People have been using cosmetics to darken their eyes for pretty much as along as there have been eyes to darken. The ancient Egyptians would smear a powder called ‘kohl’, comprised of crushed antimony, burnt almonds, lead, oxidized copper, ochre, ash, malachite, and chrysocolla (a blue-green copper ore) with a small stick all over their brows and around their eyes. They kept it in a flat-bottomed round pot with a disk-shaped lid and would use a highly polished piece of silver and copper to aid in application. Sounds kinda familiar, am I right ladies?
In more modern times, it is difficult to say when smokey eyes became entrenched in the popular rotation of coming and going with other fashion trends but it has appeared in virtually every decade for the last century in some form or another. Perhaps the woman who rocked the look most frequently and popularly was Italian sex-kitten Sophia Loren throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Using a loose powder palette typically of browns, greys, purples, and charcoals spread around the upper eyelid, the look is meant to create a sense of sultriness and allure. It is completed with a liberal use of mascara on the lashes to make the eyes really pop. It is typically left for more for special and evening occasions as opposed to day-to-day wear. If anybody caught Keira Knightley at the TIFF 2013 premiere of Can a Song Save Your Life? (photo courtesy of George Pimentel), she complemented her beautifully printed strapless Mary Katranzou dress with light, matte coral lips and a lightly smoked eye. A light-smoked eye like this could even be worn during the day-time if you like a more dramatic-than-average look. For a tutorial on how to get a look like Keira’s, check this out.