If there is anything to be thankful for from the ‘80s then it would be music from Madonna and Michael Jackson, aerobics, Mel Gibson, and ‘80s neon fashion. Believe it or not, the latter is considered to be a growing trend in both wardrobe and makeup and we’re now seeing more stars gamely donning bright colours on and off the red carpet. Neon makeup, in particular, is a brave yet surprisingly fun and pretty beauty option that can add a pop of cheer to your overall ensemble.
But how do we do neon makeup without looking like the female version of Boy George? Here are our best tips.
Know the occasion
Zero in on the reason you want to try neon makeup. If it’s to go out clubbing with friends then, by all means, go crazy with trying new colours that could match your skin. Neon eyeshadow or lipstick can help you stand out nicely in the crowd. If the occasion is “meet the boyfriend’s parents for the first time” then you might just want to hold off on the acid green eyeshadow.
Know the right colour palette
Wearing neon makeup is tricky, so it’s actually best to plan your whole ensemble beforehand. Know which shades go with your outfit and start from there. Orange eyeshadow with a purple top might actually look too “Halloween-y” but a bright pink lippie with a bright teal dress could truly make for an impressive ensemble.
Make sure the makeup matches the hair
An acid green eyeliner with Little Mermaid red hair? It could work. But also be open to options. The plan is to flawlessly blend everything and add just a pop of colour. The secret is to choose which colour goes well with your complexion. Which brings us to our next tip.
Choose a colour that best fits your skin
If you're on the medium and fair spectrum, bright pinks and oranges (whether for lippie or eyeshadow) can be used to highlight your best assets but you might want to shy away from colours like yellow, which could look washed out. Olive-skinned ladies, on the other hand, could benefit from Earthy-colors such as green, blue and even orange. But don't let these deter you from having fun. Try out any shade you like, but make sure to blend, blend, blend!
Don’t be afraid to go unconventional
Take a page from Patrick Ta's makeup book. The celebrity makeup artist gave influencer Camila Coelho a new spin to the neon look by adding body oil and lip gloss from his new Major Glow collection on top of her eyeshadow. The result is a dewy and shimmery look that's not over the top. Need something similar? Some actually swear by using petroleum jelly to add just a bit of shine on bright eye makeup.
Keep it simple
It might sound counterproductive, but the secret to truly great neon makeup is to keep things simple. Choose only one part of your face that you wish to highlight. Do you want bright lips? Bright eyes? Bright cheeks? Stick to that and you’ll be fine.
If you’re not ready for bright eyeshadow yet, then you can always opt for a colourful mascara or a simple bright spot in the corner of your eye. Hollywood director Ava Duvernay, for example, added a sort of “reverse cat eye makeup” using shimmery green in the inner corner of her peepers to match her gown and the beads in her hair which she wore in this year’s Met Gala.
Still afraid of something too bright? Neutralise a colour by keeping the rest of your makeup simple. Bright lilac eyeshadows, for example, can be paired with a nude lipstick or a dab of subtle blush.