Gen Z Green Makeup Lives Rent-Free in My Head—So, I Finally Tried It

It's electric, wearable, and surprisingly easy to pull off.

Whitney Peak


Now that we’re officially entering cozy season, you might be tempted to immediately ditch your bold summer makeup colors in favor of more fall-friendly neutrals. But don’t pack away your neon shades just yet. There’s a burgeoning new makeup trend we’ve been spotting everywhere, and it might just give your playful summer hues a second life.

Green eye looks have been popping up all over from the red carpet to the runway. First, we saw the shade at NYFW on models walking in the Badgley Mischka, Prabal Gurung, and Theophilia shows. Then, Emma Chamberlain and Whitney Peake’s striking green-lined eyes caught our attention on the Met Gala red carpet. And finally, when legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath created the most stunning neon eye looks for the Versace SS22 runway, we were officially sold. After all, is it really a trend until Dame McGrath says so herself?

To learn more about the green eye trend, we reached out to two of the industry’s top celebrity makeup artists. Keep reading to get their expert takes, see our favorite looks, and learn how we fared when we tried it out at home.

Meet the Expert

  • Daniel Martin is a celebrity makeup artist whose clients include Meghan Markle, Olivia Palermo, and Elisabeth Moss.
  • Kelsey Deenihan is a celebrity makeup artist based in LA. She works with clients like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Lucy Hale.

The Inspiration

It’s no secret that for Gen Z, green is the new millennial pink. Take a scroll through TikTok and you’ll see everything from emerald fashion picks to kelly green home inspiration. And if the aforementioned beauty looks are any indication, the color is on its way to becoming a bonafide makeup trend.

Celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin tells us it’s no surprise that green is having a major moment right now. “Green is a balancing and harmonizing color—it represents nature, renewal and growth,” he says. “After the year and a half we've had, we need a bit more green in our lives right now.” Martin even created his own stunning green eye look on Gemma Chan at the Met Gala.

Kesley Deenihan, the makeup artist behind Emma Chamberlain’s neon liner, agrees that green eyeshadow and liner make for a fitting trend this year—especially for Gen Z. “I think this generation is drawn to green because it’s a generation that understands the importance of individuality and expressing themselves,” she tells us. “As well as being a color that symbolizes growth and renewal, it’s versatile and can range from muted and earthy to bright and loud, so it appeals to many different people.”

While Martin says that jewel-toned greens are complimentary to a variety of different eye colors and skin tones, it’s the neon version of the color that he finds the most exciting right now. “Neon is more daring, and it’s great as a liner or for graphic shapes on the eyes!” he says. 

Our Favorite Takes On The Trend

For the Milan Versace runway, Pat McGrath created this mesmerizing neon liner look to coincide with the show’s theme of showcasing the “power of women and legendary beauty.” Using theatrical paints, McGrath took a bright green shade to shape the crease of the model’s eyes and define an elongated wing. She then pressed the shade Citrine Envy from her MTHRSHP MEGA: Celestial Odyssey ($78) palette onto the eyelids to further illuminate them.

Whitney Peak’s electric green dotted liner from the Met Gala is what graphic eye dreams are made of. Makeup artist Tyron Machhausen used Chanel products to create the look, and placed tiny rhinestones in between the neon dots to accentuate her eyes even more.

On the Prabal Gurung runway, makeup artist Sil Bruinsma gave models “acid highlights” on their eyes by mixing MAC’s Lip Mix ($18) in shades Cyan and Yellow.

Just as you would add splash of lime to a cocktail to enhance the taste, makeup artist Fatima Caser added a small dash of lime green to her inner corners to give her look a boost without overpowering it. Caser used ColourPop’s rainbow Fade Into Hue Eyeshadow Palette ($34) for a tiny but impactful shot of color.

Not only is this graphic liner moment from @liyaishere fun and wearable, but it also looks surprisingly easy to pull off. The makeup artist used Glisten Cosmetics Liner ($9) to draw a vivid neon line on her lashline, and then used a lighter shade to create a thin wing that extends from the outer point of her eye to the inner corner.

Of course, it would be impossible to talk about the neon green eye trend without mentioning Emma Chamberlain’s much-discussed Met Gala look. Makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan created the bold liner look not only to complement Chamberlain’s gold Louis Vuitton dress, but also to reflect her personality. “Emma is bold and confident, and I wanted the pop of color to represent her as well,” Deenihan tells us. “I used Byredo’s Eyeshadow 5 Colours Syren Palette ($70) and mixed the shade Scylla with a little mixing liquid to create a bold liner.”

This “glow-in-the-dark” graphic eye from content creator Taylor Ruhe would stand out from miles away. Ruhe used the Natasha Denona Biba Palette ($129) and Pat McGrath Labs Huetopian Dream Palette ($125) to create a neutral base on her eyelids before drawing lines on her lashline, waterline, and below her brow bone with the Glisten Cosmetics Liner ($9).

The Verdict

selfie with green eyeliner

Karli Bendlin/Unsplash

Confession: neon makeup colors intimidate me. If you were to flip open any of my eyeshadow palettes, you would see that while I’ve hit pan on plenty of neutrals and made a dent in the shimmery golds and silvers, the colorful shades are nearly untouched. While I love the bold, electric eye looks that come across my feed, I’ve always resorted to admiring them from afar rather than trying them out myself in the past.

Maybe it’s the changing season or the fact that I’ve barely touched much of my makeup for the past year, but for whatever reason, as soon as I saw this round of trending green looks, I knew I had to give neon a chance. Since Whitney Peake and Emma Chamberlain’s Met makeup looks lived rent-free in my mind for weeks, I decided to go with neon liner to try the trend out. I grabbed the most electric green shade I could find, and kept the rest of my makeup minimal. The overall look is bolder than I normally go for, but not too wild that I’d second guess leaving my house in it. Overall, it’s definitely something I’d try again for a night out. My verdict? Any trend that gets me out of my makeup comfort zone is a winner in my book.

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