Dilemma of the Week: How Do I Wear Blue Eye Shadow?

Where did the "never wear blue eye shadow" rule come from? For all of my adult life, I've been avoiding it, but without really understanding why. Now I'm seeing it everywhere.

I love the opportunity to comment on the "no blue eye shadow" rule as a phenomenon of how vulnerable we are to fashion's whims. That is, if enough people tell us something is "beautiful," or "bad," we're more than likely to be influenced. If only we could remember to revel in our own unique identity and wear whatever colors we like.

That said, here's my theory: The "rule" came about as a backlash to the '60s and '70s überfeminine pastel blue eye shadows — which then morphed into the disco-loving '80s, when clearer, more vibrant blues reigned. That's three decades of blue, y'all! The way I see it, an influential beauty editor, together with a bevy of high-powered makeup artist friends (who had visited one disco too many) got together and decided to put an end to blue shadow forever, simply because they were tired of it.

Well, everything old is new again, and here we are loving blue eye shadows once more — though just for the record, I never stopped using my blues!

Here's how to wear blue eye shadow on a variety of complexions.

  • For fair-skinned blondes: Apply a transparent blue-green shadow across your entire upper lid. Curl lashes and just barely touch the tips with a neutral brown mascara so as not to take away from the delicacy of the look.
  • For fair-skinned brunettes: A shimmery blue-purple applied to the outer edges of the upper eyelids will look really pretty. You can use a finely tapered liner brush to apply the same blue-purple in a slender line directly under your lower lash line for a bit more emphasis.
  • For redheads: An icy blue cream-textured shadow with a pearly finish will create an awesome contrast against your coloring. Apply the shadow around the perimeter of your eyes, just outside the upper and lower lash line — a brilliant look for redheads!
  • For olive skin: An icy silver-blue can look amazing against your olive skin. Because you already have so much yellow and orange in your skin tone, you'll probably want to avoid blues that contain those secondary hues.
  • For brown skin: Blend a vibrant eggshell blue across your crease and down toward the hooded area of your eye. Finish with a coat of blue mascara on both the upper and lower lashes.

Recommended Products

DuWop Eye Shadow Palette in Blue Eyes
This palette offers coordinating variations of blue and silver, including the prettiest sky blue and a great classic navy.
Price: $32
Available: Select retailers

Pop Beauty Eye Cake in Bright Blues
Five vibrant shades of blue, including a stunning turquoise and brilliant aqua. The hues in this palette really do seem to pop!
Price: $19
Available: Select retailers

Pop Beauty Glitter Stix in Azure and Navy
We love these fat shadow pencils with hints of silver glitter. They're easy to use, and the sparkle makes them extra fun. The azure is a clean, clear turquoise, and the navy is strong and feisty!
Price: $8
Available: Select retailers

Sephora All Over Color Palette in Shades of Blue
This palette of four powder shadows features the best clear eggshell blue plus a really pretty pearly blue.
Price: $12
Available: Select retailers

Delux Beauty Cream Powder Eye Shadow in Antique Blue
This is a sweet, classic blue. We were impressed with the matte texture of the shadow, which can be used with a brush or applied with the fingers.
Price: $18
Available: Select retailers

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