Let me just put it out there that, until fairly recently, I avoided pink eye shadow like the plague—namely because I thought it would make me look like I had the plague. Or pink eye. Or one too many glasses of wine the night before. So when I started seeing pink-washed lids all over social media and among the celebrity set, in particular, I was intrigued… mesmerized in fact! It's no secret that bold, colorful makeup looks have had an extended moment in the spotlight via graphic liners, sparkling finishes, and cool, avant-garde shadow designs, but for the most part, the trend veered more neutral and cool, most often utilizing shades like blue, purple, and green. But recently, the rise of pink eye shadow and liner has increased steadily, and in a surprising plot twist, the effect is purely chic and not the least bit sickly.
Any maximalist makeup look can be intimidating for us novices, but pulling off a technicolored eye-shadow vibe feels especially challenging (at least to me, anyway!) That said, since my camera roll and IG saves currently runneth over with inspiration pics and looks demonstrated by all of my favorite makeup artists and celebrities, I figured it was high time to investigate the growing trend and to find out once and for all how to conquer the process like a pro. To lend some guidance and expert intel on the subject, I reached out to makeup artist and CEO of her eponymous makeup brand Danessa Myricks and celebrity makeup artist Donni Davy aka the color-blitzed mastermind behind Euphoria's ultra-cool makeup aesthetic.
Here, you'll find plenty of inspiration photos to whet your appetite in addition to Myricks's and Davy's top tips for creating your own pink eye-shadow moment at home. (Trust me. It's more attainable than you're thinking.) Keep scrolling for everything you need to know and feel free to take screenshots along the way. In fact, it's encouraged!
Tip #1: Forget All the "Rules" and Ignore Your Undertone
"There is one major pink eye-shadow rule that I abide by: It's absolute BS that only certain pinks go with certain skin tones," Davy emphasizes. "To me, it’s all subjective, and it completely depends on the desired outcome. If you want to start experimenting with pinks but you’re feeling a bit timid, I’d recommend playing with sheer-pink, shimmery tones used as a topper on a bare eye. If you love bold eye shadows but aren’t really sure about pink, take a baby step and layer a shimmery pink over a blue, turquoise, purple, or orange eye shadow to create a two-toned effect."
Myricks agrees, saying the absolute best strategy for choosing your shade of pink is to decide the type of look you are going for (be it natural, soft, elegant, dramatic, etc.) and then to determine the tone and intensity you're comfortable with from there. The key takeaway? When it comes to pink eye shadow, the only rule is that there are no rules.
Tip #2: Put More Emphasis on Contrasting or Complementing Your Undertone
"Contrast is the key when choosing the perfect tone of shadow to create the look you want," says Myricks. "The more the shadow shade contrasts with your skin tone, the more intense or dramatic the final look will be." For instance, if you're dipping your toe in and are going for a more natural look, Myricks suggests beginning the process by mirroring the depth of your skin tone.
"If you are very fair and want a natural look, a soft pastel pink will look effortless and natural. As the skin tone gets deeper, the depth of the tone you select should get deeper to maintain the natural appearance. As you dial your shade up or down in depth of color in contrast to the depth of the skin tone, you simultaneously increase how dramatic the final look will be," she adds. The key takeaway? Decide if you want to complement or contrast your undertone. The former will call for a pink eye-shadow shade that's closer to your skin tone (richer shades of pink for richer skin tones and lighter shades of pink for lighter skin tones), while the latter will call for a shade of pink that's less similar to you skin tone—warmer tones on cool skin will appear more dramatic, while cool tones on warner skin will have more of an impactful pop.
Tip #3: Dial Up Your Look Like an Expert
While Davy doesn't abide by strictly "daytime" or "nighttime" makeup looks, she does have some helpful tips if you're looking to dial up the drama of your pink eye-shadow, regardless of the time of day or occasion.
"I 100% don’t believe in certain looks only being appropriate for day or night, but for a casual pink eye-shadow look, I’m obsessed with a sheer shimmery powder or liquid eye shadow applied all the way over the lids and finished with burgundy or dark-blue mascara. The look will be colorful in an understated way. To level up the drama, add detail to your lash line, like a wing or baby wing, or if wings aren’t your thing, add tiny rhinestones spaced out along your lash line."
Tip #4: Nude Eyeliner Will Counteract the "Sickly" Effect
"I actually love when eye-shadow colors give off a sort of disturbing or sickly look, but to balance out an unwanted potential sickly vibe, just throw a flesh-colored eyeliner on your lower waterline, curl your lashes, and put on some good mascara to make your eyes really pop," says Davy.
Additionally, she suggests sweeping a "non-aggressive" layer of blush atop your upper cheekbones and blending it up toward your temples for a naturally lifted and sun-kissed effect—the exact opposite of "sick" or tired.
Tip #5: Pay More Attention to Your Crease Than the Shape of Your Eye
According to Myricks, your eye shape won't dictate what looks you can or can't try with pink eye shadow. That said, it will help to pay attention to where your crease hits. "Remember to always blend above the crease or any fold of skin," she notes.
Tip #6: There's No Need to Overthink the Rest of Your Makeup
"Monochromatic looks between the eye, cheek, and lips are very harmonious and easy to look at—I love using hints of the color on the eye on the cheek and lips as well to instantly tie the look together," explains Myricks.
That said, if a matchy-matchy aesthetic isn't really your thing, both Myricks and Davy emphasize that a nude or deep, dark burgundy or plum will create a striking distinction between the eyes and the lip. Really, it all comes down to personal preference and the type of look you're going for. Remember! There are no rules here.
How to Create 4 of Our Favorite Pink Eye-Shadow Looks
Do it: For a clean, dramatic cat-eye effect, Myricks recommends swiping one shade on the entire lid, pulling it out and upward at the outer corners. For a more smoldering look (versus crisp and clean), blend the color up above the crease of the eye, wherever your crease may fall, for the ultimate pink smoky-eye effect.
Do it: "Swipe a pink eye-shadow shade across the entire lid starting from the lash line and blending upward toward the brow," directs Myricks. "The greatest intensity will be closest to the lash line and will diffuse as the shade blends up through the brow. Follow the same process, starting from the bottom lash line and blending downward. Connect the top and bottom color at the outer corner of the eye and smudge, then add gloss to the entire lid."
Do it: Start by layering a pink tone of eye shadow that's deeper than your skin tone over the entire lid. Then, choose a light-pink tone with shimmer or reflex and add it to the center of the lid, blending toward both the inner and outer corner of the eye. Add the same shimmery shade to the inner corners of the eye to finish.
Do it: "Begin by placing a deeper, warmer shade of pink across the entire lid and around the entire eye. Next, add a lighter, cooler shade of pink directly on top, overlapping midway through the first color," directs Myricks.