In the world of makeup, neutral colors are supreme. With just a little effort, you can easily use them to create a natural lip or daring smoky-eye. This sentiment is especially true for eyeshadow. A palette of earthy browns and creamy nudes is not only easy to work with, but it's also sure to go with any lipstick and blush you choose. Playing with colors, on the other hand, involves a bit more effort. Once you’ve found the shades that best suit your complexion, it can be hard to apply them artfully. But with the recent uptick of blue eyeshadow looks seen on celebs and Instagram, it seems vibrant hues are here to stay.
While the ‘80s and early ‘00s have given the makeup look a bad reputation for being harsh and over the top, there are ways to make the cool color read more modern. According to celebrity makeup artist Courtney Hart, the trend is making a comeback due to its versatility. “Despite what you may think, blue can be striking on a variety of skin tones and has a wide range of shades,” she says. Still, learning how to work with a bold color can be a learning curve.
Ahead, three makeup artists shed light on the misconceptions of blue eyeshadow and share tips on the modern way to wear the color.
Pastel eyeshadow is tricky on its own. The light colors can appear garish, but embracing the boldness of the hue can give you a cool look. When it comes to finding the right shade, Hart tells TZR that checking the pigmentation of the shadow is essential. “You want the product to pop without being too powdery,” she says.
This eye makeup is all about the playful nature of blue. Like a scarlet lipstick, it has a classic retro feel. Celebrity makeup artist Jo Baker adds that a soft matte shadow is also versatile. She recommends starting with a light wash and then building the intensity with layers.
Matte Ocean Blue
When a smoky eye just won’t cut it, consider this bold ocean blue look the next best thing. The vibrant color painted across the lids is dramatic and daring. Using a matte formula that’s highly pigmented is going to be key. However, Hart notes that applying an eyeshadow primer beforehand will deliver a flawless finish. “Creating a base for the shadow intensifies the matte shade and, most importantly, keeps it in place,” she says.
Blending the product is also essential, as you don’t want the product to look diffused and not too blotchy. According to Hart, matte shadows can be less forgiving, so it’s important to take your time for a seamless look.
Mix & Match
Think of this smoky eye as the bolder version of your go-to style. Instead of using a range of browns and neutral colors, it swaps in bright pops of blue. The trick to making it work is opting for shades in the same finish. Not only will they be easier to blend, but they will also make for a more cohesive look. As for the rest of your makeup, Baker suggests keeping things simple. A light flush on the cheeks and a nude lip is all that’s needed with such a strong eye.
Sky Blue Siren Eyes
This take on the siren eyeshadow trend uses a cool-toned shadow instead of a deeper hue for a dramatic effect. Finding the right shade can take some trial and error, but it will be worth it. “Experimenting with shadows varying in pigmentation will help guide your selection,” says celebrity makeup artist Joseph Carrillo.
The pro even recommends testing different combinations of colors to find what works well together. For this eye look, Carrillo tells TZR that pairing a cool blue shadow with winged eyeliner and a peachy nude lip is an instant success.
Frosty blue shadows are arguably the most difficult style to wear because it can easily turn into a bad rerun from the 2000s. Luckily, there are ways to make it wearable and modern. Carrillo suggests leaning into what makes the color unique. “You can play up the shimmer by adding a complementing highlighter to your cheekbones and the inner corners of your eyes,” he says. This will give you a cohesive glow and bring the look together.
The placement of the product is another factor that keeps this eyeshadow style from appearing too dated. According to Baker, frosty blue shadows should be applied to the center of the lids first and then lightly blended out. “You want the color to pop and be reflective,” she says. With that said, she recommends using a soft matte base to help ground the look.
Blue Glitter Gradient
Like a frosted finish, glitter eye makeup can be overwhelming at first sight. For this reason, it should be applied in a similar fashion — placing it in the center of the lids for maximum impact. Hart adds that this method allows the shimmer to have an intense look that’s also wearable. “When placed in the middle of your eyelids, the shadow will catch the light and really sparkle,” she says. Once you’ve added all the colors, she recommends blending the edges softly to create a seamless gradient. To finish, apply black mascara and a natural lip.
Though blue eyeshadow can initially appear daunting and intimidating, Carrillo notes that the point is to have fun and be confident in your makeup choices.
This article was originally published on