As far as HBO shows go, it’s not a stretch to say that makeup is to Euphoria what style is to Sex and the City. From the 2019 pilot onward, the teen drama has expertly baked beauty into the DNA of the show as an integral plot device and a beacon of Gen Z beauty inspo. Now that Rue (Zendaya), Jules (Hunter Schafer), Maddy (Alexa Demie), and co. are back for a new season, we’re reminded that the characters don’t lead aspirational lives (things are very bleak at East Highland High) but the halls of the troubled California high school are full of innovative approaches to makeup.
It’s rare for beauty on TV to be given such profundity—a wing is never just a wing and glitter is abundant, but not arbitrary. How characters approach their everyday makeup is a window into what’s actually going on. And as season 2 takes on a darker tone and characters teeter between recklessness and responsibility (it’s about trauma), the makeup at East Highland is following suit. “All of the looks play a little bit with that tension between adolescence and adulthood,” Euphoria’s makeup designer Donni Davy tells us. So where does "Euphoria makeup" go from here? Below, we walk through the trends that we expect to be everywhere this season, while Davy fills us in on her philosophy behind some of season 2’s most memorable looks.
On Each Character's Beauty Evolution
“Kat (Barbie Ferreira) still evokes an experimentation with her makeup looks," Davy tells us. "I love how stunningly gorgeous and seemingly confident Kat looks when she’s not at home, and how that contrasts with how she really feels when she’s in the private world of her bedroom."
And while as viewers, we've had over two and a half years to process Kat's radical transformation, Davy reminds us that only a semester has passed since the character started experimenting with her look. "It was only during the current school year (in Euphoria world) that she debuted her newfound use of makeup when she strutted down the hallway with her dark green shimmery eyeshadow and red gloss," the makeup artist shares. "There was a world in my mind where Kat’s makeup would go in a much more goth fairy-grunge-inspired direction this season, but we ended up taking a much different approach.”
“Cassie’s (Sydney Sweeney) looks have this adolescent anxiety underneath them, even though they make her look like a grownup bombshell," Davy shares, noting that the viewers can get a sense of the underlying apprehension and desperation that exist underneath her glam during the montage moments of her morning routine. "She has this sweet but damaged part of her that manifests in her wanting to be loved. She knows she needs to say no, but she only knows how to say yes."
“Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) makeup looks come out more and more as the season progresses and are meant to enhance the portrayal of her self-actualization journey," Davy explains of the burgeoning fan-favorite character. "She’s ready to say something and be heard, and it’s kind of the best thing ever.”
“I think Maddy’s (Demie) looks are more mature this season—they show the evolution of her character," says Davy. "A part of her really grows up this season and faces some truths. Alexa took Maddy’s makeup in a more minimal direction and that’s perfect for her storyline."
The makeup artist shares that Maddy's makeup structure is still on point with her super sharp liner wings, but we'll see less color and adornment in her looks than we did in Season 1. "Following the events of last season between her and Nate, her world just isn’t filled with as much color," Davy explains.
We’ve been crushing on Hunter Schafer’s bob since last year (off-screen, she’s added bangs and we’re obsessed) but the bob is an integral part of her character’s growth this season. “Jules’s makeup this season portrays a peeling away of feminine layers and a big moment of transition for her,” Davy explains. “She goes through the classic high school moment of chopping off her long hair, which can be a big statement for a teenage girl. Her makeup accompanies this by being less playful and more ‘I don’t give a f*ck’ this season.”
Cassie’s friends appeared to be concerned by her country-inspired metamorphosis in this season’s preview (when she tearfully screams about how happy she is) but TBH, we’re very into it. As for the inspo, one particular country icon came to mind and Davy cosigned the comparison. “It is giving Dolly,” she agreed.
“I had a lot of versions of this look in my head and I knew I wanted to bring an ethereal, soft ‘60s energy to it. I pulled a lot of pastel looks with exaggerated eyelashes for her,” she explained. “I wanted it to look beautiful and sweet on Cassie, but a little ridiculous at the same time." If that’s not an apt description of Dolly Parton’s beauty philosophy, we don’t know what is. We foresee that this will open the door to a wave of Dolly-esque hair and maximalist makeup—the Dollycore era has begun.
