Veronica Webb
Photo: Marc Cornwall (@Marc_Cornwall)

All praises due to fashion and beauty rule breaker Rihanna, our triple-threat superstar songstress, fashion designer and makeup mogul who redefined the makeup game again this year at Coachella. Thanks to her, blue eye shadow is officially a thing again this spring.

The trend was kicked off back in B.C. times; think Cleopatra, when the Egyptians invented beauty. Thousands of years later, women with dark eyes and brown skin tones still swipe on azure hues to bring out their natural radiance and cast a spell of Black Girl Magic as fast as you can say “Abracadabra.”

I am a firm believer that if you want to try a trend or look you love but can’t wear day to day, play with it and perfect it at a price that’s nice. Makeup artist Marc Cornwall did the drugstore haul for this story and let me know, “Maybelline came through, girl!”

Yes it did, with the City Mini Palette in Concrete Runway. For $9.99 plus tax—the price of the six-color shadow kit—we took it home and got to work.

Here’s what you’ll need to get the look:

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First I laid down a base shadow on my eye in a neutral beige and used brown shadow to accentuate the crease of my eyelid. Cornwall recommends prepping the lid lightly with the neutral shadows to provide a guideline—think coloring book outline. They help make precise placement of the more intense colors easier, especially if you’re not used to working with them.

Wet n Wild’s Pro Liner Graphic Marker eyeliner is the cat’s meow for no-fuss liner looks with big drama, shaped like a big highlighter pen with a fat angled tip. After you draw the line across the lashes to get the perfect flirty feline-shaped eye, all you need to do is touch the pen to the outer corners of the lids. The angled shape of the pen—with just a dab placed at the last lash, closest to the temple—perfectly re-creates the artful flick of the wrist, which normally takes many mornings of practice in front of the mirror to perfect. All in all, it allows you to get the look without the time or frustration of cleaning up mistakes.

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Next—and this was a makeup-artist tip that surprised even me, to be honest—Marc instructed me to “Get in there with your finger, girl!” to apply the blue shadow to the lid. Why? “Frosted shadows work better when applied with your finger. They go on true to color,” he said. Brushes pick up color and disperse shadow throughout the individual bristles, lessening the intensity of the color when it goes on the skin.

On the other hand (pun intended), due to body heat and the natural oils in your skin, applying makeup with your fingers provides a much more intense effect. “Makeup artists call this ‘packing on color,’” says Cornwall.

Think finger painting vs. painting with a brush, and you get the idea. Using your finger, gently spread the color evenly over the entire lid, but be mindful not to go above the brown shading on the crease.

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Now that the lid is finger painted, grab a tapered brush for blending. Ombre is key to making blue eye shadow work. To blend correctly, Marc Cornwall advises “fluffing” the color, applying little to no pressure to the tapered brush in quick, gentle, upward strokes. The objective is to soften the line between the blue shadow on the lid and the crease.

Be careful not to disturb the color you’ve deposited with your fingers on the lid so that it retains its status as a statement color and remains rich and pure. Instead, feather the color up toward the brow bone until it fades to being almost imperceptibly there.

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Even good girls get the blues: Here’s the finished look.
Photo: Marc Cornwall (@Marc_Cornwall)

With a small sponge applicator (which comes with Maybelline’s eye shadow kit), use the pearl-white shade in the palette to start at the arch of the brow and sweep the color underneath the brow. Clean your tapered brush by gently wiping back and forth on a piece of tissue until no product is visible, then blend the highlight color downward to meet the blue shadow—and you have a look!

Add yourself a lash (read The Glow Up’s “How to Get Some Big-Ass Lashes in 3 Moves” tutorial if you missed it), then mascara, and you’re ready for a RiRi-worthy weekend!