We may have only just come to terms with the fact that colored mascara is a thing, but that hasn’t stopped our antennae from tuning into the newest installment of bold color for the face. This new addition to the list of ‘trends we’re skeptical about’ is neon make-up: a pop of colour where it’s least expected – on our skin.
Searches for ‘neon eyeshadow’ have risen dramatically on Pinterest in the past few months, increasing by a huge 842 percent, while the neon makeup hashtag has been added to over 107,000 posts on Instagram. A quick scroll of your feed is all it takes to see everyone from Kendall Jenner and Rihanna to Margot Robbie and Tracee Ellis Ross having a go at quick slicks of electric bright liner, or full-blown neon shadow – albeit with a little help from their A-list make-up artists. But can the non-supermodels of the world really pull it off?
“Neon accents work for any age and complexion when they are used as a simple gesture,” says make-up artist Neil Young. “That could be an eyeliner or a stand alone neon pink or orange lip, so long as they are allowed to be the only star of your make-up.” What you don’t want to do is go neon everywhere; pick a feature on the face, whether that’s eyes or lips, and avoid using the same colour anywhere else. Subtlety is key.
Possibly the trickiest area of the face to get right is the eyes, but as Kendall and Selena prove, it can be done. Make-up brands offer a whole range of different neon textures that make application much easier than it has ever been, and with pigments that pack a punch. “If you’re trying a neon color on eyes for the first time, opt for a liner instead of eyeshadow and pair with lashings of black mascara to counteract the intense pigments. It might feel daring, but a feline flick works especially well,” says Young.
Opting for the right shade can effortlessly bring out the color of eyes, too: “[Those with] blue or green eyes should try orange or pink, while brown and green eyes work well with blues,” advises Young. As for the rest of the face, ensure skin is as pared-back as possible: “Allow the neon to lead the look and build the rest of your make-up around it,” says Young, whose go-to accompanying products are tinted moisturizer, bronzer, and some low-key illuminator.
While neons might feel extreme at first look, actually they can inject a sense of fun or a cool twist to an otherwise low-key ensemble. All it takes is a little confidence and a playful spirit to pull it off.
Scroll down for a neon eye starter kit: