The key to applying black eye shadow is using it sparingly and blending it thoroughly. If black eye shadow is applied incorrectly, it can lead to the undesirable "raccoon eye" look rather than the smoky eyes, as intended.
Black eye shadow works best when worn in the crease of the eye and on the outer edge of the lid. This design defines the eyes well without being overpowering. Black eye shadow also works as an impromptu eyeliner; it is also effective when applied over existing eyeliner with a sponge-tipped applicator or a cotton swab. Smudged black eye shadow works well as an eyeliner under the lower lid when creating a smoky eye look.
When wearing black eye shadow, it is important to balance the dark color with lighter colors. Shimmering shades such as silver, bronze or champagne work well as base colors for a dramatic evening look, with the black eye shadow used only as an accent color.
According to Taaz, the key to making black eye shadow work lies in blending it well. A tapered blending brush helps to create a subtle, smoky eye that is not harsh or unattractive. Only one coat of mascara needs to be worn with black eye shadow, since it is less likely to stand out.