Fourscore and thirteen years ago, I sat in front of a television awaiting the opening credits of a new series that I was sure would do nothing less than change my life: Girlfriends, a sitcom following the lives of four 20-something black women living, loving and working in Los Angeles. This could be my future!
I was being thoroughly entertained by Maya’s quips and Lynn’s dirty jokes--so much like me!--when these life-unaffirming words were spoken.
“Black women don’t do that, Toni! Like blue eyeshadow... WRONG!”
I scanned the outfit I was wearing--blue and orange sneakers, jeans, a baby-blue t-shirt, blue-and-yellow-striped arm socks--and whimpered. But I love blue, Mara Brock Akil!
Well, just as Girlfriends came to an abrupt end in 2007 (thanks, Writers Guild strike), so shall this notion that we of abundant melanin shouldn’t wear, enjoy and look beautiful in blue eyeshadow.
Navy is as neutral as dark brown, gray or black--haven't you noticed how dark-rinse jeans go with everything?--so it looks fantastic on every skin tone. You can play it safe with a smoky eye, but instead, why not try a more distinct, opaque shape like model Grace Mahary wore for Mary Katrantzou’s Spring 2013 runway show.
My favorite: MAC Eye Shadow in Nehru. It’s pigment-heavy, so a little goes a long way, and as you add more, it blends like a dream.
Sick of navy yet want an equally flattering blue? Cobalt, like L’Oreal Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow in Midnight Blue, looks amazing on darker skin, and stays looking bold and bright all day.
To amp up the drama, add skyscraper-tall fake lashes or layer up your mascara. It's daring, but not clowny--especially if you back it up with confidence.
Icy and light blues are the trickiest, regardless of your skin color, but they can be more accessible when used as accent colors. Pair it with neutrals, like in the Wet n Wild Color Icon Trio palette in On Cloud Nine (the same one I used in my Betty Davis tutorial), or other cool colors, like Kat Graham has done.
FYI, that picture of Kat is from, like, three years ago. I highly recommend Googling her name followed by "eyeshadow." She has worn so many unexpected eyeshadow colors over the last few years, I DEFY YOU to not be inspired to recreate the looks.
I think we can all agree that a life without blue eyeshadow is not worth living, so I fully expect that reading this has pulled many of you from the brink.