Smoky eyes, a key element of this season's grown-up trend, is one of my favourite looks, especially on dark skin. It's also one of the easiest to mess up. Get it right, and you'll have the peepers of a movie star. But get it wrong, and you'll look like you've got a couple of black eyes.
The black eye risk factor is especially high right now, because this season's eyes are two-toned - that is, combining black with metallic purples, greens and blues. To avoid the boxer look, you have to take your time. Start by using a very soft eye pencil, in either brown (autumn) or black (winter), all over the eyelid (ie, not just the lash line). This will give the shadow something to stick to, making it last longer. Use the same pencil on the lower lid, but not all the way, then smudge the last third with your finger, to give a softer look.
For the base shadow, use brown or black (don't go more than a couple of shades lighter than your skin tone or it'll look tarty) over the eye socket (but not inside the crease), using a medium to hard brush. Then, with your little finger, apply the other colour over the eyelid (again, not in the crease), as near to the lashline as you like, and lots of black mascara.
"The big secret of sexy, smoky eyes is good shading," says Frédéric Letailleur, face designer with Armani cosmetics. "Every time you apply, make sure you pass a finger or medium-hard brush over the outer edge of the area to make sure you get a soft, blended edge." He adds, "Another good tip to prevent any disasters is to dab loads of loose powder underneath the eye before you start. This prevents colour falling down on the cheek and streaking your face."
Smoky eyes suit everyone, but if you have small eyes, says Letailleur, a white pencil on the inner rim opens up the eye, while black pencil on the inside makes for a more intense look for those with big eyes. And to finish, "make sure your eyebrows are defined strongly to balance the strength and intensity of the look, otherwise your eyebrows disappear - and that's when you'll look as if you have a black eye."