For a Chic Twist on a Neutral Look, Try Pairing Dark Blue Eyeshadow With Dark Blue Nails, and Use the Shadow as a Liner

Published in: Chanel, Dior, Eyes, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Nails, NARS

Blue liner and nails with NARS Giove and Chanel Orage

Here I’m doing a Vulcan mind meld on myself… Kidding. I’m wearing Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Giove as a liner on my lash lines and Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Orage on my claws.

QUESTION: Why use a blue eyeshadow instead of a blue liner?

ANSWER: Why not?


Picture it: dark blue liner coupled with super deep, dark, almost black nails, only, instead of using a pencil, gel or liquid liner, you use a powder eyeshadow.

NARS Giove and Chanel Orage

Incidentally, that’s Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Petal on my lips.

Do you ever just get stuck in a rut and feel like you’re wearing nothing but brown and beige? Feel like trying something different but don’t want to go over the top?

I’m always looking for ways to keep things interesting for myself, especially when it comes to wearable makeup looks — ideally chic and wearable, but not totally snooze-worthy, if you catch my drift.

One day I decided to pair dark blue liner with dark blue claws, and the first thing I thought when I finished was, “Why haven’t I done this before?”

Seriously, though, why use a blue eyeshadow as a liner instead of an actual blue liner?

NARS Duo-Intensity Eyeshadow in Giove

Ciao, NARS Giove!

Using a dark blue eyeshadow as a liner, instead of a dark blue pencil, gel or liquid eyeliner, creates a more diffused edge, so the overall effect looks softer.

I’ve done it with lots of different liner styles, too, like spicy cat eye looks, and even soft washes of color, where the liner is smudged along my upper and lower lash lines.

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a blurred edge (and the accompanying less attention to detail).

Just for fun: add dark blue nails

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Orage, $27

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Orage, $27

I like seeing the flash of dark blue on my fingers whenever I tuck my bangs behind my ears or push my (nerdy Gamma Ray computer glasses) up.

And it think it sort of reinforces the blue liner, too. You know, more blue.

I also like how the softer liner contrasts with the harder edge of the dark blue nails, so you also have that contrasty thing going.

I call this liner look the Tabby T-1000 (after the liquid metal Terminator from T2)

NARS Giove and Chanel Orage

I’m wearing a blend of two Chanel Joues Contraste blushes — Innocence and Malice — on my cheeks, coupled with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Give Me Sun used as a bronzer, and Hourglass Ambient Powder in Luminous Light used as a highlighter

For this cat liner look, I applied metallic dark blue NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Giove ($29) with an angled brush.

First, I applied it dry to create the shape of the cat eye and get that softer edge. Then I wet the brush head, dipped it back into the pan, and applied the shadow on my lash line close to the lashes, to sort of intensify the metallic finish and crete a subtle gradient.

You could definitely keep it simpler by picking one — just wet or just dry — but ya know. I’m just saying.

NARS Duo-Intensity Eyeshadow in Giove

NARS Duo-Intensity Eyeshadow in Giove, $29

The new $29 NARS Dual-Intesity Eyeshadows look great when applied wet or dry. Giove here is one of 12 shades. I love using them as liners, among other ways, because of how little fallout they exhibit and how easy they are to smudge. They’re available now at NARS counters and also online.

For this look, I went with metallic, but I’d love to see someone go with a matte. It really depends on what effect you’re aiming for.

For something fun and lively, I like metallics on my lash lines, but I bet a deep dark blue matte would look super cool, too — and more “serious.”

Tip: try a different finish on your lids

With whatever finish I choose for my lash lines, I kind of like using a different finish on my lids.

You know, it’s the whole contrasty thang. Like here on my lids I’m wearing a very subtle satin finish shadow with hardly any shimmer, because I want the focus to go right to the metallic lash line.

I’m using a light peachy tan shadow (Dior’s Diorshow Mono in Grege, $29), which I think plays well with the blue.

