Blue eyeshadow is like the hairspray of makeup—both are surprisingly versatile and can totally elevate a look, but over the years have garnered an unfair bad reputation thanks to their connection to beauty pageants and the ’80s as a whole. But for at least one of these products, it appears the tide may be turning.
Blue shadow had a major moment in the ’60s with creamy, Twiggy-inspired pastels, while in the ’80s, deeper shades were worn up to the brows. And of course, in the early 2000s, frosted baby blue shades reigned supreme. But then the look seemed to disappear from the map, and in the 2010s it was traded for warmer tones, as both Instagram makeup and no-makeup makeup looks soared. This year, following the 20-year pattern, it looks like blue lids are coming back, and makeup artists, celebrities, and cool girls are ready to give the shade another shot.
The shade has popped up on legit A-listers like J.Lo and TikTok megastars including Mikayla Nogueira, and as a limited shade offering in Violette_FR’s ultra-cool line. It also features prominently in this season of Euphoria, which, as we know from last season, has the power to set makeup trends for years to come.
It’s also been one of the more prominent beauty trends at New York Fashion week, cutting through the usual minimal makeup looks that are usually expected for the city. Most notably, it showed up as a bold, matte powder blue shadow paired with a classic wing at Christian Siriano. “There was a lot of bright cobalt blue in the collection, and Christian wanted us to mirror that on the eyes,” says Sofia Tilbury, who led the makeup for the show. “We got creative, blending the metallic end of the Charlotte Tilbury Super Blue Duo Liner with Magic Away Concealer in shade 1, sweeping it over the lids. We finished with a thick winged liner, brushed-up, fluffy brows and a nude pink lip with a satin finish.”
It also popped up at Kim Shui, this time in a dramatic ’80s sweep up to the brow bone with a defined inner corner. Perhaps the easiest version of the shade showed up at Bronx and Blanco and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Both featured a wash of denim blue across the eyes, in both a shimmer and matte finish, respectively.
So why are people suddenly flocking to blue eyeshadow? The answer, as it turns out, is the same as most major beauty trends we’ve been seeing pop over the past few years: nostalgia. “There’s a huge nod in fashion back to Y2K with a touch of the ’60s vibe and a dash of psychedelic,” says Eddie Duyos, Make Up for Ever’s senior manager of pro education. “The late-’60s aesthetic inspires that vintage look of blue color wash across the lids that created a bold statement on the eyes while downplaying the other features. Color is exciting and eyes continue to be the focal point for the season as people are looking to the past for creative ways to play up their makeup.”
When it comes to actually wearing the shade, there are tons of ways to get in on the trend in a modern way. Ease into it by swapping your black liner for a rich navy or cobalt shade. A sheer wash of matte baby blue looks surprisingly fresh, as does a pop of teal in the inner corners paired with a jet-black mascara. Or try a deep blue shade all around your eye for a cool take on a classic smoky eye.