This year, Pantone named Classic Blue as the Color of the Year. At first, I was a little disappointed. I’ve come to expect the creative renditions of colors that Pantone comes up with, like Living Coral, Greenery, or Radiant Orchid. Classic Blue seems so usual. But that is perhaps what makes it perfect for this year. As Pantone explains, “This enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”
Ordinary as it may be, this color is often daring in the realm of cosmetics. Blue eyeshadow can even be divisive. There is literally a book titled Blue Eyeshadow Should Absolutely Be Illegal by renowned cosmetics expert and owner of Paula’s Choice Skincare, Paula Begoun. Yet, there are many, like me, who can’t get enough. Consider the fact that Jeffree Star’s all-blue palette sold out almost instantly.
Rest assured, there is middle ground between never touching blue makeup without a ten-foot pole and smearing it all over the eyes Mimi Bobek-style. And that is, blue eyeliner. Follow the steps below for an effortless Classic Blue eye.
Step 1: Prime and Set
To create a budge-proof base, it’s important to prime the eyelids. I typically use concealer for this, applying just a small amount and gently dabbing it out with my fingers. Make sure the concealer or dedicated eye primer–whichever you choose–is evenly spread across the lids. Any unprimed spots can make blending eyeshadow difficult later on. I then set the concealer with a little powder. Essence Brighten Up! Banana Powder is perfect for this, and I love using the Real Techniques Setting Brush, as it deposits a fine, even layer of powder.
Step 2: Contour the Eye
Now it’s time to give the eye socket some depth. For me, that means starting on the actual hood of my eye instead of the crease, which is not visible when my eyes are open. To keep things simple, I used the same powder I planned to contour with: Maybelline City Bronzer in the shade Light 100.
Here I used a rather large tapered crease brush (Wayne Goss Brush 16) to gently sweep the powder back and forth using windshield wiper motions. I placed it fairly high up on the hoods of my eyes, buffing upward toward the eyebrows–but not touching them. While there is no clear definition to the eyes at this point, it sets the stage for the next step.
Step 3: Cheat a Crease
Next, we’re faking a crease. Using a smaller tapered crease brush, I swept the powder I planned to bronze with–Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder in the shade 01–back and forth slightly below the shade I applied previously. If you do not have hooded eyes, this can be placed directly in the crease instead. Continue to apply more shadow to the crease until it is to your preferred level of depth.
Using contouring and bronzing powders on the eyes is such an easy way to define a crease. It also means your eye makeup will match perfectly with your base.
Step 4: Line Away
Next, the main attraction. I used a cobalt blue liner from the L’Oreal Silkissime range, which has been discontinued. This liner never sharpened well for me, so I probably wouldn’t have purchased it again anyway. Here’s some other options you might consider:
- L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Pencil in “Cobalt Blue”
- Maybelline TattooStudio Eyeliner in “Striking Navy”
- NYX Retractable Liner in “Deep Blue”
- Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Chaos” or “Sabbath”
To apply this, gently drag the eyeliner across the lash line starting from the outer corner to about halfway across the eye. For hooded eyes like mine, this is a flattering way to elongate the eye without closing it off. Of course, if it suits your eye shape, then take it all the way to the inner corner.
As I did this, I smudged out the liner using my Wayne Goss 08 Eyeliner Brush to create a softer look. It’s got the tiniest bristles, making it easy to smudge or apply liner really close to the lash line.
Step 5: Lock It In
Finally, I used the same brush to apply a thin layer of blue eyeshadow all over the liner. “Blue Monday” from Jeffree Star’s Blue Blood palette matched my liner perfectly. If you don’t have a similar shade of shadow as your liner, this step is optional. Or, you could opt for an inexpensive palette like Blue Moon by ColourPop.
The reason behind this step is to lock the eyeliner in place. This is especially an issue for me with my hooded eyes. Most eyeliner pencils end up smudging on me, no matter how good the quality. I also like the blurring effect the shadow has. Dragging the shadow slightly past both ends of the eyeliner ensures there are no blunt edges. For a lifting effect, create a soft wing with the leftover shadow on the brush, like I did.
That’s it! While I would never discourage anybody from trying a vibrant, blown-out blue eye, I totally get why that’s not everyone’s jam. However, this look is one that anybody can pull off with just a bit of liner and a little technique.