The beauty world is all about self-expression and personalization right now (this is the age of YouTube and Instagram, after all). Ever since the Euphoria Effect, neon eyeliner became the makeup trend du jour. So, we're reigniting this hot summertime look in honor of the series that put it on the map.
Seen on our favorite celebs—from Rihanna to EmRata—the neon eyeliner trend isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s artistic, expressive, and all about things like geometric shapes and ultra-vibrant hues. If that sounds super intimidating, we get it—it’s a bit more adventurous than your average smoky eye.
“Neon colors can be a fun way of swapping out your everyday liner color to something fresh and new or even experimenting with fine lines and detailed artistic looks. You can also create a bold graphic look across the whole eyelid," says makeup artist Sandra Saenz. "It really depends on your mood and how bold you want to go.”
We spoke to Saenz and makeup artist Anthony Nguyen, who shared their tips for nailing neon eyeliner to quell your fears.
Meet the Expert
- Sandra Saenz is an internationally recognized makeup artist and KVD Beauty Global Veritas Artistry Ambassador
- Anthony Nguyen is a Los Angeles-based celebrity and fashion makeup artist and KVD Beauty Global Veritas Artistry Ambassador. His clients include Adele, Katy Perry, Camila Cabello, Dua Lipa, and Christina Aguilera, among others.
Below, see how to rock 12 neon eyeliner colors, with tips from the experts.
“Neon color is a bold statement in general, so depending on your mood, you can use it in small doses like an eyeliner or go all out as a full neon eyeshadow moment," says Nguyen. This watermelon neon red moment has us thinking about summertime.
Think you can't pull off neon orange liner? Think again. According to Saenz, all colors can work on all skin tones as long as you’re wearing them with confidence. "You should never shy away from trying a new shade because you’re afraid it won’t work. Anything works if you decide it does," she says.
If you sport a basic black cat-eye usually, try outlining your regular black liner with a vibrant hue like bright yellow, or vice versa—outline a bright yellow liner with a bold black one. You can also start even smaller by just doing a pop of color at the tip of a black cat-eye. A highlighter-yellow crème gel liner (like this one from NYX Cosmetics) is easy to apply in a way that doesn’t demand precision (and is easy to touch up in case of mistakes).
Eventually, you can start experimenting with geometric shapes, unexpected color combinations (we love a coral-and-aqua moment, for instance), and more.
Neon Lime Green
Instagram user @camiladerizans turned to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Pro Pigment Palette Vol. 2 ($60) for this lovely lime green look. we love the subtle pops of lime in the inside corner of the eye, too. If you love the idea of upping your makeup game and you’re not totally keen on showing up to your next party with asymmetrical, lime-green polka dots on your lids (although this look does sound spectacular), you can certainly ease into the trend and just do what you’re comfortable with.
This thicker-lined neon green look, achieved with Suva Beauty's Fanny Pack ($16) is all you need on your eyes for the day. No matter what look you’re going for, try to take it one step at a time and simply build on each step. Have Q-tips on hand for smudges and to achieve a sharp shape or edge. We love these swabs from Alleyoop that are angled for precision and pre-soaked with makeup remover.
“When removing long-wear products, I recommend using the Mary Kay Makeup Remover ($22) as it really gets everything off," says Saenz, who lists Youth to the People’s Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm ($34) as another favorite.
This wave-inspired ocean look has us ready for the beach. If you’re a beginner in the funky-neon-makeup sphere, you could start with a regular turquoise pencil on your lash using a tiny brush and potted liquid liner. If you're new to eyeliner application entirely, we recommend using a gel crayon formula for more control.
“The KVD Beauty Super Pomade Vegan Eyeliner, Shadow, and Brow Pigments have a few amazing shades in the neon family that I love using to create really graphic, pigmented looks," says Saenz of the look seen here. "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.”
Experiment with shapes, textures, and shades (like contrasting pops of color on the bottom and top). The smudger tool will be your best friend to create more abstract looks.
“The KVD Beauty Tattoo Pencil Liners in Azurite Blue ($22) shade is a vibrant shade that borders on neon, which is also great for experimentation," says Saenz. "This range glides on super easily and once applied, absolutely will not budge as the name suggests.”
Here, neon purple liner is used to accent a colorful look that also uses turquoise and white. Nguyen recommends KVD Beauty Super Pomade Vegan Eyeliner, Shadow, and Brow Pigment in Roxy ($23), a bright grape color, to nail this look.
We're obsessed with the different shades of purple going on in this look. From the neon violet liner to the indigo purple lips, it all comes together in one perfectly bold look.
We're not sure what we love more, the baby pink waterline or the heavy hot pink eyeliner that matches her shadow.
Okay, we know black is the furthest on the neon color spectrum, but hear us out. Black eyeliner can help enhance your smoky eye, add more depth to your colored look, or stand out on its own. And it certainly doesn't have to be boring.