Bold, neon makeup might not be the first trend you think of when it comes to your go-to makeup looks, but the power of neon to make a statement is undeniable. From the tiniest flick of slime green eyeliner to punchy pink and fluorescent orange, neon eyeshadow is here to stay—and we are feeling the electric vibes.
So how can we mere mortals create such art? While neon makeup may seem intimidating, it is possible for neon novices to play with color. To help guide us through this eyeshadow artistry, we spoke to makeup artists Sandra Saenz and Anthony Nguyen of KVD Beauty for their tips and product recommendations. But first, a crash course in makeup application.
“Neon makeup can be applied exactly as you would any other makeup. Similar to how you’d typically apply brown or black eyeliner the same way, the only major difference with using neon shades is the color,” says Saenz, who notes that KVD Beauty’s products are waterproof, so once they are applied, they won’t move. “I find that primers are not necessarily needed when using neon makeup, especially when using long-wear products that don’t budge.”
According to Saenz, as with any look, the way neon eyeshadow is applied will depend on the look you’re working towards achieving. For a smoky eye, she recommends blending out shadow with a fluffy brush so it distributes over the lid evenly. “If you’re looking for an edgier look, like a graphic, sharp line, I recommend working in shadow with a pomade the KVD Beauty #70 Pomade Brush ($18), which is great for precise application,” she says.
Ahead, we’ve compiled a list of 23 neon makeup looks that will have you buzzing for weeks.
Neon green and blue eye makeup and hot pink lipstick bring some heat to this look. We’re especially loving the contrast between the blue liner and green shadow on the lids. If you’re looking for a neon eyeshadow palette, try Trendy in Tokyo ($13) by BH Cosmetics, which offers a variety of neon shades to help you re-create this and other shadow looks.
Rainbow Neon Hues
Sometimes you need to show as much neon as possible, and that’s okay. All of the bright tones are worn together here to create an enthralling neon masterpiece. Saenz likes to use a variety of different brushes, such as a long art brush, to create different lines and shapes.
Playful Pastels and Neons
Pastel and neon tones? Yes, please. The contrast between the soft pastel pink, seafoam green, electric pink, and violet tones in this look is everything and more. Pack on the color and don’t worry about being precise with this look. The more abstract the better.
Give Us the Green
It’s all about the neon emerald green smoky eye, a creative twist on traditional black, brown, and navy tones. Hard Candy’s Liquid Eyeliner in Liquid Money ($8) is a great green option for something that packs a nice punch.
Never Enough Neon
Chic neon hues adorn the skin starting on the eyes and blending down towards the cheeks. The colorway of this neon makeup look is exceptional (and bookmarked forever as inspiration).
Bold and Bright
Graphic neon shapes in different shades create a color-blocking shadow look that is modern and honestly, so very cool. When wearing bolder shadow looks, offset them with natural blush tones on the cheeks to bring some balance. Try Mob Beauty’s Cream Clay Blush in M70 ($30).
Neon Graphic Fun
An exceptional twist on neon shadow, these dots lining the tops and bottoms of the eyes show that the more creative you are with neon eye makeup looks, the better. Liquid eyeshadow is your best bet to achieve this look.
Brighter is Better
A different neon shadow for each lid allows for magnificent color play. The inclusion of both muted and hot pink shadows really adds something special.
Slime Green Goodness
A bold swipe of neon green is all one needs to make a statement. Slime green is an excellent choice if you’re just trying out neon hues for the first time. To re-create this shiny green shadow look, try using the Danessa Myricks Colorfix Neon Cream Color in Wasabi ($18) and build color as you go.
A myriad of neon colors come together for this magnificent work of art. We cannot stop staring at this look—it’s entirely soothing and exciting all in one.
For neon colors that have a paint-like finish and texture on the skin, try using a mixture of cream and powder formulas.
The Best of Blue
“Electric blue is always a great option for a nighttime pop of color,” says Saenz. The boldness of this shade of blue is breathtaking, and the accent of neon blush is exactly what this makeup look needs to pop.
“The key to a seamless eyeshadow look is to always apply with a soft fluffy blending brush, which helps distribute the product evenly across the lid,” says Nguyen.
Bright Candy-colored Hues
Multi-color shadows with neon accents create a colorful kaleidoscope of hues that are impressive, to say the least. The color options are endless when combining shadows for such a playful look.
The neon turquoise in the inner corners of this shadow look makes it particularly special and unique. The Epic Wear Liner in Blue Trip by Nyx Cosmetics ($9) can help you re-create this colorful accent as you blend, blend, blend.
Make a statement—in this case, with excellent yellow-green shadow applied into a beautifully abstract shape on the lids. About Face Shadowstick in Acidic ($14) would work nicely (For a pop of color on the cheeks, try the Nudies Blush in Sunset Strip ($34) from Nudestix and blend all over the apples in an upward motion.
A traditional smoky eye look is given an unexpected twist with neon pink liner in the inner rims and corners of the eyes—and we’re obsessed. If you’re playing up the eyes and want a more natural lip color, Victoria Beckham Beauty’s Bitten Lip Tint in Chérie ($36) is an option.
Bold and Pink
This monochromatic neon pink swipe on the lids is everything. The best part? You can re-create this look with any color shadow of your choosing.
Neon Liner and Lashes
Neon liner and lashes? Yes, please. If you’re going to go neon, you might as well go all the way with a bold violet.
Neon orange and pink pair with soft orchid and baby pink tones for a mesmerizing display of colors. The bold, deep lip offsets this neon shadow look in the best way. When it comes to removing all this color, Nguyen recommends Bioderma Micellar Water ($17). “It’s gentle on the skin, removes everything, and doesn’t leave a greasy residue,” he says.
To Infinity and Neon
If wearing neon shadow means we get to show off as much pink and purple as we want, we’re ready. This neon magenta color blended outward on the eyes looks amazing paired with a defining liner and a few coats of mascara.
Neon violet and amethyst metallic shadows create a dynamic color combo. The violet applied all over the lids and under the eyes—with just a smidge of amethyst in the corners—is a wondrous contrast.
This tiny neon detail spot on the inner corners of the eyes creates a new way to showcase a smoky eye that’s both playful and elegant. Take your favorite neon-colored shadow and pop it right on the inner corners of the eyes after you’ve applied everything else as the final finishing touch. “The KVD Beauty Super Pomade in shade Daffodil ($23) is a great neon yellow shade that, while mellow, still has a really impressive color payoff,” says Saenz, which works great for the inner corners and then a subtle outside wing.
“Red can be used as a statement for anything—lips, liner, shadow, etc. The KVD Beauty Super Pomade in Scarlet ($23) in Scarlet works well for this,” says Saenz, who likes to use the product beneath the lash line for a sultry look. Here, it’s a heavy red lid for the win.
Black and Blue
This neon blue fade to a smoky black eye is what eyeshadow ombré dreams are made of. Saenz used KVD Beauty Super Pomade Vegan Eyeliner, Shadow, and Brow Pigment ($23) in Satellite for the inner corner and Graphite to create this look on herself. “While these pomades are super versatile and can be used in numerous ways, I love to use them as a liner to create a wing, cut crease and in, or just beneath the water line for a pop of neon pigment,” says Saenz.