Blue Eyeshadow Is Back—Here’s How to Wear It

Blue Eyeshadow Is Back—Here’s How to Wear It featured image
Image: Ermahn Ospina

Blue eyeshadow, once banished to the fashion purgatory of the 1980s, is making a triumphant return on and off the runway. The iconic shade is experiencing a resurgence, from the Pat McGrath Maison Margiela show to the Oscars red carpet—blue is back. Its illustrious history dates all the way back to Cleopatra and is now reclaiming its status as a 2024 makeup staple. We’ve tapped master MUAs to share how to wear it best and what to add to cart for a modernized look.

Featured Experts:

  • Sandy Linter is a celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Christie Brinkley
  • Tim Quinn is a celebrity makeup artist and cofounder and CEO of Halo42 
  • Ermahn Ospina is a celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Carla Gugino, Rosario Dawson and Amal Clooney
  • Colby Smith is a celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Dua Lipa and Billie Eilish

Courtesy of Ermahn Ospina

A History with Blue Hue

“Blue eyeshadow is iconic. It has been vehemently banned since the early 1980s. However, people secretly love it,” explains celebrity makeup artist Sandy Linter.

The shade’s popularity goes way back. Cleopatra adorned her upper lids with deep blue eyeshadow flecked with pyrite gold. “Remember the Barbies from the ‘60s and the look was reimagined with the release of the movie last year,” says celebrity makeup artist Tim Quinn. “The ‘70s disco era brought us more blue—a look we saw again and again throughout the years—from Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra—and it seems Liz wore blue shadow often in her stunning pictures. Kate Moss in the late 1990s Gucci show, Princess Di was more blue liner than shadow and even Paris Hilton accenting her baby blues. It seems the blues never left us.”

Today’s blue has the advantage of new technology and textures, says celebrity makeup artist Ermahn Ospina. “This current blue eyeshadow trend has more variations,” he notes. “You now have many blue shades, textures and brands to choose from, allowing you to create and be more playful with your makeup looks.”

New Techniques and Shades

Ospina suggests a new approach to blue eyeshadow application, recommending the use of lighter and darker shades to add depth and dimension. “Start by applying the lighter shade of blue eyeshadow on the base of the lash line,” he advises, “and extend it to the middle part of the eyelid. Then, take the darker blue eyeshadow and create a line starting from the inner corner of the eye, following the lash line, extend the darker blue eyeshadow to the outer corner of the eye.”

Blend by using side-to-side movements with an eyeshadow brush,” says Ospina. “Some of my favorite blue shadow palettes include Petit Fours in Lapis by Viseart ($25) and Azure Blue Sea by Clé de Peau Beauté ($110).”

“For a modern twist on the blue eyeshadow trend, pair it with warm bronze tones to balance the overall look,” says Quinn, who likes to pair a blue eye with bronzer to enhance the skin’s radiance.

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Easing Into It

“For those hesitant to fully commit to blue eyeshadow, a blue liner is a good alternative,” Quinn adds. “Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte and Metallic Eye Colour Magic Liner Duo in Super Blue ($32) offers the perfect blend of pigmentation and precision.” As a summer favorite, Quinn recommends Sisley Paris Eyeshadow in French Blue ($65) for its universally flattering shade and touch of sparkle.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte and Metallic Eye Colour Magic Liner Duo in Super Blue

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Sisley Paris Eyeshadow in French Blue

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“Deep navy as liner is a great way to elevate classic black or brown, complementing blue eyeshadow,” adds celebrity makeup artist Colby Smith.

If you’re not ready to go all the way, Smith says to focus on the inner corner for a modified version of the look. “I love popping it on the inner corner of the eyes,” he shares. “That subtle pop is universal on all types of eyes, colors and skin tones.”

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