Be the main character: 3 Easy Euphoria makeup looks

Isa Medina-Kim wearing silver stars on her face

There are no rules. 

By Samia Abbasi & Isa Medina-Kim

The Euphoria makeup look can be intimidating, we agree. It’s the cool cousin that rocks mint green eyeliner at weddings. It’s the trendy friend who goes viral on social media every other month. But the Euphoria look is also all about a.) self-expression, and b.) playfulness. With splashes of shimmery eyeshadow and swooshes of neon highlight, this look brings out our inner creativity with makeup. 

Yes, you can wear lavender eyeshadow and tiny pearls above your eyebrows to Trader Joe’s. 

Why not? 

A new episode of Euphoria (2019) is coming out this Sunday, December 6th. We wanted to present you with a crash course guide to the Euphoria look with a little bit of media studies: we explore how Euphoria subverts the “evil character wears heavy makeup” TV trope. 

Euphoria character Maddy wearing blue eyeshadow
Maddy from Euphoria (2019)

Equal opportunity: Euphoria subverts character tropes with makeup  

We’ve all seen it before in TV shows. The ‘evil’ character wears heavy eyeliner and bold lipstick, while the ‘good’ character often sports a subdued no makeup - makeup look with light pinks and peaches. Stuti Bhattacharya breaks this down insightfully in her article How Indian TV And Cinema Reduces Women Who Wear More Makeup To Evil Characters. In American media, we’ve seen this play out with Betty (the nice, studious girl-next-door) and Cheryl (the rich, mean cheerleader archetype) in Riverdale (2017). Euphoria takes that trope and flips it upside-down.

In Euphoria, every character—good, bad, or neutral—wears makeup as a means of expressing themselves. 

In other words, the makeup is more about what the look conveys emotionally for the character or what they want to project (i.e. don’t mess with me), rather than fitting the context of where they are or what they’re doing (i.e. the county fair). It’s an equal opportunity situation. The less likable characters and more likable characters all wear unique makeup looks. Euphoria is compelling not solely for the plot line and characters, but also for the foreboding ambiance, creative direction, and stylistic choices. It’s empowering to see high fashion-inspired makeup in such a casual setting like high school.  

Without further ado, here are 3 approachable makeup styles and tips inspired by Euphoria.

Hearts & stars: Seasoned Euphoria fan Isa Medina-Kim shares insider tips on face gems

I started experimenting with the Euphoria look right after the show started airing. After posting some looks on Instagram and TikTok, I got a wild amount of compliments. You’re in the collective of people who have watched Euphoria and respect what you’re doing. What can I say? I’m a Leo; I love that for me. But my favorite reaction was when one day I was wearing jumbo glitter on my face, and a little girl at the supermarket looked at me with wide eyes as if she had seen a Disney princess. Here’s my take on the Euphoria makeup: 

You don't have to do all of it—the eyeliner, the eyeshadow, the gems. You can choose one element and rock it. 

I’m not much of an eyeliner and eyeshadow person. But what I do love is a good star, jumbo glitter, heart, or holographic sticker medley on my face. 

Isa Medina-Kim wearing silvers stars on her face
photo credit: Isa Medina-Kim

I take the face gem and dab on a little bit of eyelash glue (the cheapest kind you can find at Walgreens) and use tweezers to put it on. It can be a great replacement for statement eyeliner—but more forgiving—because you can pick up the face motifs and reposition them. The smaller the piece of glitter, the longer it’ll stay on my face. Even with the sticker gems, I put eyelash glue to ensure it stays on throughout the day. Here are some of my favorite finds from Target and Michael’s to get that look: 

Precautions: Be really careful because these gems aren’t necessarily eye safe, so please try not to rub your eyes! I recommend you spot test anything on a patch of skin first. Also, the eyelash glue doesn’t come off that easily at the end of the day; you might be left with a little patch after taking off the gem. So, I often take a little alcohol wipe and carefully take it off. 

Priyanka Ganjoo’s 5-minute & 5 step duochrome Euphoria look

Priyanka Ganjoo wearing duochrome eyeshadow and gems
photo credit: Priyanka Ganjoo

I’m still learning how much I’ve limited my own self expression by putting myself in the bucket of the 'serious computer science student/ MBA/ business type,' who can’t pull off these cool, unconventional looks. Dabbing into the Euphoria trend was my way of pushing my self-imposed boundaries and living Kulfi’s mission to its fullest. 

Duochrome shades make it easier to do elevated looks with low effort. Here’s how I did this look: 

  1. Pick a focus color and build the look around it. I chose the beautiful VR Fire Opal shade from PatMcGrath Mothership V : Bronze Seduction ($125) palette. It looks green and purple in different light, and that determined my choice of rhinestone colors. 
  2. I used the NicPro self-adhesive rhinestone stickers ($8.99) from Amazon to cut out the extra step of finding glue.
  3. I applied Entrapment from the same palette all over my lid as the base (you can use any base shade), went heavy with the VR Opal on my lids, and popped the Astral Luna Gold in my inner corners.
  4. I applied the Kulfi Beauty kajal in Nazar No More (Black) to give an intense, deep black matte liner look which is stunning.
  5. I finished my look with a coat of Glossier Lash Slick Mascara ($16).

I looked at some inspo images online for where to place the rhinestones. I tried a few placements ‘till I landed on the final look! 

This was so easy that I’m tempted to try it with other fun color combinations in the future. 

Inner corner eyeshadow shimmer will help you embrace your subtle, inner butterfly with Samia Abbasi

Spoiler alert: I don’t have any of these fun gemstones and pearls, but we both know we’re going to get some after reading this post. The inspiration I've gleaned from Euphoria translates into an easy and subtle look for me: I love placing bright or unexpected colors on the inner corners of my eyes. I make sure to prime my eyes with Urban Decay Primer Potion ($13-24) and dab some extra primer in the corners. I then take a bright color and pack it into the inner corners. If it’s a matte shade, I’ll put a bit of champagne or light gold eyeshadow on top. More often than not, I go a little too wild with it and swipe the shimmer on my eyelids. 

I love when the shimmer looks like it's dripping from my tear ducts but in a more everyday, less editorial way. 

This look reminds me of an ethereal butterfly (and a Dance Dance Revolution song called Butterfly by Smile.dk #nichetweets).

Samia Abbasi wearing lavender eyeshadow
photo credit: Samia Abbasi

Here are some eyeshadow colors and shades I love to use:

To complete this look, I recommend a good lengthening and volumizing mascara: Em Cosmetics Pick Me Up ($24) volume + length mascara, ILIA Limitless Lash ($13-28) lengthening mascara, or a drugstore favorite CoverGirl Clump Crusher ($9.99) lash-separating mascara.

Cover photo credit: Isa Medina-Kim, @isamedinakim


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