And the dueling finishes give another dimension to the overall look — again, without hitting you over the head.

I like dramatic makeup, but I also appreciate subtle touches, too. πŸ™‚

Dark blue nails: cream or metallic?

OK! So, for my nails, I choose a cream finish this time to contrast with the metallic liner.

Some alternatives…

Here I’m wearing two layers of a dark blue, almost black, Chanel polish called Orage, from their fall collection, but there are lots of similar colors out there — definitely close enough for a look like this.


OPI makes a super sturdy one called Incognito in Sasualito, and it’s only $9.

Speaking of similar, for the dark eyeshadow, here are a couple of drugstore options: deep blue metallic Sonia Kashuk Eye Duo in Girl’s Night Out ($7.29) or dark matte blue NYX Nude Matte Shadow in In the Buff for a dark matte blue ($4.50).

I hope you give it a try! If you do, I’d love to see a pic.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 29 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Heather USA says:

    Giove is gorgeous.

  2. Alison M says:

    I adore Giove and am having so much fun playing with it! I got out of my neutral norm recently and chose a deep smoky eye with Giove and Sycorax. Good stuff! Have you worn Urban Decay Blackheart from Naked 3 as liner? Swoon-worthy.

    Blue-black nails are my favorite (though smoky blues are a close second) and I’m always on the look out for new shades to try. I generally opt for cream across the board, but for blue-black I make exceptions for metallic.
    Alison M recently posted … Looking for a Muse

    • Karen says:

      Nice! How did you work it? Sycorax on the lid with Giove as the transition shade? Hmmm, I think I see that combination in my immediate makeup future…

      • Alison M says:

        I did one smoky look inspired by Jessica Alba with only Sycorax. So much goodness! The other had beige toward the inner corner, Giove across the rest of the lid, Sycorax to line and then deepen the outer corner. I’m thinking the next step is to try these over cream bases. Eye Paints are first up!

  3. 80sChicwithglasses says:

    I’m definitely a fan of this look. I’ve been wearing colored shadow as liner a lot last year. I work in a school and never felt that I could wear lots of color on my lids, so I pulled out my angled liner brush one day and ran it along my lash line. I love it and it’s fun for days that I feel colorful, but can’t wear it to work. I love the suggestion of a gradient effect, so I’m definitely going to try that. Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome.

      Oh, have I told you lately how awesome your handle is? πŸ˜€

      Question for you. Which angled liner brush are you using? Do you like it? Right now I’m using the NARS one (which is pretty epic), but I’m always looking for a new brush fix. πŸ™‚

      • 80sChicwithglasses says:

        Lol, glad you like it. I’ve tried a bent liner brush a few years back, but I don’t care for them. They seem hard to control in my opinion. I actually have 3 liner brushes (guilty indulgence). I use the MAC 211 when I want a thicker line (mostly for eyeshadow liner) and the MAC 266 for a thin line of gel liner. I used the MAC 212 to tightline when I was first figuring things out, but I opt out from that now since it’s less time consuming.

  4. fancie says:

    What a beautiful look! The blue liner really makes it pop. I totally want that shadow now lol
    fancie recently posted … Lipstick Binge!

  5. Natalie says:

    I love this look Karen! It’s killer. I love using NARS Ubangi for blue liner but that’s more of a glitter finish and I am loving the new Dual Intensity shadows so I may need to add this one to my growing collection.
    Natalie recently posted … Make Up For Ever 250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush Puts the Meow in Cat Liner

    • Karen says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Ubangi is really pretty. I have it and use it sometimes as a base. If you end up grabbing Giove you could probably layer the two! I bet that would look really pretty.

  6. Lisa says:

    Giove looks lovely! I’ve been into blue eyeshadow as liner lately too! I’ve been using Sugarpill’s royal sugar wet and pairing it with an Urban Decay Anarchy lip. Or for those wonder woman days, with a Bite Pomegranate lip.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa,

      “Wonder Woman Days” — NICE! I will have to try a similar look soon with my blue liner. πŸ™‚

      Oh! So I found another cool trick to do with dark blue eyeshadow that you might want to try with your Sugarpill color. Use it as a base for a shimmery teal. It looks super cool!

