Is it cold in here or is it just your eye makeup? Winter’s prettiest eye makeup trend is as delicate as a snowflake and as captivating as a mountain of fluffy fresh powder. That’s why we’re calling this sweet style “snow angel eyes”—with a coat of bright, matte snowy white painted across your lids, you’re practically a snow queen in her icy winter castle.
The centerpiece of a snow angel makeup look is white matte eyeshadow, which is ideal for the colder months; you’re practically wearing the weather on your face. “Icy, glowy makeup has been trending for awhile now and I think recently people have gotten more experimental with incorporating pure white shadows into those looks,” says celebrity makeup artist and founder of Jamie Makeup Jamie Greenberg. "It's the perfect vibe for winter and so fun to play with.”
Where You've Seen It
See ya, smoky eyes! While deep, dark eyes will never go out of style, they sometimes feel a bit shall-we-say expected for photoshoots and red carpet events. Bright white eyes, on the other hand, are an eye-catching choice when you want to be noticed and stand out from the crowd. White eyeshadow was super popular in the futuristic late ‘90s and early 2000s, though frosted, metallic or shimmery finishes were more popular than a matte formula.
It also shares DNA with one of TikTok’s biggest makeup trends of 2022. “The ‘snow angel’ makeup look is really an offshoot of the ‘cold girl makeup’ trend we've seen all over social media over the past couple months,” explains celebrity makeup artist Kasey Spickard. “The signature look has the overall aesthetic of just finishing a ski-run, like frost has formed and you have an oh-so-cute sunburn or windburn. This white and silver ethereal eyeshadow look also takes its inspiration from some of the eyeshadow looks from the 1960s with bold opaque shadows with full lashes, as well as the early 2000s.”
Celebs, models and influencers are all about it. True to form as one of the biggest trendsetters of all time, Lady Gaga rocked a snow angel white shadow with a bold flick of black liner and an Armani Privé ice queen gown at the SAG Awards in early 2022. Makeup artist Danessa Myricks shared a white lid tutorial inspired by Gaga’s look, using her Colorfix Matte in Lift ($18) to craft a gorgeous snowy white eye. Dua Lipa, who never met a 2000s trend she didn’t love, is a fan of white lids, as is Ariana Grande. For a twist on the chilly-chic trend, Swedish influencer Matilda Djerf showed off a subtler take for the holidays, pairing a light wash of white shadow with a sunny tan for a ‘60s-inspired style.
The look has also gained some traction on TikTok, with users pairing matte white lids with thick eyeliner, opulent false lashes and rhinestone face and body gems to really frost themselves in icy cold glam.
Who Does Snow Angel Makeup Work For?
Anyone! The look is angelic and ethereal, but it’s also super versatile and customizable to your preferences. If you’re not quite ready to coat your lids in full-on white, why not try a swoop of white on your upper or lower lashline to test the waters? Conversely, if you prefer a more editorial makeup vibe, go wild with matching white lashes or lips. Lean in to the “Snow White and Rose Red” fairytale allure by pairing your icy eyes with a deep, dark red lip, channel the mod movement of the ‘60s with a light pastel pink, or let your snow angel eyes be the focus of your look with fresh, clean skin and minimal makeup.
To find an Elsa-worthy white shadow that plays nicely with your skin tone, pay attention to your undertones. “If your skin is more fair and cool toned, you can play around with shadows that have blue and silver shimmering undertones,” explains Greenberg. “If you're warmer, you might go for something with more of a gold shimmer undertone.” But if there’s a white shade you’re drawn to, be it a pure, pristine chalk white or a creamy eggshell, go for it. “There are no rules in makeup, though, so use whatever brings out your inner snow angel!” she says.
How to Wear Snow Angel Makeup
White shadow is notoriously difficult to work with, but modern formulations have made application so much easier than it was in the ‘60s or ‘00s. Both Spickard and Greenberg like a cream formula for seamless application. “The key to getting an even, flawless white eyeshadow look is to start with a high quality cream base,” says Spickard. “I like the about-face Matte Fluid Eye Paint ($16) in White Noise or Danessa Myricks Color Fix in Lift.” Spickard recommends applying a “lentil-sized” amount of product to the back of your hand or a palette, picking up color with a flat eyeshadow brush, applying color to the lid and buffing it out with a fluffy brush for a diffused look. “To keep it matte, you can then pack on a white powder eyeshadow to provide even more coverage and to buff out and blend and diffuse your edges,” he shares. “I like the white from the Viseart Editorial Mattes palette ($80).” If you prefer a frostier effect with a touch of shimmer, Spickard recommends Kryolan Glamour Sparks in Silver ($19) or Makeup by Mario Master Crystal Reflector in Quartz ($26).
“Always start with a good eye primer; that's a must,” says Greenberg, adding that Doll 10 Multi-Tasking Eye Primer ($26) is her go-to. “If you're going for a bolder look, I suggest using a cream shadow and adding a white shimmer on top. Creams are thicker, so a little goes a long way and gives you coverage that is harder to achieve with just a powder shadow.” For a matte powder option, Greenberg recommends MAC’s Single Eyeshadow in Gesso ($21), a vibrant white, and if you like a little shimmer, she’s a fan of Thrive Causemetics’ Brilliant Eye Brightener in Estrella ($25), a pretty pearl.
It can take a little legwork to get the full coverage you want. “For an even matte coverage, expect to layer and blend, repeating two or three times to really get the depth and desired opacity,” says celebrity makeup artist and Bakeup co-founder Jo Baker, who created a matte white shadow for the BAKEUP Micro Palm Palette in Neon ($28). “Try a sherbet white or a minty white by adding a dab of neon green to the white eyeshadow creating a unique, soft, dreamy twist on the classic white.”
The beauty of the snow angel makeup look is that you can go fully matte or experiment with texture, and the result will be as gorgeous as the sun sparkling on a snowdrift; after all, no two snowflakes are the same. “Don't be afraid to experiment with different textures and styles,” encourages Greenberg. “For a more subtle vibe, you can always go in with just a white shimmer. You can even use white eyeliner to create a fun white cateye. There are tons of ways to incorporate white into your eye look, so have fun with it.”