencil shade. With a clean brush, soften and blend the edges of the shadow to fade into the skin tone. Finish up with mascara.   

9. Sea and Sunset Dark Eyeshadow Look

Ready to make a statement this season? Lujan has you covered with this eye-catching, jaw-dropping look. Start with the application of a dark blue-navy matte or soft shimmer eyeliner close to the upper and lower lash line. Smudge and stretch the color to frame the eyeball toward the crease. Set the eyeliner with a medium matte textured eyeshadow that matches the pencil shade. Add a layer of an iridescent deep blue eyeshadow to the center of the lid. Surround the smoky eye with a warm brown, matte texture shadow, and use a clean brush to soften and blend edges of the shadow to fade into skin tone. Prepare to see your eyes pop!

10. Smoky Winged Dark Eyeshadow Look

Think you’ve seen your fair share of winged eyeliner this year? Not so fast! The dark days ahead are the perfect opportunity to experiment with smoky winged makeup ideas, and Lujan will guide you through the process. Lujan suggests applying a dark matte black eyeliner close to the upper and lower lash line. Then smudge and stretch the color to frame the eyeball and stretch to an outer wing shape. Set the eyeliner with a medium or deep matte textured eyeshadow that matches the liner shade. Then, with a clean brush, soften and blend edges of the shadow to fade into skin tone. And of course, cap off the look with a few swipes of mascara.

Has this article convinced you to create a dark eyeshadow look of your own? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started on swooping up your makeup essentials. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

Like this article? Share it with your friends by clicking the icons below! 

About the author
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira is a Los Angeles-based beauty writer, who has a passion for hair, makeup, and skincare. She contributes regularly to Mane Addicts and her blog, Skyelyfe. Her work has also appeared on Glossy, People, E!, Sweety High and more.
Share Article
Article Last Updated October 6, 2022 12:00 AM