Thursday, December 19, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of The Blues

When I was a little teenage proto Cassie, I already believed that the realm of makeup was full of unbreakable, inarguable rules, before I ever picked up my first lipstick. You must wear this, but only if X, in which case you must wear Y. You must NEVER wear Z, especially not with W, and on and on and on. I got the impression from my purloined copies of Cosmo and what I could glean from wiser friends that all makeup other than totally neutral, bland looks was "tacky", and obviously I didn't want to be tacky. But these looks were...well, kind of dull. It didn't really seem worth learning all these rules just so I could play with like, four colours of eyeshadow, and two lipsticks. The only payoff I was promised for all this effort, maybe, if I did everything JUST right, was a slightly prettier face. Well, bugger that, I thought. I'd rather read another book than bother with this.

Ironically, I am actually wearing some makeup in this picture.

In my goth phase, I got a little bolder with makeup - and when I say bolder, I mean "used a ton of eyeliner". Even though I was wearing makeup all of a sudden, and wearing quite a lot of it, it was all still black, grey, or silver. For years and years my entire cosmetics collection was an eyeshadow palette with black, grey and silver, another palette with three browns for work, and a mascara. That was it.

I'd lustfully admire bright eyeshadow on other people, but could never bring myself to actually put it on. I was, to be perfectly honest, afraid of looking like an idiot.  Everything I read told me that bold colours were WELL out of my amateur hour league - especially blue. Which sucked, because I really love blue. For some reason everyone likes to jump on blue eyeshadow in particular as an icon of "tacky" makeup, a symbol of all bad makeup decisions ever, and even in articles generally talking it up, the language used is still rather alarming.

Here's a quick sample of the kinds of things people say about this humble coloured powder; Makeup Geek says, "If there's one product that makes makeup artists cringe in terror, it's blue eyeshadow"; InStyle says, "one wrong brush stroke can result in a tacky ’80s aesthetic"; Paula Begoun wrote a whole book called "Blue Eyeshadow Should be Illegal" (admittedly she does cover a lot of things in the book other than blue eyeshadow); The Fashion Spot says "Nothing screams tacky like an ocean blue eyeshadow". Bloody hell. One wrong brush stroke? Cringing in terror? Are we talking about eyeshadow or nuclear waste here?

Personally, I think this hatred of blue eyeshadow, like so many makeup "rules" is total baloney. *I* think, as Faith so beautifully puts it in Buffy, that you should "want, take, have!" If you like blue, go ahead and wear blue! It's not nuclear waste, it's not terrifying, and I think it can look really gorgeous.

These are my favourite, and most used blue shadows right now. I lot, shall we say, of loose eyeshadow at the moment, but these are the blues that I keep reaching for again and again.

From right to left we have Dreamstate, an incredibly pigmented Egyptian blue from Femme Fatale Cosmetics; Matriarch, the absolute perfect Asari blue from Geek Chic Cosmetics*; and Robot Takeover, a shimmery metallic blue from Eccentric Cosmetics. I made sure to take one in the sun as well so you can see how delightfully shiny they are in different light.

I could only fit three swatches on my arm at once, so here are the other two colours I wanted to include in this little Best Of selection. From top to bottom we have Future Is A Choice, a sheer grey-blue duochrome from Eccentric Cosmetics; and Attercop Attercop, an incredible dark, spark filled navy from Shiro Cosmetics.

And here are some fun looks I put together using this little bundle of beautiful blues! Apologies in advance for all the different lighting in these, by the way. I took them before work each day last week, so the lighting was unfortunately up to how the sun was feeling each day.

This look is Dreamstate in the corners and into the crease, with Matriarch all over the lid. I also added a teensy touch of Future is a Choice under the outer corners. Admittedly, this is a pretty intense look - but I find it much more interesting than my old standard black and grey smoky eye.

This look is so incredibly simple to do, but I think looks really fancy. I just used Robot Takeover all over the lid, dabbed a teeny bit of Attercop Attercop in the corners and crease, and then added a dash of liquid liner. Bam, good to go!

The next look is a tiny bit more fiddly, but I was really, really happy with how it came out. I started with Future is A Choice all over the lid, and added a teeny bit of Dreamstate in the corners, before using Matriarch as a DIY liquid liner. If you haven't used loose eyeshadow as a liquid liner before, it is SUPER easy. You just need foiling medium (I use Rhadala's, Napoleon Perdis have a good one as well, or you can also make your own), nice bright loose shadow or pigment, and a liner brush.
This liner brush is from my trusty Ecotools set - you need one that's small, thin, and not fluffy
Just pop a couple of drops of this on the back of your hand - always err on the side of not
putting out enough, rather than flooding your hand. 

Dip your brush in the shadow or pigment, and smush it into the foiling medium until
you've got a blob of nice thick paste.
Once you've mixed up your paste, just dip your brush in and dab it carefully along your lash line. I find it's easiest to not get it everywhere if you do a series of close together dots, then go back and connect them. Unlike black liquid liner, using a bolder version of your lid colour as an eyeliner means the edges are a little bit more forgiving. If it's a little bit wonky, it's nowhere near as obvious, and I find I have much more control with a decent sized brush instead of a teeny liquid liner wand.

 And here's the result! I think even the most colour shy person could pull this off, and I'd be curious to see what it looks like on someone with brown eyes.

And now I set the challenge to you, my dear readers! Show me your blues, and show me how you use them! I wanna see all the awesome stuff people who compare blue eyeshadow to international disaster are missing out on!

* Matriarch seems to have been removed from Geek Chic's lineup, much to my disappointment, but Portal Blue seems to be the closest they have currently.


  1. Replies
    1. You know, if you keep leaving comments like this people are going to think there's something going on between us ;)

  2. Awesome, I love blue but never been brave enough to pull off blue eye shadow....but I think I should give it a try. Thanks :)

  3. I love blue and am determined to make it work. I somehow am never satisfied with the results so far. The best luck I've had is with very light blues that lean turquoise.
    I do love my Bobbi Brown blue eyeliner, but it's not exactly bright.
    I will ponder and attempt a blue look just for you!!

  4. I wish I could show my blue eyeshadows, but this colour refuses to work with my skintone. Sky-blue to navy-blue they all fail and like my beloved violet, I can only admire them on others.

  5. I'm a big fan of blue eyeshadow. I have brown eyes and very dark brown hair, and I've always thought blue looks pretty damn good on me! I tend toward either pastel blue (much like your last look here which I'm loving) or navy.
    I recently got the BSOD eyeshadow from Pretty Serious and it's SO bright, I can't wait to play around with it!

  6. I love all the bright eyeshadows! Matriarch and N7 (bright red) were two from Geek Chic's Mass Effect line I thought I'd never use, but I adore them and get compliments pretty much every time I wear them. Life's too short to wear boring makeup—as you well know.


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