Last year there were headlines teasing that Euphoria’s second season would be entirely glitter-free. That obviously didn’t turn out to be true, but as the tone of the show has changed, the use of glitter has evolved, too. On Instagram, Davy referred to this season as “season 1’s more introverted sister. There’s a steady quiet to her, until she’s suddenly loud.” In contrast to what we’ve come to expect from the show, she wrote that the new season’s makeup philosophy is “elusive with [its] sparkle and prefers a softer version of twinkling Euphoria glam.”
To bring this to life on-set, she opted for finer grained glitter and tinier rhinestones because of how they tend to twinkle in low light. “You can see this effect on Cassie in the first episode and throughout the season,” she tells us. “I used mostly muted tones of glitter and rhinestones, which felt more compatible with the less colorful aesthetic that this season has.”
The Mermaid's Purse
In the season premiere, it was hard to take your eyes off of Jules’s geometric reverse cat eye. On Instagram, Davy shared, “Hunter said these shapes reminded her of a Mermaid’s Purse, which is a dark leathery encasement that protects a developing shark embryo.”
Though it looks very intricate, Davy says that it’s relatively easy to execute. “This look is so simple! For this I used Inglot’s AMC Eyeliner Gel ($21) in the pot, in black, and applied with a Bdellium flat, angled eyeliner brush and a Makeup Forever Bent Eyeliner Brush ($24). The bent tip gives easier access to the inner eye corners." As for the look's shimmery periwinkle backdrop, fans will have to wait if they want to recreate an exact replica at home. "[It's] a super gorgeous liquid eyeshadow I was lucky enough to get a sample of to try out—it has yet to be released!” Davy tells us.
Wings That Could Kill
“Winged liner is front and center this season,” Davy tells us. But in typical Euphoria fashion, these aren’t your average cat eyes. In just two episodes, we’ve seen Maddy wear razor-sharp liner and a perfectly precise double-decker wing—each of which are on our beauty to-do list. These dagger wings are a reflection of Maddy’s tough exterior, but when they’re toned down in later scenes, they also show her softer side.
“I love her simple double wing against a nude eye that she rocked for episode 2, and that we got to see a sweeter version of character in that episode,” Davy shares. “It’s Maddy without the bells and whistles.
Cassie’s flushed post-makeout makeup is hyper-realistic (she has makeout lips because she stays making out), but there’s something sultry and sweet about it that’s actually very wearable IRL. “I can see the dewy flushed cheeks and flushed ‘makeout’ lips on Cassie [becoming a trend] as well, sort of like this halo around the lips,” Davy says. “I love how it evokes emotion and has this raw and unpolished look to it.”
Jules’s white eyeliner in episode 2 is so subtle that you might not have noticed it on your first watch. But it’s still a standout. Eschewing typical eyeliner, she instead wears three bold, white lines atop a subtly smoky red under-eye shadow. On Instagram, Davy described the look as "little white whisker wings against terracotta eyelids."
Davy says that these "tiny almost hidden details" are in line with the direction behind Jules’s entire season 2 beauty arc. “Jules’s triple wings and her minimal approach to her makeup this season offer a less makeup-y way of doing makeup, where the looks are more like shapes and lines and free-form painter-like moments,” she tells us. “I think this less feminine approach to makeup is refreshing and may catch on with younger people who are new to makeup.”
Did you screenshot Kat’s vivid New Year’s Eve eyeshadow in the premiere? Us too. Though the sunny look isn’t a reflection of how Ferreira’s character actually feels, beauty acts as an armor of sorts. “Kat doesn’t have the same unshakeable confidence that she had during the height of her character arc last season, but she still tries on different makeup styles and continues her exploration with bold color,” Davy explains. “We kept her lower lash line essentially nude in order to bring something gentle and kind of timid to her looks to reflect this more tender place she’s in this season.”
For some of season 1’s most memorable looks, Davy tapped in Face Lace’s strikingly iridescent eye stickers. Though we haven’t seen them in action yet this season, they will be returning to our screens in future episodes. Davy says to keep an eye out for a look at the Donni Davy x Face Lace collection in episode 4 on BB (who is easily one of the funniest characters), and later in episodes 7 and 8.
In the meantime, they’re easy to incorporate into any look. A pro-tip, Davy says, is to “customize them by trimming or cutting off individual parts of them to use as accents for your look.”