The ‘reverse smokey eye’ is a fresh way to shake up your makeup

And it’s ideal for hooded eyes

Editor / April 03 2023

A smokey eye is a beloved makeup technique for a reason. It’s flattering, versatile and stands the test of time. But what if you’re lacking the lid space? Or want something bold but blending dark colours into your crease always ends in disaster? Enter: the reverse smokey eye.

Adding a twist to the traditional, the reverse smokey eye keeps the crease light and bright. There’s still some drama but it’s strategically placed, bringing in elements of both the cut crease and, its sister, the reverse eyeliner trend.

Ideal for those with hooded eyes or anyone wanting to shake up their makeup looks, here’s what you need to know…

What is a reverse smokey eye?

With a classic smokey eye, darker shades are generally utilised to create a defined crease before softening towards the inner corner of the eye. The reverse smokey eye flips this technique by using lighter shades in the crease and focusing definition elsewhere — whether it be the bottom or top lashline, inner corner, or above the crease.

Essentially, however you’re used to doing a smokey eye, do the opposite.

5 ways to try a reverse smokey eye

#1 Sunset tightline

Image via: @nikki_makeup

Put that punchy pink eyeshadow you've never touched to good use. A sweep of peach will keep the crease and lower lashline looking fresh while a tightline of black eyeliner balances the dramatic inner corner. 

#2 Negative space

Image via: @patrickta

For a snatched take on the trend, leave your lid neutral and add a sharp sweep of bronze near the brow bone. Pair it with a smokey brown lashline and you've got yourself a surgery-free eye lift.

#3 Nothing but nude

Image via: @jentioseco

Keep both the eyelid and lower lashline nude, and juxtapose them with dramatic eyelashes. A good pair of false lashes will come in handy here.

#4 Floating shadow

Image via: @rio_hair

Rather than blending your dark eyeshadow into your outer corner crease, take a small angled brush and apply with precision instead. Trace just above where your natural crease sits to accentuate the luminescent neutral taking prime position on your eyelids.

#5 Let there be light

Image via: @hungvanngo

Ignore your crease entirely and pull focus to the inner corners with some strategically-placed light-reflecting eyeshadows. Metallic shades of gold, silver or bronze will make quick work of this look.

Main image credit: @jentioseco

Not a fan of the reverse smokey eye? Luckily we've got more autumn makeup trends to try...

Samantha McMeekin was BEAUTYcrew's Editor from January 2020 to June 2023. She has worked as a journalist in the beauty and lifestyle industry for over 10 years. In 2019, she was nominated for Best Digital Writer at the BSME Awards for her work on GLAMOUR UK. If you ever meet her in person, she'll probably try to guess which fragrance you're wearing (she's got a humble 60% strike rate).