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5 Trendy and Subtle Neon Makeup Looks

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Tori loves trying out new makeup looks and sharing her expertise and tutorials with others.

Learn how to create these neon makeup looks.

Learn how to create these neon makeup looks.

Don't Worry, There Are No Makeup Rules

In my years spent working at a popular makeup store, I learned a lot about doing makeup in many different ways. I was also able to expand my own makeup collection with my employee discount. I fell in love with unique styles that I saw in-store and started copycatting the ones I liked best.

What I love about colorful makeup is that there are no rules! It looks amazing on any skin tone, eye color, and face shape. What matters is that you find a look you love.

Neon Makeup Looks: It's Not All Skulls and Halloween

While my primary love is Halloween and neon makeup looks often fall into that category, there are ways to utilize the trend without looking like you’re ready for the best holiday of the year! Many brands at all price points carry a neon line.

Start With a Good Base

Neon makeup needs a nice, even, flat base to give the vibrancy everyone wants. There are a number of ways to achieve it, but here are some products I use that help it stay vibrant and keep it from melting off.

  • Concealer: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. This creates a nice, full coverage base. I use it anywhere I need a little color correction.
  • Eyeshadow Primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. This product is just magical and really is crease-free!
  • Setting Spray: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray. When you finish your makeup, you can set it with a spritz of this stuff. I’ve tried many setting sprays, and this one is hands-down the best. Setting spray also pulls double-duty because you can use it to wet your eyeliner brush before applying a powder liner. This helps powder liners stay brighter for longer!

Neon Eyeliner Looks and How to Apply Them

Using neon as part of your eyeliner is one of the easiest ways to get a neon makeup look without going over the top. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use it with instructions.

Double up your liner with Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in "Intense Black" and LA Girl Shockwave Neon Eyeliner in "Fresh."

Double up your liner with Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in "Intense Black" and LA Girl Shockwave Neon Eyeliner in "Fresh."

How to Do a Double Wing Neon Eyeliner

This one is so simple and perfect for someone who just wants a little color added to their normal makeup. My daily routine is concealer and highlighter, with black winged liner and black mascara. Adding this pop of blue is a great way to achieve a neon makeup look without looking gaudy.

Makeup Used:

  • Black Eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Intense Black
  • Blue Eyeliner: LA Girl Shockwave Neon Eyeliner in Fresh
  • Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Royal Blue (but if you want something less subtle, use Lime Crime Astronomical Mascara in Blue Moon)

Instructions:

  1. Apply a base of concealer.
  2. Apply a standard winged liner using black eyeliner.
  3. Gently draw a thin line with the blue eyeliner above the black.
  4. Finish the look with a subtle blue mascara.

Tip: Sometimes gel-based liner pencils can be tricky to apply in a thin line, so if you’re having trouble, use an angled liner brush to get some pigment from the pencil and then apply with the brush instead. You can also use the liner brush to smooth out an already drawn line and bring it closer to the black.

Fully lined neon eyeliner is easy with eyeshadows that can double as eyeliner using an angled liner brush!

Fully lined neon eyeliner is easy with eyeshadows that can double as eyeliner using an angled liner brush!

How to Do a Fully Lined Neon Eyeshadow Eyeliner

Yes, this look is technically eyeliner, but believe it or not, it was entirely created with eyeshadow! It is easy to pull double duty with your neon makeup look if you get yourself one really nice neon eyeshadow palette and a few types of makeup brushes.

Makeup Used:

  • Aqua: Gonzo from the Urban Decay Electric Palette
  • Neon Yellow-Green: Thrash from the Urban Decay Electric Palette

Instructions:

  1. Apply a base of concealer and eyeshadow primer.
  2. Apply the blue eyeshadow with a wet, angled liner brush, and wing it out as much as you'd like. (A wet brush is important! The color will be much more vibrant. You can use a setting spray to wet the brush—it will stay vibrant and last longer.)
  3. Apply a little primer under the eye along the lash line using a clean angled liner brush.
  4. Apply the neon yellow on top of the primer (again with a wet brush), taking care to bring it all the way up to the lash line and dragging it out to the point of the blue wing.
  5. Finally, take a smidgen of neon yellow and apply it to the inner corner of the eye with your pinky finger, then blend it in a bit.

I was so sad to find out the Urban Decay Electric Palette has been discontinued because it is truly one of my favorites! Not to worry though, their newer neon palette, Wired, contains two colors that are nearly identical titled Chaos and Jolt, respectively.

Neon Eyeshadow Looks and How to Apply Them

If eyeliner looks just aren’t doing it for you, add a step up by applying neon eyeshadow for your neon makeup look!

Combining different shades of eyeshadow and eyeliner will help you pump up your neon makeup look even more!

Combining different shades of eyeshadow and eyeliner will help you pump up your neon makeup look even more!

How to Do a Multicolor Neon Eyeshadow Look

Looking to be a little more daring? Add more than one color by following this simple neon shadow and eyeliner placement.

