The neon makeup trend

With a little practice and a whole lotta eyeliner, these daring electric hues are surprisingly easy to pull off
  • 24 Oct - 30 Oct, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Beauty

As much as we love 'no makeup' makeup, there's something to be said for the transformative power of an electric blue eye or a fierce, fluoro lip.

And we're clearly not the only ones to think so, with #neonmakeup boasting over 108,000 posts on Instagram, searches for 'neon eyeshadow' shooting up by 842 per cent in the past few months, and a whole slew of celebrities stepping out with the eye-catching maquillage.

But don't let the vibrant hues fool you, the look is actually much easier to pull off than it appears, with a little going a long way. These neon makeup looks are completely wearable, as long as you're applying your products correctly. Here are our top tips for pulling off these daring shades, along with the best type of products to use for each one.


Bold yellow liner that's a step below neon is especially striking against darker skin tones

Get the look

When wearing a bold eye, keep the rest of the face a bit mellow. Keep the focus on the liner by skipping eye shadow and keeping the rest of your face natural. Get a smooth, thick line by using an angled eyeliner brush to sweep on a gel liner like Inglot Matte Collection AMC Eyeliner Gel in 84, a creamy, budge-proof yellow. You can also smudge a pencil liner, like NYX Slim Eye Pencil in Yellow, along your upper lash line to create a thick line. For added drama, extend the line into the inner corner and down to the lower lash line.


For another subtle way to experiment with coloured lids, embrace the trend with just a touch of shadow. Try applying a bright colour in the crease of the eye – this may seem unexpected but you'll notice a subtle colour pop when the eye is open. When your eye is moving and you're talking, you'll see that the eye becomes more of a statement. It's less daunting than putting a ton of pigmented colour all over the entire lid, but still creates an interesting and different approach to wearing coloured liner.

Get the look

If you're only going to colour your crease, reach for a liner or a stick shadow, because these products will provide more application control. Try Rimmel London Magnif'Eyes Double Ended Shadow + Liner in Dark Side of the Blue. Another tip? Add mascara. This will make for a more modern and hip look.


Not wary of a whole lot of colour? Daring gals can sport bright eyes with not one but two vibrant shades. For those who are a little more adventurous, play with two contrasting shades – like gold and blue, purple and turquoise, pink and emerald. There are no rules – play around and be fun with it. We spotted this bold two-tone approach on the Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2016 show, where Kendall Jenner wowed with a brilliant blue-green combo.

Get the look

Consistency is key when creating impactful colour combos. We would recommend using the same texture for both – preferably a long-lasting eyeliner for this kind of colour collaboration. Rim your lower lash lines with a seafoam-y liner like Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in Shimmering Jade and a bright blue one on upper lash lines, like the same Sephora liner in teal. Dampen the liner's built in smudger to create a glistening, smokey effect and to work the blue shade across lids. Finish off with generous coatings of mascara, which will pop brilliantly against the bold hues.


Though it's not your typical pink eye, we're guessing many will still find this chic pink liner pretty infectious.

Get the look

Boots No7 Stay Perfect Shade & Define in Pink Pearl is a pink shade with a smudge-friendly formula that will help you build colour to your heart's desire along your lower lash line. Hug the lash line for a more subtle pop of colour or blur it out for a more dramatic, in-your-face effect.


If you're a little "eyeliner challenged," this look is for you. Bright purple smudged along the lower lash line is a lived-in departure from some of the more precise looks, and is an easy way to test out coloured liner (without the time commitment of creating a full-blown cat eye).

Get the look

For a perfectly unperfect smudged line, first line the lower lash line by wiggling a creamy pencil (we're fans of Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Violet and L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Eyeliner in Violet) along the roots of the lashes for depth. Then use the skinny end of a brush to buff it out.


We sure do love to wear a double cat eye.

Get the look

Liquid formulas create a strong graphic pop art look,which is exactly what we're going for here. Use a black liquid liner, like Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner, to create a winged eye. Once that dries, simply layer a coloured liner on top. You can use Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Periwinkle, but this look would work with any bright liner, thanks to the eye-defining black liner near the lash line.


Neon green liner gets a sultry twist, thanks to a subtle dusting of shimmery nude eye shadow, perfectly groomed lashes and barely noticeable black liner right along the lash line. When wearing shadow and a bright liner, a good rule of thumb is to contrast the look of the liner with the shadow. So if your liner is shimmery, opt for a matte shadow and vice versa.

Get the look

Dust an eye shadow one shade darker than your skin tone over your eyelid. Using a black precision eyeliner, like Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Push Up Liner, draw a thin line along your upper lash line, stopping at the outer corner of your eye. Trace above the line with a liquid liner like Hard Candy Walk the Line Liquid Liner in Twist of Lime or, if you prefer to use a pencil, try Make Up For Ever Aqua Matic in Iridescent Lime Green


If you're feeling especially daring, try out a trendy red cat eye. Sheer white shadow or highlighter dusted into in the inner corners of the eyes and up toward the brow bone will keep the look from looking too warm and, well, consumptive. Finding that balance is important when working with bold colours. We recommend doing a cooler lip if your coloured liner is warm, and vice versa.

Get the look

Swipe a creamy pencil, like Covergirl Flamed-Out Shadow Pencil in Red-Hot Flame, for a soft look, and then use an angled liner brush to add on a precise flick. If you prefer it to be a little glossier and pigmented, try a liquid liner like Dior Addict It-Line in It-Pink.


The teal liner feels breezy when paired with rosy cheeks and bare lips.

Get the look

Nars Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner in Abbey Road is a blue-ish teal that won't lose its pigment when you smudge it out, but be sure to keep it concentrated near the roots of your lashes. To amp it up even more, waterline your lower rim or try a glossy cream liner like ELF Cream Liner in Teal Tease instead.