  7. This metallic blue looks best on your eyes.. I have tried matte blue eye shadow as liner but I must say metallic looks way better.. πŸ™‚

    I agree with you.. I like the diffused look of eye shadows as liner over the stark blue eye liners.. πŸ™‚

    Your 2nd pic here is mesmerising,.. <3
    Poo@beautyandmakeupmatters recently posted … Eye Makeup Tutorial: Gothic Green

  8. Chelsea says:

    Gorgeous! Love the shimmer/reflectiveness of the NARS shadow!

    I need to buy some eyeshadow. Got rid of my older ones, and now I’m lacking colors!

  9. Agata says:

    This is such a stunning look. I absolutely love this dark blue color. Now I might have to get this eyeshadow. Your nails look super pretty too!
    Agata recently posted … How to summer proof your makeup.

  10. Erica says:

    Oh my goodness Karen! That blue e/s is gorgeous! I was planning on adding Nars China Blue e/s as part of my birthday haul (July 6) but I think I “need” Giove instead. I too like eyeshadows as liners.

  11. mari says:

    This is great Karen! I cant wait to get my hands on the new shadows from Nars
    I will definetly be “borrowing ” this look!

  12. Divya says:

    Oh yes this is stunning look! πŸ˜€ I am so lusting over the lipstick though! Prettyy!!
    Divya recently posted … How’s June Been | Favorite Things From the Month

  13. Eesha says:

    Giove eye shadow is so pretty and totally loved the look. πŸ˜€
    Eesha recently posted … Review: Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid in Sunkissed

  14. Giove is so stunning! I love that it defines your eye but isn’t your typical brown or black. I wasn’t that interested in the new NARS shadows, but now after seeing Giove on your lids, that is definitely on my wish list! How does Giove wear on you as an eyeliner, Karen? Most eyeliners tend to smudge on me; I haven’t tried using eye shadow as an eyeliner much.
    Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup recently posted … YSL Kiss and Blush Review (#1 Fuschia Desinvolte, #4 Orange Fougueux, #8 Pink Hedoniste, #12 Mocha Garconne)

  15. Domestic Goblin says:

    What a great idea Karen! The Nars Giove looks lovely but slightly out of my price range, am thinking of getting MAC Contrast or Deep Truth instead – what do you think? πŸ™‚

  16. purelmo says:

    What a coincidence! Last night I painted my nails with dark blue (OPI Roadhouse Blues) on the right and dark purple (OPI Vant to Bite My Neck) on the left and this morning I decided to go with a dark metallic blue eyeliner to match my nails. I almost did a purple on one eye and blue on the other but figured it’d be too much for work lol!

  17. Iris says:

    This is a great makeup look, and I love those colours!

  18. Sylirael says:

    I wish I had a good dark blue shadow! I have UD’s pencil liner in Sabbath, and I love it, but especially on my vampire skin it’s quite severe. I also definitely need to try the powder shadow line (with a wet brush) more!

    Love this look on you Karen, and love those nails!
    Sylirael recently posted … Why is the Rogue Turning Pink? Could Be That Laura Mercier Lipstick, Lip Pencil and Lip Glace Loot!

  19. Kim says:

    Blues always look good on you and I love the pattern in the pan of Giove.

  20. Ruta says:

    A wonderful alternative to this is a dark purple shade in nail varnish. It’s edgy but still tame enough to rock in the office and look professional. And purple is surprisingly easy to pull off no matter the skin tone! πŸ™‚
    Gotta say I’ve been addicted once I tried it (being too much of a wuss for black nail varnish) well that and burgundy but I’ve always been a sucker for that one πŸ˜€

  21. Ra says:

    Omg Karen, you’re looking more beautiful than ever. What’s the secret??

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