The tide has long been turning on the singular, sculpted vision of beauty that dominated the past few years. Where eyeshadow-by-numbers, razor-sharp contouring and pillowy nude lips once reigned supreme, the post-pandemic mood is a more creative one, with a new, unrestricted take on glamour coming to the fore.
If our shifting stance on beauty standards was the spark, the disruption of the past year was the catalyst that helped bring about this exciting new approach to make-up. The global pandemic pushed the traditional trend cycle firmly off track, meaning this summer’s beauty feels unusually light-hearted.
Now, we’re remembering the joy of primary hues and paintbox brights, with one colour in particular proving popular: if maximalist make-up is the new agenda, the starting point has to be blue. The breakout star of the summer, sales of blue eyeshadows are booming across the board. MAC has seen 250 per cent growth in sales of its cornflower Tilt eyeshadow – a true ’90s staple – with the likes of Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid bringing the shade to a generation too young to remember Christina Aguilera‘s icy frosted lids.
Terry Barber, director of make-up artistry at MAC credits our new hunger for glamour as the driving force behind blue eyeshadow’s resurgence. “It’s once again being recognised as a key element to new glamour, whether that’s wearing blue as a Noughties-inspired sheer wash, a painterly pop, or a full-on jewel-textured disco glam.”
If blue’s ‘bad taste’ reputation remains ingrained in your mind, there are modern ways to embrace the trend, too. “Blue eyeshadow in the past has always divided opinion, mostly viewed as something comedic and ironic rather than beautifying – often associated with sitcom caricatures, pageant princesses and Abba tribute bands” says Barber.
“The new approach has more of a cool, chic sensibility to it with subtle tinted textures and more considered shades, with options ranging from a duck-egg wash to a shimmery jewelled teal. Blue eyeshadow can now be understated freshness or it can be high glamour. What it doesn’t have to be is simply retro. ”
For a new take on blue, try skipping the shimmer in favour of a sapphire liner, which makes a chic alternative to black. Chanel’s new Stylo Yeux collection contains the perfect hue. Victoria Beckham knows how to make blue a polished proposition: her Smoky Eye Brick in Royal contains a sublime matte navy, while her Lid Lustre in Midnight delivers a multi-faceted shimmer. Use Dior’s On Stage Liner to trace a flick of cobalt, or delve into MAC’s sprawling archive of eyeshadow singles to find the shade that speaks to you. The neutrals can wait – it’s time for something new.