One of the defining features of the smokey eye look is eyeliner. It's key to making your eyes pop, and without eyeliner, eye shadow use can cause your eyes to look tired, sunken and small.
The secret to eyeliner is finding the right color and type. If you decide to go with black or gray shades of eye shadow, black eyeliner is a must. Save dark brown eyeliner for smokey eyes done in brown and tan shades. As for the type of eyeliner, you have a few choices. Pencil eyeliner is easy to use but might require more time to apply and blend. Gel eyeliner will go on easier, but can be hard to sharpen. Liquid eyeliner will give you great coverage, but you should take care not to apply too much.
Once you've chosen your eyeliner, apply it along the upper lash line from the inner corner to the outer corner. Using a cotton swab or brush, gently blend the eyeliner into your eye shadow. You want a soft line that gives way to your shadow. Once you have blended in the upper lashes, add eyeliner to the bottom lashes. Begin just short of your tear duct area and pull to the outer edge of the lashes [source: Prevention]. You can work the eyeliner into your lash line, but avoid the tear duct to prevent blockage and infection. You should soften eyeliner on the bottom lashes with a cotton swab or brush as well.
Before you move on to the next step, pull back from the mirror and take a glance at your handiwork. The eyeliner should be more dramatic on the upper lashes and less dramatic on the lower lashes. It's best to keep the focus higher up on your eyes in order to avoid a tired look. If you've checked for a good balance of upper and lower eyeliner application, read on for the finishing touch -- mascara.