3 Ways To Wear Bold Navy Eye Makeup

Blue doesn’t have to be bright.

Just the thought of wearing blue eye shadow immediately gives me memories of Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show. Her signature caked-on sky blue eye shadow, combined with red lipstick, gave blue shadow (and makeup in general) a bad rap.

One shade of blue that doesn’t deserve a spot in the hard-to-wear-blue-eye-makeup category is navy.

It’s dark, it’s serious, and, since it can be played up or played down, it’s super wearable. I’ve recently been experimenting with the shade, and I’ve found that it can easily brighten up my look without leaving that I’m-obviously-wearing-blue-on-my-face-effect.

Here are three ways I’ve been wearing navy this fall. Find the look that works best for you!

Look 1: Smoky Navy Eyes + Peach Cheeks + Light Brown Lips

Navy makes an awesome smoky eye shade because of its depth. But it can look too harsh worn as an all over wash on the eyelids.

To keep a navy smoky eye wearable, I like to balance it out with a neutral.


  • Apply a shimmering navy, such as Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour Concentrate in Distortion, on your mobile lid using a wet brush.*
  • Glide that same color on your lower lash line using a crease brush.
  • Sweep a matte, medium brown on your crease, just above the navy shadow, extending the brown a bit higher if you have a larger eyelid. I used Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Buck.
  • Lastly, apply a subtle bronze on top of the brown shadow that has been blended out and continue to extend the color to your brow bone. I used the Light Bronze in my Lorac Pro Palette.

*I’ve tried using the shadow dry, and it just doesn’t end up looking as good as it does when applied wet.

To ensure that the smoky eyes remain the focus, I kept the rest of the makeup natural-looking with peach cheeks and light brown lips, because yes, I do wear brown lipstick now.

Look 2: Navy Lined Eyes On Top of Soft Pink Shadow + Neutral Pink Cheeks + Nude Pink Lips

I swapped the usual brown liner I’d wear with this soft pink eye makeup for a navy liner, which brightens and draws the attention to my brown eyes. How-To:

  • Apply a light pink shadow all over your lid, up to the brow bone.
  • Using a mauve shade, contour your crease and blend.
  • Line your upper lash line with an intense navy liner. I used Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in BlackBlue.
  • Line your lower lash line with a bright navy shadow, such as Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Evidence.

Staying with the soft pink theme, I paired this eye makeup with neutral pink blush and a nude pink lip lacquer.

Look 3: Navy Winged Liner + Peach Cheeks + Orange Lips

If you’re looking to make a statement with navy, pair it with complimentary colors in the warm, yellow-orange range. How-To:

  • Apply a warm gold shadow all over your eyelid. This really helps the navy pop.
  • Line and wing your top lash line with a super dark navy liner, such as L’Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner 24 H in Navy.
  • Add a few coats of mascara.

Finishing off the look, I added peach blush and orange lips. Coral also works if orange is too bright for you.

Here are all of the navy products I used, plus swatches.

Ready to try navy? Here are a few of my quick tips.

DO incorporate neutrals like black, gray, or brown when doing navy smoky eyes to keep the look balanced and wearable.

DO go for navy liner instead of a neutral liner when doing soft looks for a subtle, bright-eyed effect, but DON’T go too thick or dramatic since it might overpower your whole look.

DO pair navy with warmer colors like yellow, gold, and orange in your eye makeup to really make the shade stand out. As a cool tone, it will blend in more with cooler shades like gray, purple, and green, but it won’t have the same degree of contrast.

  • How often do you reach for that navy eyeliner or shadow in the bottom of your makeup bag?
  • Any navy eye makeup inspiration images catch your eye lately? Share them in the comments!