Every summer heralds bright, bold colors into makeup from everything to lipsticks, to blushes and eyeshadows. Bright corals & pinks, and deep bronzes & oranges typically dominate the color schemes of spring and summer. This season one of the trendiest colors that seems to be popping up everywhere is bold blue eyeshadow. Every other big palette launch this season has some variation of blue, from deep shimmery tones to brighter royal blues to indigos. Good examples of this are the KKW Beauty x Mario Palette from earlier spring, the new Urban Decay Beached Palette, and Fenty Beauty’s Moroccan Spice Palette. So if you’re going to play with color, summer is a very inspiring time to do so. You’re spoiled for choice.
But how do those that are “color-adverse” experiment and play with such bold, bright colors? Is there a way to make blues more wearable? Blue can be notoriously hard to work with, both texturally and optically. For example darker navy shadows, particularly matte ones, can be difficult to blend across the eye without catching. Lighter blues or baby blues can sometimes look dated or retro on the eye, especially if you blend them all the way up to the brow (I don’t mean retro in a good way here).
But like any other makeup trend, it’s not what you apply that makes the difference so much as how you apply it.
So here is my practical guide to making the blue eyeshadow trend your own this season.
First, let’s start with a few easy application tips.
Application tip #1: Soften your edges
When applying blue eyeshadow, remember to keep blending as much as possible! As I mentioned earlier, blue can be difficult to pull off so you want to make sure you’re softening and blending the edges of your shadow to create a more wearable apperance. If you find your shadows are getting patchy, try blending a matte flesh-toned shadow over your eye primer first; it will take away the slight tackiness of the primer that some shadows can cling to. This happens particularly with mattes.
(If you need more help learning the basics of eyeshadow application, please refer back to my how-to post here first, which is perfect for beginners.)
Application tip #2: Don’t blend too high
I won’t stay here long since I mentioned this earlier, but blending blue too high up towards the brow can look dated and weird depending on the tone you’re using. Just avoid it.
Application tip #3: Concealer
After applying your blue shadow, make sure to apply a good correcting concealer under your eyes. This will help cancel out the blue/purple undertones that occur naturally around our eyes. If you skip concealer, all those blue tones between the shadow and the undereyes could make you appear a bit ill.
Now let’s move onto ways to wear the blue shadow. There are 3 main tactics that I use to make blue eyeshadow more wearable on myself, which I hope you’ll find helpful.
Tactic 1: Strategic placement
This is all about where on the eye you choose to place the bright color. The easiest and most fun thing to do is smudge it underneath your lower lash line. You can do this with either an eyeliner or a powder shadow, or layer both. Paired with a more basic or neutral color on your eyelid, the contrast between the upper and lower lid space will really stand out. If you don’t like the idea of putting such a bright color under your eye, you can certainly line your top lash line instead. It’ll still add a lovely point of interest without letting the bright color take over your look.
Tactic 2: Neutral color pairings
This is about grounding the look with more wearable colors so that the brights stay in a more supporting role and don’t overtake your look. Neutrals like brown, gray and of course black work perfectly alongside most bright colors. In the look pictured below, I used a slightly darker blue than in the first look and paired it with a bronzey brown. This look is slightly more editorial in nature since I placed the blue towards the front of the eye, but paired with the neutral brown it becomes a lot softer. I wouldn’t recommend this look though if your eyes are naturally close together, as it will make them appear even closer. In that case, you could switch the placement of the brown and blue, so that the brown is towards the inner corner and the blue is on the outer third of your eye.
This look is a recreation of an old Pixiwoo video that you can watch here.
Tactic 3: Use more flattering tones
Perhaps you’re not into these bright summer-trend colors at all, but you’re tired of just using the same tones look after look. The more the color is mixed with a neutral, the more wearable it will be. So think about using navy blues or gray-blues instead of bright royal blues, for example. You’ll still get the effect of the color but not all the attention or drama, so to speak. That’s what I did in the look pictured below. I used a gray with a pronounced blue undertone in the crease of my eye. The blueish color just peeks out above the crease, so the overall effect of the makeup is quite soft and very wearable.
If you’re looking for some color inspiration, here are some swatches of both bright blues that can pep up your look, or more wearable blues to dress-down your look.
A lot of bright blues come in palettes since pairing them with other shades is often necessary to complete a look. However, if you do not want to buy a whole palette just to get a blue you can easily go to MAC, ColourPop or Makeup Geek to buy a single shadow or create your own palette. I bought Contrast as a single and then put it in my MAC neutral palette. You can of course opt for a blue eyeliner if you’d rather not use a shadow. Your choice of products will all depend ultimately on what kind of look you want to achieve.
What do you think of bright blue eyeshadow? Would you wear it? Do you have any tips or particular looks you like to do with blue shadow? I’d love to know!