It’s the show all over your social media. Portraying this generation of young people like never before, Euphoria is on everyone’s lips for good reason. Re-emerging one year after its release on your TikTok For You page, one of the most discussed aspects of the hit is its makeup, and it’s no surprise.
We’re used to makeup on screen in ways that make the actors look even more attractive, other teen shows like Riverdale stick to a certain look for each character that undoubtedly includes a perfect application, flawless skin, and apparently a wonder setting spray that enables their makeup to hold up through murder, sex, and god knows what else.
So when Euphoria debuted, it changed the game. Head of the makeup department Doniella Davy (who was previously known for her more subdued work on films like Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk)said she was inspired by the way in which Gen Z were using makeup to express themselves, braver than other generations had ever tried before. We’ve all seen it – from the graphic eyeliner, the face glitter at every Fruity, and even the palest of blue eyeshadow people of all genders are experimenting with makeup, tying it into their identity like many in the 80s did with their hair.
Most experimental of all are the looks Jules (played by artist and model Hunter Schafer) rocks, thin shapes of colourful eyeliner, tie-dye eyeshadow, and even no mascara with an envious ease. Exploring her gender identity through her appearance, we never see Jules stick to one particular style, instead changing her look to match her outfits, often pastel, feminine pieces like tennis skirts that exaggerate her playful, devil-may-care attitude. Playing off Zendaya’s Rue, who favours more androgynous, baggy fashion, the two contrast well. Rue only wears glitter, in a tear-esque under-her-eyes application that reflects her general mood throughout the show.
Balancing the looks so that they could be vibrant and experimental whilst not taking attention away from the plot was a challenge, but one Davy was successful in. Even the character who wears the most dramatic looks, cheerleader Maddy (played by Alexa Demie), manages to toe the line. Her looks are the ones you’re likely to be seeing – rhinestoned eyeliner and eyebrows, former pageant queen Maddy makes her careful application of her makeup part of her essential morning routine, necessary to cultivate her popular, badass image. Her more precise application is a character trait, whereas with characters like emerging-dominatrix Kat, the application is a little less perfect, much like the makeup we see on our typical day. The strong lines of Kat’s looks, from her blocked out brows to bright lips, acts as a defence mechanism, a barrier that prevents the world from seeing how she really feels.
A strong façade is the general theme for a lot of the characters on Euphoria as they navigate their way through life, but regardless of the reason, the creative looks have inspired people round the world to try their own interpretations. Less about looking like their favourite character and more about trying something different, the trend is a new, refreshing take on makeup. Focussing less on looking how society wants us to look, and more on what makes us feel cool, applying rhinestones and bright colours to our faces is a trend I hope will stay, bringing some joy to us in a dark time.
Header image: Instagram, HBO Euphoria.