How to Wear Blue Eyeshadow

Blue Eyeshadow

John Richmond - Backstage - Milan Men's Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20/Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images   

Years ago you would see blue eyeshadow on runways and in the pages of Vogue, but never on the streets of New York. Not anymore. Vibrant blue shades are a beauty trend that has staying power simply because it can be striking on the right woman.

Some women look good in it, others don't and any time a celebrity pops up on the red carpet in blue eyeshadow, a debate persists on whether it was a big faux pas or not (witness Nicole Richie at the 2013 Golden Globes).

Most women look great in neutral shades, like bone or browns, but the brighter the shade, the harder it is to get it right. Here are 5 tips on the right and the wrong ways to wear blue eyeshadow.

Who Can Wear Blue Eyeshadow?

This trend got its start in the Victorian period when a bluish tinge to the eyelids was considered beautiful (and the sign of a weak and innocent heart). But not everyone can get away with it.

Blue looks best on women with fair skin and black or platinum hair color and brown or gray eyes. It also works well for women with very dark skin.

The Best Blues

Here are some of our favorite blue eyeshadows. These all get great reviews:

  • L'Oreal Paris Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow, Midnight Blue
  • Revlon Matte Eye Shadow, Venetian Blue 
  • Sugarpill Cosmetics Pressed Eyeshadow, Velocity
  • NYX Cosmetics Baked Eye Shadow, Blue Dream
  • Maybelline New York Eye Studio Color Tattoo Pure Pigments, Brash Blue
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow Limited Edition - Blue on By 
  • Maybelline New York Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads, Electric Blue

Blue Eyes and Blue Eye Shadow

The great blue eyeshadow debate involves women with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing blue shadow. Makeup artist Bobbi Brown says it's best not to match your shadow to your eyes because all anyone will notice is the shadow. Other makeup artists like to line blue eyes with blue shadow to make the blue in the eyes pop.

The trends come and go as well. Some seasons blue is big for everyone, whereas other seasons you never see blue on runways or in magazines.

Our advice if you have blue eyes is to simply try a few shades in a department store such as Sephora. Does it look good on you? If you like to try new trends or start your own, then do it. However, refrain from perfectly matching the shadow to your eye color. You would never display sapphires on a blue cloth, after all. 

Which Jewel Color Shadows Look Best on Different Eye Colors?

Jewel-colored shadows can look striking on women, the secret is finding the jewel tone for your skin and hair color. Dark browns and taupes tend to work well on blondes. Green eyes look good in cooler colors such as deep purples and lilacs. Experts say the right shade of blue can make blue eyes pop, while lilac and purples are gorgeous on brown eyes and black and olive-skinned women. If you have pink skin (as opposed to a yellow base), you should avoid pinky-purples. Jewel tones can be harsh on fair skin blondes.

Blend, Blend, Blend Your Shadow

To ensure your bold eyeshadow colors won't look cheap, use a professional brush (throw away the freebies) and blend well into the eye.

How to Apply Blue Eyeshadow

It's best to use 2 shadows, a light and a dark. Pick a soft color for the entire eye area up to the browbone and then use the darker color in your eye's crease.

For a softer and more modern look, try placing a dark blue close to the lashes with brighter colors further away. Keep in mind that dark shades can make eyes recede so make sure not to place color above the crease line.

Pick the Right Eyeliner

Skip the black eyeliner. It's just too harsh. Instead, try a deeper-hued shade of blue. Navy or indigo works great. Keep in mind that blue eyeliner can make blue eyes pop!

One great-looking trend is using a gorgeous blue eyeliner on the inner rims of eyes (this is called "tightlining").

What About the Rest of Your Makeup?

If you're opting for blue eyeshadow, keep the rest of your makeup light. Nude lips with gloss suit these strong eyes perfectly. Avoid colors on lips, they'll not only compete with your strong eyes, but the colors could clash.

What About Your Clothes?

There's just one rule here: Avoid matching your shadow to your clothes. You'll look silly.