If, like me, you had relegated blue eye shadow to the bottom of your makeup bag, filing it under "beauty trends never to try again," I suggest you pull it immediately back out of the archives. This season, blue eye shadow is in. It's a shade that was spotted all over the autumn/winter catwalks, but (thankfully) this isn't a Pat Butcher–style gaudy cloud of color, nor is it harsh stripes of cobalt or fuddy-duddy sapphire hues. No, this season's blue is far more refined than that, and it's a shade backstage makeup artist and MAC's director of makeup artistry Terry Barber is referring to as "Wedgwood blue."
If you're not sure what the hell I'm talking about (I guess you don't watch Antiques Roadshow, then), Wedgwood blue is the color synonymous with a porcelain company of the same name that became popular in the 18th century. This very particular shade of blue sits right on the borderline of pastel "It's a boy!" blue and dove grey, like the color of a summer sky about to be engulfed by a flash storm. Or the shade a grey marl T-shirt would turn if it had an unfortunate spin in the washing machine with a fresh pair of indigo Levi's.
Above you'll see this blue eye shadow shade on the models at the A/W 17 Mary Katrantzou show, where it looked far from old-fashioned. Barber can explain why: "Wedgwood is the most grown-up of the blues and is probably the most wearable as it has more grey in it bringing it nearer to a neutral tone." And it's this underlying neutrality that makes it surprisingly flattering on all skin tones.
It's the slightly off, dirty edge that makes this shade feel up-to-date, as long as you get the application right. First, meticulous skin-prepping is vital, as blue shades can exacerbate the natural grey tones that exist around the eyes—is anyone in the market for making their dark circles look worse? Thought not. "Make sure you correct any natural blue or grey undertones around the eye before you apply it so it doesn't become too bruised," recommends Barber. For this, look for a peachy toned concealer such as MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Palette ($35).
Then when it comes to the application, you have two options: "Wear it as a solo colour block or sheer wash over the eyelids to keep it chic," Barber recommends. A block of dense color is best found in cream-textured products like RMS Beauty Cream Eye Polish ($28), in Inspire or for a wash of color, a soft powder is perfect. Can't find the perfect Wedgwood shade? Simply mix some grey or black powder in with an existing pastel blue eye shadow to make the shade yourself. As for the rest of the face? "Keep the rest pretty neutral and fresh in either fresh pinks or warm taupes and bronzes," Barber adds.
Up next: Is it time to consider wearing blue mascara?