Tutorial - Smokey Purple, Dramatic, Sultry Eye

This tutorial is designed to go step by step through a very dark, sultry purple smoky eye, which is best suited for clubbing and special occasions – but great for fall.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Eyes: Smoke Signal pigment (burgundy), Cumulus eyeshadow (grayish blue), Thunder eyeshadow (dark purple-gray), Sketch eyeshadow (brown burgundy), Feline kohl power (black eye liner), and black mascara.
Face: If you’d like to compliment the eyes, use Other Worldly blush (warm dirty brown) on apples of cheeks with Taupe blush to contour.
Lips: For matching lips, try Sparks Can Fly lipstick with Lull lipglass.
Tools: MAC 249 firm shadow brush, 239 shadow brush, 219 detailed crease brush

Here are the products that you will be using.

Start with a bare eye.

Using the a flat shadow brush, put a drop of water-based mixing medium and pick up some Smoke Signal pigment and apply to your lid.

Cover your entire lid and just above your crease with the pigment.

It should be smooth and fairly even, but it does not need to be perfect.

Thinking it should be darker, add another layer of the pigment by utilizing the same technique as before (you may not need more mixnig medium).

This is how it appears.

Pick up a generous amount of Cumulus eyeshadow with the 239 and apply to the inner third of the lid.

Bring the brush downwards as pictured to cover the entire inner portion of the lid.

With the 239, pick up some Thunder eyeshadow and apply it to the middle of your lid, starting just above the crease.

Pull the brush down as you did previously to cover the entire middle portion of your lid.

Apply Sketch eyeshadow on the outer lid using the 239 brush.

Angle your 239 brush so that you can deposit some of the Sketch eyeshadow residue into your crease.

This is how it should look.

With the 239, pick up a generous amount of Cumulus eyeshadow and apply above the crease, partially over the harsh line of colors from the lid, and partially on skin with no color on it yet.

Sweep your brush outwards towards your outer lid.

The effect of this is smoothing out the harsh line from the colors and assists in blending the colors upwards.

Using the 239, apply Grain eyeshadow underneath the brow bone.

Following your natural brow bone, move the brush outwards.

Apply more Grain eyeshadow with the 239 on the very inner portion of your browbone.

Sweep the brush upwards to blend the highlight seamlessly.

This is how it should look at this point.

With the 219, pick up Cumulus eyeshadow and apply on the lower lash line.

This is what you should find yourself seeing.

Again, with the 219, pick up some Thunder eyeshadow and apply to the very outer edge of the lash line.

This is what you should see.

Apply your choice of black liner to the lower lash line (and water line).

Your fnished product will be a dark, sultry purple smoky eye, perfect for fall special occasions.

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Thanks, Diana! Smoke Signal makes a surprisingly versatile base – if you went with just one lighter coat of it (basically if you skipped the step where I went darker), you could get a much different look!

I have to say this is one of my favorites… It is not your normal black,grey, or blue smokey eye….
Purple is the new black this fall and this will work perfectly…
Kudos to you

I love purple, this is really cool. I would never have thought to use a base that wasn’t either my skintone or the same colors as the eyeshadows, but I really like how this looks, I think I’m gonna try it!

Wow! It looks totally different from start to finish…Like magic 🙂 I LOVE this look. And it looks great on you! Thanks for the tutorial; the photos with the brush “in action” are super helpful.

One question: You work with a lot of very pigmented colors, so I’d like to know how often wash your brushes? After every application, once a week?

Thanks, Tammy! Smoke Signal is definitely a versatile pigment color!

I wash my brushes once a week or so. I use a few different brushes. I have two brushes for using wet pigments – one for darker colors, one for lighter colors. For dry shadows, I use one brush mostly, unless I use a really, really dark color (blacks usually), I use a cheapy brush to apply that.

i love this look,and i need some help with the first step. i don’t understand this : “put a drop of water based mixing medium,…”. what exactly do You mix with the pigment? Foundation? Whatever that thing is,i’ll buy it tomorrow 😀 it makes the pigment somehow fluid,or something like that.

i just did a little research,and i found,that this water-based mixing medium is your favourite eyeshadow-base product. in the tutorials,i found out how to use it (put a tiny bit on the brush,don’t wet it,wipe the excess of on the top of your hands etc.)
now my question is,where can i buy it? do they only keep it in MAC pro stores or in regular MAC counters as well? here in Hungary we only have 1 MAC shop :-DDDDDD i want to live in the US :-DDDD

I must use this look some time! I have 2 questions for you…My grandmother wants a smoky eye for a dance competition, what kind of look would be appropriate for someone older?

Also…have you ever thought of doing video tutorials or podcasts? Your photo tut’s are incredibly helpful, but I think videos would be a hit!

