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10 Looks That Prove The Neon Makeup Trend Is Back—And Better Than Ever


Raise a hand if SPF and tinted moisturizer has been the extent of your beauty routine? Same. As much as it pains us, eye makeup looks and neon colors just haven’t seemed to fit in with the sweatpant-powered outfit du jour...or TBH worth the effort when the only creature who sees our artistry has four paws and drinks water out of a bowl. Don’t worry—relief is around the corner! And hold onto your boots, because after a year of feeling pretty meh about our routines, color isn’t just slowly creeping back in—it’s busting the door down with vibrant shades of neon (yes, NEON) pigments that’ll bring a much-needed shock to the system. With splashes of color hitting the runways and the rise of Euphoria-inspired makeup, the neon makeup trend is making a 2021 comeback in a major way and we are so here for it.

Before we totally scare you off, today’s neon makeup isn’t the ’80s nightmare you might be picturing—it can be understated, subtle, and seriously chic. Whether it's a casual pop of color or an all-out vibrant blush moment, it’s easy to make this trend suit your style. So, grab your brightest products (eyeliner, lipstick, eyeshadow, lip gloss!) and try something outside-the-box—even if it's just for an audience of yourself and maybe a furry companion, too. We promise, it’s good for the soul. Need some inspo? Here are 10 looks you’ll want to bookmark.

About the Expert:

Esther Foster is a Los-Angeles based makeup artist with a passion for creating glowy skin finishes and a portfolio spanning fashion, celebs, and magazines.

1. Aqua Cut Crease

Close-up of a model rocking an aquamarine cut crease eye makeup look

With the rise of Euphoria-inspired makeup, our IG feeds are flooded with creative graphic liner designs. The key to achieving this edgy look? “Don’t worry too much about the line being perfect—cotton swabs are your best friends,” says makeup artist Esther Foster. Take a cream liner (any shade works!) and draw out a line above your crease, but following the natural curvature of your crease—flicking out slightly toward the outer edge. If you need to clean up your line, just use a cotton swab dipped in a little makeup remover. Once you’re happy with your line, top your line using an angled liner brush and a matching shadow. This will help intensify the color and set it in place—win, win!

2. Inner Corner Gold

Close-up of a Black model rocking a gold inner corner eye makeup look and orange lips

Yellow-gold shadow, orange lip, sunny perfection. For this look, you’ll want to have the bold makeup dream team: A cream color base and matching eyeshadow. Apply a yellow cream base to your lids, focusing on the inner corners and gently blend it up toward the brow and out toward the middle of your lid. Then, pat a shimmery gold on top to seal the look. To add a little drama, top off your look with a black liner and orange lip. Want to keep it lowkey? Just add a little mascara (BENEFIT COSMETICS They're Real Magnet Mascara is our current fave) and let your gold shadow shine by itself.

3. Diffused Pink Shimmer

Close-up of a smiling model rocking a shimmery pink eyeshadow look and nude lips

When picking out a neon shade to work with, you’ll want to pay attention to your undertones. “I personally like opposites, so cool colors look great on warm skin tones and the other way around,” says Foster. So for cooler undertones, you’ll want to opt for a pink eyeshadow that leans toward peach or coral. Warm undertones? Opt for a cooler pink with blue undertones. Pack the shadow onto your lids and blend slightly above the crease—no need to go fancy, the diffused effect makes this eye look sing. Add a pop shimmer (if you’re feeling fancy!) to the inner corners and you’re all set.

For a solid range of rosy matte and shimmers, the HUDA BEAUTY Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette has everything you need.

4. Bold Purple Lids

Close-up of a Black model rocking a shimmery purple eyeshadow look

If you’re not on team pink, it’s all about the purple. “Don’t be afraid of color! Makeup is supposed to be fun and if you don’t like it, just wipe it off,” Foster reminds us. Using a cream color in a similar shade as your eyeshadow, apply the base onto lids with a concealer brush—or your fingers, no need to be perfect here— then with a smaller, flat brush, pat the matching powder shadow on top. Finish with a clean blending brush to buff out the edges. Since this look is all about the eyes, keep the rest of the face fairly minimal—like a clear balm or a conditioning lip treatment for extra moisture.

5. Slime Green

Alison Brie rocking an edgy neon green eye makeup look
Photo by David Livingston / Stringer/Getty Images

Quite possibly the coolest take on neon green is this particular slime shade. A little bit ’90s Nickelodeon nostalgia, a little bit high fashion—this neon lime shadow on Alison Brie lights up her entire look. It’s all that and a bag of chips in a very chic way.

6. Graphic Teal Liner

Leyna Bloom rocking a graphic blue and white eyeliner makeup look
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz / Stringer/Getty Images

Chromat isn’t just known for their bold, inclusive swimwear, the models that rock their shows sport everything we love about playful makeup—graphic liquid liner shapes, bold shadows, and the confidence that pulls it off. Case in point: A two-toned liner that looks fab on and off the runway.

7. Watercolor Effect

Close-up of Halsey rocking a neon pink and blue eyeshadow look
Photo by Rich Fury / Staff/Getty Images

We. Stan. Halsey. From her exciting new beauty line ABOUT-FACE BEAUTY to her IG feed that’s full of inspo, she is a creative force. This ethereal eye look is like an IRL painting with shades of turquoise, magenta, and orange in brush-like strokes. And the little face gems? We die.

If this look is your vibe, you’ll def want to check out the VIOLET VOSS Essentials 2 Eye Shadow Palette.

8. Vibrant Orange Lip

Tracee Ellis Ross rocking a matte purple eyeshadow look paired with orange lips
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

While we love red and pink lipstick, there’s something about a fiery orange that is well...straight fire. Tracee Ellis Ross pulled a double-whammy with her tangerine matte lip that’s perfectly paired with grape shadow. Safe to say, we’ll be recreating this ASAP.

9. Ambient Neon Pink

Lucy Boynton rocking a neon pink eyeshadow look and bold red lips
Photo by Emma McIntyre / Staff/Getty Images

Is it blush? Is it shadow? Do we care? Nope. Do we love it? Absolutely. The vibrant pink shade sits at the highest point of Lucy Boynton’s cheekbones and radiates up and above her brow bone—creating an aura that is romantic and otherworldly.

10. Bold Marigold

Margot Robbie rocking a yellow eyeshadow look and nude pink lips
Photo by John Phillips / Stringer/Getty Images

If we had to pick one, we’d say that yellow shadow is *the* shade of spring. Sitting somewhere between a muted mustard and a neon yellow, the sunshine-y shade on Margot Robbie is incredibly wearable when complemented with a hint of blush and a barely-there lip.

Ready to take on the world of bold new makeup? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah is a beauty editor at IPSY and has been creating content for fashion, beauty, and wellness in Los Angeles for over five years. Outside of the beauty world, she’s an avid vintage collector and dog mom to Pumpkin and Turtle.
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Article Last Updated February 25, 2021 12:00 AM