Smoky eyes have to be one of the most in-demand make-up looks around, although unfortunately they are also one of the hardest to achieve. Simply piling on black eye shadow and liner won’t cut it in 2013, instead it’s important to think about the tools and products which are best suited to the effect you’re after.

Firstly, don’t be fooled into thinking a smoky eye is only for night time. It’s perfectly suited to a day look too, just use lighter colours such as taupe, mushroom and brown. Similarly an evening look doesn’t need to involve black – purple, blue and greens work well too as long as they are properly blended.

Eye makeup tips: How to get a smoky eye

The initial rule is to prep the eye area properly. It’s vital to prime when trying this look – you don’t want to spend ten minutes blending only to find all your hard work has slid down your face by lunch time. For a lighter look Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion can’t be beaten, while if you’re going for something dark choose a corresponding MAC Paint Pot colour.

Once that is smeared on it’s time for the eyeliner as the key to smoky longevity is layering. Go for a liner which isn’t too hard, for this kohl is better than gel or liquid. Make Up For Ever, Superdry and Urban Decay all have a huge range of colours available and again go for the shade which suits your look best, usually brown for a day tone and black for night. Apply a thick line to lids, you need at least half a centimetre across the lid and make sure it’s right in the lash line. Then pick a stiff brush and smudge the colour over your whole lid.

Now it’s time for your first colour, which should be dabbed on across the entire lid. Don’t go for a totally black shade here, you want a dark grey, aubergine or deep green for a full-on smokey eye or a taupe for a lighter look. Next put a darker hue in the outer corner of your eye and right in the socket line. Don’t make the mistake of applying above your socket as this can make you look tired. Instead, use a buffing bush such as MAC 217 or 224 to gently swirl the second shade into your crease and up towards your eyebrow. Go back and forward over the crease and also guide the brush in small circles to really buff the colour out.

Now is the time to add a bit of colour for a more modern feel. Stargazer, MAC and Urban Decay can’t be beaten when it comes to bright shades but for this look make sure you go matte and not glittery. As you’re applying over a dark shade be bold with your choice – a wash of bright purple can give the under colour the subtlest sheen. Apply in the same was as you did your second shade and then buff.

For a daytime look you can add a little sparkle at this stage if required, or else just skip it altogether.

You don’t need eyeliner so next slick on some mascara – Benefit They’re Real! and Max Factor Masterpiece Max are our favourites. This is the final step for a subtle look, but for evening you need to apply some false lashes. If you’re unsure MAC has their entire selection on wands in store, so you can hold them to your face to give them a test drive. When applying let the glue dry a little first and then stick to the middle of your lash line first, not the inner or outer corner. This will help with the right placement.

Adding a little concealer just below your brow bone is the best highlighter for this look and don’t forget to shade in your brows to complete your smoky style.