t’s a little-known fact that the ancient Greeks had no word for the color blue. In fact, the color was unknown to almost all ancient civilizations (with the exception of ancient Egypt). Now, this does not necessarily mean they did not see blue in nature, just that they had nothing to call it. Blue is the last word to develop linguistically across basically every language.
This time gap has to do mainly with the rarity of the ultramarine blue pigment lapus lazuli, and since the Egyptian Azurite recipe was lost for many years, the production of blue things via blue dye was scarce. This scarcity created a lasting impression on the history of art. Blue was considered to be as valuable a material as gold. During the proto-Renaissance, seeing blue in a fresco or a painting carried the impression of divine wealth.
Today, blue is still relatively rare in beauty, which makes it all the more powerful. Bright pinks and reds can be bold, but their established dominance means they can’t make nearly as strong a statement as blue can. To write off blue makeup as the cheap sparkly eyeshadow from Claire’s we all had when we were 13 (and wore way too much of) is to underestimate its potential sophistication. There are blue products across the industry which can be incorporated into our beauty arsenals to infuse any routine with a touch of cool. So, let’s channel our inner Yves Kliens and embrace the blues.
A blue nail polish is a great way to ease into the shade, and when paired with the right jewelry, nails can be an accessory in their own right. Debora Lipman’s Gel Lab Pro in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes ($20) is a perfect smokey, deep blue just shy of navy and this formula seriously does not chip. It is the blue equivalent of a mauve, and it is flawless. I knew a girl who worked in vintage for Ralph Lauren, and she always had that 70s Americana vibe down. She would stack vintage silver/turquoise jewelry over lightwash denim outfits in the summer, and she was effortlessly cool incarnate. Her nails were perpetually Essie’s Turquoise and Caicos ($9) and I every time I wear it, I channel the 70s. Finally, special shout out to Smith & Cult’s Bitter Buddhist ($18), and O.P.I’s Russian Navy - one can never go wrong with either of these divine colors to draw attention, and no doubt compliments.
As for eyes, blue tinted lids and lash-lines make their own beauty statement, à la Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra. For a more subtle, wearable look, I turn to Marc Jacobs’ Twinkle Pop stick eyeshadow in Shoshanna ($28). The self proclaimed “teal mermaid” goes on wet, shimmery, and subtle. Glide it over your eyelid, and blend with your finger for a buildable blue sheen. I sometimes blend it with an oyestery hue around my outer eye, using Twinkle Pop in Au Revoir, for an easy beachy take on a subdued smokey eye. For a bright, bold line, Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliners ($7-$12) come in many shades of blue, teal, turquoise, and navy.
When it comes to the lips, I have never jumped on the straight up blue lipstick trend. However, for those more inclined, most major liquid matte lipstick brands, (MAC, Kylie, Too Faced, Kat Von D to name a few) have produced popular blue hues. For an everyday, universally flattering blue lip product, I turn to my all time favorite lipstick brand, Lipstick Queen. When my mom, another Lipstick Queen devotee, gave me the Hello Sailor shade for Christmas, I was skeptical. It melts onto your lips, and develops into a beautiful berry glow. It is incredibly subtle, sheer, and allegedly, cool tones on the lips can make your teeth look whiter.
Blue is no longer as rare a color to come across as it was in the ancient times, but even with its modern accessibility, it has yet to be embraced by all beauty routines. Rather than fear its difference from our comfortable reds and pinks, we should strive to mesmerize through blue hues. What better way to embrace color than through our beauty?