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The Makeup Maniac

The Makeup Maniac: Why blue is the new black

April 6th 2017 / Anna Hunter / 0 comment


Wean yourself off the black kohl and practice some blue sky thinking; once you see the effect on your eyes you won’t regret it…

Before you run for the hills, let me present a case for switching your usual black mascara for blue. Or rather, I’ll get a bonafide professional makeup sensation such as Lisa Potter-Dixon to do that for me, just so you’re fully convinced:

“Blue mascara is my thing. I rock it most days. No, I don’t have an obsession with the 80s, but I do have an obsession with brighter, whiter looking eyes. And that’s exactly what blue mascara does. It’s bold enough to wear alone, and can boost the look of your eye colour with one sweep.”

Lisa isn’t the only tastemaking makeup artist to be bigging up blue at the current time either. The legendary Pat McGrath is on the cusp of launching a glimmering, spacey blue themed collection, and if her rich, bold, blue-hued work backstage at Victoria Beckham SS17 and Miu Miu AW2017 are anything to go by, a cosmetic rhapsody in blue is upon us.


Instagram @patmcgrathreal

Just because good things comes in threes, the equally illustrious Lisa Eldridge also backs blue as a flattering makeup option, particularly in its navy variant, declaring it chic and especially amazing when worn on brown eyes. To clarify, I’m focusing on eyes in this column, predominantly because blue lips etc. tend to come off a bit ‘Jack from Titanic’ “at the ‘never let go, Jack” stage. Fine for Pat, a bit tricky IRL, although Lipstick Queen Hello Sailor Lipstick, £22, is a different kettle of fish altogether; think sheer and imperceptible yet transformative in terms of deepening your natural lip colour and making your teeth look a good few shades whiter.


As Lisa Potter-Dixon highlights, the same logic applies to eyes in terms of blue’s illuminating effects; if you need to nix red-eye or look a bit sleep-deprived, blue can give you an eye-widening jolt back to life with very little effort on your part. As a grown woman going about her daily business, you probably don’t want to veer off into electric blue territory too often, which is why I am offering up blue of the midnight variety to mix things up at a lower level. Game? Here are some ways to work blue into your makeup routine while keeping it modern.

As a liner

A perk when using a coloured liner is that you needn’t feel the pressure to execute an immaculate cat eye- the fact that you’re adding interest in terms of shade means that keeping things straightforward shapewise delivers impact in itself. Lisa Potter-Dixon tells it like it is:

“Line the lashline. Keep said line simple. No flick required.”

Again, great news comes in threes. The fact that this kind of liner requires zero acrobatic moves on your part is all the more reason to consider deep blue as a daytime option. Plus the ‘looking less tired’ thing is incentive enough to join the navy, if you catch my drift. For extra intensity, layer it over your usual black liner.


The equipment: Smashbox Always On Gel Eyeliner, £18. Launched earlier this year, it comes on strong, stays that way and is available in a host of grown up blue hues. To nail navy, try Private.

As a shadow

Whether diffused or more inky, a shot of midnight blue can make whimsical watercolour shadow look both edgy and elegant, and add an ultra eye-popping element to a smokey eye. Make like Olivia Munn and try strong colour on the bottom lashline, softened out at the edges, or smoosh a more sheer metallic cream over lids for a low effort makeup update. If you’re feeling brazen, go full McGrath and embrace a holographic or glitter finish.


Instagram @oliviamunn

Keep the focus at the centre of lids to make eyes look bigger, and keep glitter close to the lash line for added dazzle when you blink. Heed Lisa Potter-Dixon’s words on ensuring that you don’t stray into 80s powersuit territory, and whatever you do don’t take it anywhere near your brows:

“Keep skin dewy and lips nude to make this all about the eyes.”

The equipment: For a metallic-lite effect, new L’Oréal Infallible Eye Paint in Infinite Blue, £5.99, is a handy option; the wand can be used to create minimalist liner, a transparent smudge of colour or even dabbed at the end of lashes for ‘je ne sais quoi’ impact.


Equally versatile is The Estée Edit Metallishadow Creme and Powder in Wild Cosmos, £17. With a pot of matte creme navy shadow and a separate loose foil powder in the same shade, you can create everything from barely there liner to full-on, layered glitter lids. Get arty with an arsenals of brushes or dab glitter at the outer corners with your ring finger if precision isn’t your bag.


As mascara

The final frontier in blue eye makeup, blue lashes may initially seem like the ‘blue rinse’ equivalent for eyes, but hold your horses, as dialling down the shade to navy or something like it will barely register to onlookers, yet will serve to make your eye colour look richer and your whites more twinkly. The brightest tone you should go for on the daily is royal blue (incidentally Princess Diana was a blue mascara believer), to save yourself from 80s PE teacher connotations- sometimes even Di got lost in the blue.

The equipment: Eyeko has recently relaunched the much-loved Black Magic Mascara in Midnight Blue, £19, for spring, so just in time to make us look full of the joys of the new season, even if we’re not feeling quite so springy in a literal sense. With rich but still subtle colour payoff, a tubing waterproof formula to guarantee no blue tears, plus conditioning shea butter, it’s as refined as blue mascara comes.


Lisa’s Potter-Dixon’s new book The Makeup Manual, (Ryland Peters & Small, £14.99), is available for pre-order and will go on sale on 13th April

Want to nail a blue smokey eye? Follow Mary Greenwell’s lead in this makeup tutorial

Follow Lisa Potter-Dixon on Instagram @lisa_benefit and Anna @annyhunter

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