Makeup Used:

  • Neutral pink: Burnout from the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette
  • Hot Pink: Savage from Urban Decay Wired Palette
  • Yellow: LA Girl Shockwave Neon Eyeliner in Screamin
  • Blue: LA Girl Shockwave Neon Eyeliner in Fresh
  • Black: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Intense Black

Instructions:

  1. Apply a concealer and eyeshadow primer base.
  2. Use a standard eyeshadow brush to add a wash of the neutral pink color Burnout over the inner eyelid.
  3. Gently press the hot pink color Savage underneath the crease all the way down to the lashes on the outside of the eye.
  4. Switch to a small, dry blending brush and fade the hot pink into the neutral pink.
  5. Use the yellow liner to line the bottom lash line. Smooth it out with an angled liner brush if needed.
  6. Apply a smidgen of the blue liner on the inner eye, again smoothed by an angled liner brush as needed.
  7. Apply a thin line of the black liner to the upper lash line and into the lower waterline.
Go bolder in your eyeshadow with neon purples!

Go bolder in your eyeshadow with neon purples!

How to Do an Electric Purple Neon Eyeshadow Look

The most daring color application of them all extends the color past your crease and into your eyebrow line. This is one of my favorite looks, and it is all about blending.

Makeup Used:

  • Neutral pink: Burnout from the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
  • Grayish neutral: Darkside from Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
  • Bright Purple: 1985 by Urban Decay (single shadow pot)
  • Light Purple: Blue Moon from the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Pallete
  • Black: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Intense Black

Instructions:

  1. Apply a neutral base of concealer and eyeshadow primer.
  2. Apply the primer all the way up to the eyebrows to give a good blending surface for the eyeshadow.
  3. Use the neutral pink color Burnout to blend out between the eyebrows and crease so that the neon eyeshadow doesn’t end up too high on the lids.
  4. Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to blend the grayish neutral color Darkside from the outer lid to just before the inner edge of the pupil, following the natural line of the crease.
  5. Use a wet brush to press the bright purple color 1985 into the eyelid from the outer corner to about midway above the pupil.
  6. Use the fluffy brush to blend the bright purple into the grayish neutral.
  7. Apply the light purple Blue Moon highlight to the inner corners using a clean fluffy eyeshadow brush.
  8. Finish the look with a black winged liner and your favorite black mascara.
If you prefer neutral colors on your eyes and are instead looking for neon somewhere else, a bright lipstick is a great way to go!

If you prefer neutral colors on your eyes and are instead looking for neon somewhere else, a bright lipstick is a great way to go!

Neon Lipsticks

Not a fan of having color on your eyes? Try a neon lipstick instead. Neon lipsticks will add a bright color to your makeup routine without overpowering your look. They add a perfect complement to standard neutral makeup!

Neon lipsticks are fairly simple to apply, you just have to find one that is a finish and color that you love. In the photo, I’m wearing NYX Line and Load All-In-One Lippie, in the color Girl, Please. This color is a matte, long-wear liquid lipstick.

If you’re looking for a less natural neon color such as blue, I recommend NYX’s other line Liquid Suede. It has a similar look and feel, with colors such as blue, orange, and purple available.

Where to Buy Neon Makeup

There are so many places to get your hands on some neon makeup, but your best bet for finding makeup is going to be cosmetics-specific stores such as Ulta or Sephora. They carry the widest and most complete selections of brands, many of which carry lines of neon makeup that will be easy to compare in-store.

Urban Decay Wired Palette Swatches on different skin tones.

Urban Decay Wired Palette Swatches on different skin tones.

My Favorite Neon Makeup Palettes and Brands

Urban Decay

As you can see, I’m quite partial to Urban Decay! They have a variety of fun colors that pop so nicely in eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick colors. The Wired palette is an excellent palette to invest in if you want multipurpose eyeshadow that can also be used as eyeliner.

BH Cozmetics Trendy in Tokyo Palette

BH Cozmetics Trendy in Tokyo Palette

BH Cosmetics

BH Cosmetics also has an excellent neon palette called Trendy in Tokyo. This sixteen-color palette would be incredibly gorgeous as eyeliner or eyeshadow.

All of the NYX Vivid Brights colors

All of the NYX Vivid Brights colors

NYX

If you prefer using liquid eyeliners to using a powder and a brush, turn to NYX Vivid Brights liquid eyeliner. It has the pigment, the staying power, and a microscopic tip to make your eyeliner go on perfect every time!

Is Neon the Same as Glow in the Dark?

Nope! Neon colors are fluorescent, which means that they will appear bright in daylight, but they won’t “glow” unless they are under a blacklight. Glow-in-the-dark colors are phosphorescent, which means they will glow in a dark space after being exposed to bright light beforehand.

Differences between neon and glow-in-the-dark colors.

Differences between neon and glow-in-the-dark colors.

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