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Why You Should Trade Classic Black Eyeliner for Navy Blue Instead

Vogue logo Vogue 8/2/2021 Lauren Valenti
a person looking at the camera © Vogue

Is navy blue eyeliner the new black? It might be an unconventional notion on the eye makeup front, but here's a thought: In terms of classic wardrobe staples, the little black dress and a pair of blue jeans are two of fashion's great equalizers and are similarly versatile, no? Looking ahead to fall, it was the couture runways that got me, a dedicated eyeliner wearer, thinking along these lines.

At Chanel, classic black wings were enhanced with an unexpected lower flick of navy blue pigment while at Dior, makeup artist Peter Philips presented another variation on the color combination, punctuating model gazes with underlines of a “cool, couture midnight blue that is both dense and soft.” The precise shade? The dark indigo shadow from Dior's 5 Couleurs Couture Eyeshadow Palette in Denim, which riffs on the different colors and textures of blue jeans.

Proving that navy can make for an enticing switch-up, celebrity makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, who counts Alicia Keys and Gabrielle Union as clients, recently got "Zoom ready" by smudging on a set of navy blue wings using Chanel's Stylo Yeux pencil in Marine. “I love that just like a classic black liner, navy is timeless,” explains Brown. “The color has long been associated with confidence and authority, so it’s often used in structured things. But I love that while it’s timeless, it also feels like a modern twist to have that subtle pop of color on the eye. I reach for navy when I want to keep the look clean, but with lots of cool factor.”

In terms of zeroing in the right shade on the navy blue spectrum, Brown assures that the color family is universally flattering enough that you can just go with your mood. “Feeling bold? Choose a metallic brighter navy with lots of pop to really draw attention to the eyes,” she says. “Want something more classic but with a modern cool factor? Choose a deep rich navy.” Either way, she tends to pair navy eyeliner with “crisp, soft colors that let the rich tone of navy stand out and be the star of the look,” often augmenting the liner with a clean face and a light flush of pink on the lips and cheeks.

Whether used in tandem with classic back, or all on its own as a virtually interchangeable alternative, navy blue is a reliably chic choice and one to consider as you mull over the perfect new eyeliner for fall. From Brown's go-to Chanel shade to Victoria Beckham Beauty's Satin Kajal Eyeliner's Navy Noir, shop a dozen of our favorite picks, below.

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Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Pencil

$34.00, CHANEL

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Fenty Beauty Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner


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Suratt Artisque Eye Shadow in Lie-De-Vin

$16.00, SURRATT

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Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal Eyeliner


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Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Eyeshadow Palette

$62.00, DIOR

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Charlotte Tilbury Eye Color Magic Liner Duo


© Provided by Vogue

Pat McGrath Labs Permagel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil


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Sisley Paris Phyto-Khol Perfect N°5 Navy


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Jones Road The Best Pencil


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Kjaer Weiss Cream Eye Shadow

$24.00, Kjaer Weiss


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