Underwhelming: “Euphoria” Eye Makeup Trend

Leave the glittery eyeshadow and overlined lips to the professionals.

A student attempts to replicate the makeup style of HBO's Euphoria. While the show's aesthetics have garnered praise, amateur replications have fallen short. (Photo by Nya Etienne)

“Euphoria”-inspired eye makeup is a trend that has taken the Gen-Z world by storm. The release of HBO’s television series “Euphoria” has captured the attention of the internet since its premiere in June 2019, and each Sunday night when the following episode came out,“Euphoria” trended on Twitter. The complex characters and their bizarre yet relatable experiences resonated with viewers, but this wasn’t the only reason for its popularity. Much of the craze can be attributed to the show’s aesthetics – from the thoughtfully curated soundtrack (which has over 275,000 playlist follows on Spotify) to intense cinematography, “Euphoria” left the audience craving more every week. 

Even after the show’s first season ended, “Euphoria”-inspired makeup and clothing looks continued to dominate social media. Instagram accounts posting links to various items of clothing on Depop garnered a large following, as the main characters, Rue, Jules, Maddy and Kat, each have distinctive styles. The uniqueness of each character’s style also plays a major role in their makeup choices; Maddy, played by Alexa Demie, and Rue, played by Zendaya Coleman, had especially distinctive eye looks. 

In an episode titled “‘03 Bonnie and Clyde,” the show offers insight to Maddy’s internal and familial struggles, that contrast with her sassy, queen-bee persona. As a dynamic and atypical antagonist with an “F-You” personality, Maddy quickly became a fan-favorite among viewers. In her most dramatic scenes, Maddy sports Chicana-inspired lined lips with nude lipstick and jewel-encrusted eyelids. The little gems above and below the eye line are spaced out symmetrically, with a pale eyeshadow and a brighter-hued wing underneath. 

Rue, who deals with substance abuse and a turbulent romantic life, has makeup that represents the complexity of her life. Smeared glitter shadow on the eyelid with thick tears underneath not only convey Rue’s suffering, but also her desperate attempt at making her life appear normal. Makeup artist Doniella Davy posted various behind-the-scenes photos of Zendaya, Alexa Demie, Hunter Schafer, Barbie Ferreira and Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie, providing detailed explanations of the deeper meaning behind each character’s makeup. The meticulousness with which the makeup artists on the show produced each unique look is admirable, which is why I find myself underwhelmed by the trends of replications. The various looks I have seen on Youtube and Instagram are reminiscent of the angsty Tumblr phase of the early 2010s, with everyone partaking in a craze without understanding the context or even watching the show. As someone who doesn’t normally like to pick on others for “watching a movie without having read the book,” I was surprised when I soon grew tired of seeing “Euphoria”-inspired looks on my timeline. I think the complexity of the characters portrayed just makes the replications boring in comparison. 

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Because I have so much love and respect for “Euphoria”, I had hoped that the trend of unsuccessfully replicating “Euphoria” makeup looks would fade out during summer. Nevertheless, it continued through Halloween 2019 and will probably resurge when season two is released — the only positive aspect being that the show will get continuous exposure.

Email Nya Etienne at [email protected]

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