Hey Audrey! Try a matte eye for older skin – it will bring less attention to any imperfections!

I have, but until I have the right equipment (I don’t want to do anything mediocre), it’s not a priority at the moment!

amazing transformation! i never thought of using the pigment would turn something like that.i was surprised with the Smoke Signal pigment effect, i though i was in a different tutorial- lol. it works effectively. i can use and play with my light shaded eyeshadow if i have that pigment thing to give it a new life.

I tend to use a pigment as my base, so when that is mixed with the mixing medium, then it lasts forever. Even through a sobbing breakdown!

Hi Christine, I know its been a while since this tute was posted but I have a query- any alternative to Smoke Signals pigement in a shadestick/paint/paint pot? Thanks!

Wow! I guess Flammable paint would be the closest. You could try Royal Hue (is that it, the purple shadestick!) shadestick, too… obviously that’s really purple, but it shouldn’t be too bad of a substitute. Sketch eyeshadow is close to Smoke Signal pigment in color.

I absolutely love your website and follow it regularly since I stumbled on it from Bellasugar! I love your tutorials and your detailed descriptions, they make it so much easier for a newbie, like me, at eye shadows and face make-up. I was wondering though, are powder colours easier and better to use or cream? I have many powder palettes, with so many colours, but I find they don’t all suit my skin tone. I’m asian, with yellow/brown undertones. Any tips?

Thanks so much! I’m glad you’re liking the site 🙂 Powder colors are definitely easier to use, because sometimes creams will crease or just not go on as easily. Do you have any neutrals? Those are a great place to start, as they are universal colors. You should also try greens!

Hey Robin! You can use a powder shadow, which might help to set it – I don’t usually have that problem though, sorry I can’t be more helpful!

I have had this page on my favorites for a while, but now that I’m ready to try it, Cumulus and Thunder are not available 🙁 Would you recommend any other two colors that would go well with the smoke signal base, since I already have that?

For Cumulus, Alum is close, even though it is LE (it’s still on the website), as far as permanent colors, you could try Scene. For Thunder, try Contrast or Graphology 🙂

I love purples and pinks over the Smoke Signal base!

May i ask what made you think to put that color paint pot under that color eyshadow… the effect is lovely, wondering if its trial and error, or a formulated thing…

May i ask what made you think to put that color paint pot under that color eyeshadow… the effect is lovely, wondering if its trial and error, or a formulated thing…

Hello Christine!
I’m new to your site and let me tell you that I love it!!!..You are amazing and your looks are to die for, seriously I’m your biggest fan!
Keep the tutorials Coming 🙂


So..I did some shopping, online MAC, and I ended up buying the sketch,scene, and contrast. Will those work for this look? I also purchased:

-violet pigment
-teal pigment
-jardin aires pigment

-stars n rockets
-deep truth

*along with the three I mentioned above. I know major shopping spree 😉 But it’s been awhile since I last visited MAC. Anyway, I also own “Mythology” and “Creme de Violet”. My point to all this rambling is, I was wondering if you could maybe give me hand on what to use with what? I know it may be too much to ask, but please consider because you were my inspiration 🙂

Thanks so much!! I dying to play with all this!!

Hey Nikki,

I definitely think those would work in this look! Are you just looking for substitutes for this particular tutorial, or looks in general?

If it’s the former: use a base, then layer Sketch eyeshadow all over the lid, and then put Creme de Violet/Stars N Rockets on the inner lid, Violet pigment on middle of lid, Sketch on the outer crease. You could try Contrast on the inner lid, too, if it isn’t dark enough.




I’m a little confused about the “competing thing” – I assume you mean lips with eyes. But isn’t the Flash N Dash what you showed with the Fafi eye makeup? It looked great. And isn’t the Fafi eye similar to this look? I just like both of those eyes but really like the lips on the Fafi over those on the Smokey Purple …
BTW – they both look very nice on you – your boyfriend is a very lucky guy!

Any suggestions for: 1) a replacement for Flash N Dash (discont) or 2) something along the same color lines as Flash … but a little subtler?

And please excuse my ignorance on this subject!

Hey Aaron,

Sometimes I do competing lips – it’s mostly just that both pieces are “bold” so your eye isn’t sure where to look – that’s generally what it means. If you like it, I’d wear it! I don’t think there’s any wrong or right way to do it, and it never hurts to try. You can always wipe off the lips and put on something else if it doesn’t work, lol! There are some times where I’ve tried one lip, and I end up layering 2-3 glosses on top ’cause it wasn’t working how I thought it would!

You could try a shade like 3D lipstick or Rose Maiden – which came out with Spring Colour Forecast, though Rose Maiden isn’t quite subtler, LOL!

the works!!
this looks really great, and works reallly great too!!(: i wore this look to my best friend’s wedding and i got lots of comments!

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