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I think most of us can agree that summer 2019 has been aesthetically pretty whimsical. '90s hair clips? Adorable. The Jonas Brothers being unironically popular again? Precious. Spiked sparkling water? So playful! I mean, "I'm baby" is literally one of the most popular slang terms of the season. If that's not whimsy, then I don’t know what is.
This season’s makeup trends are leaning the way of offbeat and fanciful, as well—and I am personally living for it. Long gone are the days when it was customary to wear a matte liquid lipstick and cumbersome smoky eye on an average weekday, and in is a glorious new era when wearing clear lip gloss and a single bright eye color that looks as if a 7-year-old picked it out is considered cool.
As a fan of quaint, quirky makeup colors, I have embraced the living daylights out of the simple, yet colorful eyeshadow trend (which, #humblebrag, one of our editors long ago predicted would be huge in 2019). As I’ve been experimenting with whimsical eye looks over the last six months or so, I’ve accumulated quite a few products and application techniques, which are ludicrously easy to use and yet earn me scores of compliments.
It really does only take about 10 seconds to apply Kosas’s new non-toxic, water-based liquid shadows, which come with a handy doe-foot applicator, dry down fast to be totally crease-free, and are available in eight fetching shades (like cool lavender and coppery rose gold), which you can wear super sheer or build up for more impact.
There are so many fun ways to wear Huda Beauty’s dual-ended liquid shadows, which come with an ultra-pigmented matte shade on one end and an iridescent metallic on the other. My new favorite thing is to line my upper lash line with the matte side of Limelight and create a subtle wing at the end, then use the sparkly gold on the other side to brighten my inner corners.
Okay, so the price tag on this one is a little scary, but… definitely put it on your wishlist because this indie brand’s ethereal, multidimensional Celestial Sphere shadows (which have a sort of half-powder, half-cream consistency) are as beautiful as they are costly. I’m personally smitten with Ara, a frosty reddish shade that you can wear sheer or build up to make a little more of a statement. If I got a dollar every time someone said they liked my eye shadow while wearing this, I’d make my money back pretty quickly.
So this is technically a highlighter, but I’ve been wearing it on my lids and loving it. Whenever I want a subtle wash of yellow-gold metallic glow on my eyes (which is usually), I use the easy stick applicator to swipe a coat of the lightweight, yet long-wearing gel across my lids. Tap-tap to blend, and voila.
This is another product that’s marketed as a highlighter but doubles as an eyeshadow. Neon is definitely trending this summer, and wearing Fenty’s hot pink and tangerine cream-to-powder shades (either separately or layered together) is my current favorite way to have a neon makeup moment.
From shade selection (there are 40!) to pigmentation, Ulta’s sleeper hit eyeshadow singles rival those three times the price. I like to wet my eyeshadow brush (Sigma’s new set of small blending brushes are lit, by the way) before applying Sunday Funday so the purple-blue color really pops.
Yellow eyeshadow has kind of become my signature look this summer (it doesn’t sound wearable, but trust me, it is), and nothing gives me the egg yolk aesthetic of my dreams like Dior’s liquid liner in Matte Yellow. Even though it’s a liner, not a shadow, the flexible tip is so effortless to use and the formula so absurdly pigmented that you can easily cover your whole lid and it’ll look both perfectly even and blindingly bright. (Dior also makes other *whimsical* shades like Pearly Turquoise, Matte Pink, and Matte Pop Green.)
After half a dozen makeup artists recommended this product to me, I ghosted my accountant and dropped the 50 bucks. Pricey as it may be, this truly is the best eyeshadow crayon on the market in my opinion, as it’s wildly blendable, extremely pigmented, and does not smudge. The shade selection ranges from jewel tones like emerald green and amethyst purple (my go-to, as a green-eyed lady) to everyday hues like copper, bronze, and steel.
Not keen on dedicating the cost of three Postmates deliveries to an eye pencil? Fair enough! NYX’s $5 eye crayon, especially in Purple Velvet and Cobalt, is a fantastic alternative. The product also comes in a pigmented off-white, Milk, which is fun for creating trendy white eyeliner looks—a vibe I’m also loving.
You will be hard-pressed to find an eyeshadow that stays put longer than Milk’s. It honestly works like a pretty, shimmery cement: Use your finger to apply and blend the product (which comes in swoon-worthy shades from light pink After Party to jade green Mermaid Parade), but act fast, because after it dries, it won’t budge. Perfect for a night out when you want to look like an angel but also know you’ll be sweating (or crying. Or both).
Glitter eyeshadow can be such a messy pain in the ass to deal with, but Stila’s sparkly liquid shadows, which come with a convenient wand applicator, couldn’t possibly make it easier. The product comes in so many heart-stoppingly pretty shades, it’s hard to choose a favorite (they’ve also added metallic colors, which are really fun). If I need to put together a night-out makeup look really quickly, this product is 100% my go-to.