Pre-2020, I could count on two hands the number of times I had worn a supremely sparkly or Technicolored makeup look (all of which were probably relegated to my dancing years filled with recitals and halftime performances). I've never been scared to wear five coats of mascara, a fire-engine red lipstick, or neon green nail polish, but when it comes to bold eye shadow, I've always gone running in the other direction. (My collection of very neutral, slightly shimmery shadows is definitely my happy place.)
Of course, this year, I've had a lot more time on my hands. Since I've been at home 90% of the time, I've experienced a surge of bravery in the makeup department. In other words, I've finally started to dip my toe into the world of some over-the-top, Instagram-worthy makeup looks. I'm still getting warmed up, and I'm still at my most comfortable surrounded by relatively subdued color palettes and finishes. But as an ode to some of the most talented makeup artists and to show off some of the coolest bold makeup looks waiting patiently in my "looks to try" saved folder on IG, I thought I would share nine of my favorites and all of the products needed to re-create them yourself. (After scrolling through this article, you will want to paint your face with every color of the rainbow and glitter, even if you have no place to go.) Keep scrolling! Nine of the best makeup looks on Instagram are just below.
The Look: Chrome Serpentine
To call Danessa Myricks's Instagram a sight for sore eyes would be the ultimate understatement. As a renowned makeup artist and CEO of her namesake makeup line, she creates every kind of look imaginable, many of which involve bold color combinations, sparkling finishes, and ultra-dewy skin. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I can't stop looking at this metallic, green-gold chromatic cat eye.
The Look: Buttercup Lids
It might be the dead of winter, but I can't help but fantasize about warmer, sunnier times. This look, created by celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney, is the next best thing to taking an actual vacation thanks to the bright, buttery pop of shadow, impeccably glossy lip, and super-fresh, radiant skin. (Don't be afraid to layer on a few extra coats of mascara, too!)
The Look: Cool Cobalt
ICYMI: Opaque, cobalt-blue eyes have been having a moment, and we predict the stunning trend will have long enough legs to walk well into 2021. I have a few sapphire-inspired looks in my saved folder, but this one from makeup artist and hairstylist Stella Tu is a top priority on my recreation list—fluffy brows, a flick of mascara, fresh skin, and a barely-there lip are all it needs as its supporting cast.
Bold, Technicolored liner started its ascent a couple of years ago, and unlike so many beauty trends that quickly lose traction, it's only continued to gain momentum. Any color is fair game, and you can play with the thickness of your liner application, but celebrity makeup artist Hung Vanngo really killed it with this royal blue-purple iteration. Plus, it was created with drugstore products, so you won't break the bank if you want to order the exact formula lineup.
The Look: Earthy Bronze
FYI: A bronzy, sun-kissed skin vibe is always relevant, no matter the season. If you're not into bright colors or lots of glitz, this warm makeup look featuring shades of brown, nude, and gold is still a great way to enhance your features, and you can easily customize the shades you choose based on your skin and undertones. To make it pop, make sure you go big with your lashes (if not falsies, a few extra coats of mascara) and a juicy hit of poppy blush. (The one used here from Nudestix is magically flattering on everyone we know.) Also, makeup artist Serena Wyllie is truly the queen of all things glowy, so if that's your vibe, I highly recommend checking out all of her beautiful work.
Who would have thought pink- and blue-centric eye shadow looks would be the trend du jour of all of the coolest celebrities and makeup artists? These vibrant color palettes aren't for the faint of heart, but I love what Vanngo did here with celebrity client Lily Aldridge. The shimmering pink lid is less intense than an opaque wash of hot pink, but the burgundy liner really makes it sing and opens up the eyes.
The Look: Tigereye
A friendly warning from us to you: Once you find yourself on Sarah Novio's Instagram, you'll never want to leave. (In fact, we love her work so much that we named her one of our up-and-coming beauty legends to watch earlier this year.) All of her makeup looks are, quite literally, a sight for sore eyes, but between this vampy dark lip and gem-like eye vibe (tigereye immediately comes to mind), we're chomping at the bit to try the look out ourselves ASAP.
The Look: Fresh Flames
Meet Nawel Moummad, a France-based beauty obsessee and makeup wiz who, like Novio, made our list of rising stars last September. Moummad's makeup MO is definitely bold, from flowers to pearls to gems to chunky glitter. No craft store–found item is left behind, and we admire her creative gusto and feel inspired to try our own versions of even her most out-there esthetics. I mean, if anyone is going to get me to adorn my eyelids with enchanting silver flames, it will be, without a doubt, Moummad. Her It list for this look is just below, and I'll be having everything she is, thanks.
The Look: Electric Tangerine
Thanks to all of our mask wearing, the focus has been (and most likely will continue to be) the eyes. That said, we're still proponents of megawatt lip looks, and who's to say a look consisting of a tangerine lip, fresh skin, and a practically naked eye isn't a fun new direction for your next Zoom meeting or socially distanced social venture. Here, Vanngo wields his magic yet again, and it's really all about electric lip lacquer, courtesy of Burberry.