We interrupt your Hot Girl Summer to bring you some important news: Neon eyeliner is officially thee beauty look of the season. Seen on the likes of Rihanna, Camila Mendes, and Kendall Jenner, vibrant colors and geometric shapes are replacing traditional going-out looks for something splashier. Smoky eyes found dead in a ditch. The black cat-eye is shook.
For someone who sticks to the same neutral hues every day (guilty), taking on a neon eye look can be daunting. Luckily, ELLE.com spoke to makeup artist Hayley Kassel, who has worked on campaigns for Fenty Beauty and ColourPop, to give us her best eye makeup tips and tricks. From beginner lined eyes to sophisticated shapes, here’s how to master the colorful lid.
The neon liner trend is all about self-expression.
“Right now in the industry, we are all about freedom and representing yourself in any way that’s comfortable to you,” Hassel explains. “The cat eye-liner trend—some people just started getting tired of it and they wanted to play it up or punch it up in any sort of way. Instead of a black cat-eye, it would be a blue cat-eye or adding autumn blue mascara to it. From there on, it transpired from just being a cat-eye shape, to all of a sudden a cat-eye shape that connects to a crease line, and creative liner started coming into almost all of the shoots I was on. It lets people be so much more artistic and expressive and it’s kind of taking over makeup as a whole.”
Make sure to use an eye primer and keep a Q-tip handy.
“With the heat that’s going on right now, you need a good eye primer, especially if you have oily lids,” Hassel says. “Make sure you have a really clean bottom base with eye primer and have a pointy brush or Q-tip on hand, just for when you’re making those sharp edges or shapes. That’s my go-to for cleanup any time: A pointy Q-tip and the tiniest bit of the moisturizer I use on the model, and if you have a flub up or a line that goes a little too far, you just dip it in that same moisturizer and drag it right along and it picks up the product like it’s nothing. No smudges, no bad clean up. Not biased, but the Fenty eye primer is awesome. The Urban Decay one has a matte finish to it. Those are my two favorites for sure.”
Take your time.
“I always say to take a step back. Don’t do anything to completion. Just go step by step. It’s never done in one fell swoop,” the makeup artist suggests. “Looking at both eyes, making sure they match, always keeping that q-tip on hand. Practice makes perfect. I know, it’s such a cliché thing.”
For beginners, start small.
“If someone is totally fine with wearing a regular black cat-eye and then taking, let’s just say, a neon yellow, and right up against the outer side of the cat-eye, just drawing along the edge of it with that neon yellow, it changes the look completely,” Hassel suggests. “A lot of people dig a pop of color at the end of the cat-eye. I do it with neon blue and orange as well. It gives a little pop to it and made me want to explore and see what I could do with the colors. So instead of outlining just the edge of the cat-eye, I outline the entire thing.
Treat the eye like a canvas.
“There’s a picture of Slick [Woods] on my account and she has this neon blue box that’s above her tear duct, that’s kind of right up against the nose,” Hassel explains. “For someone wanting to kick it up a notch, play with that area, arches or boxes, and create a little shape right there. It’s the front of your crease and an awesome place to play with colors. And it can be a shape on its own while you do a cat-eye on the other end.”
Experiment with a wing from the bottom.
“Other ways I would say is, try an under-eye cat-eye—one that’s connecting from underneath your bottom lashes and going up,” she adds. “Since we always keep a cat eye on the top part of our lid, if you connect it to the bottom with a pop of color, it really creates a different shape and a different eye dimension. And that crease, creating a line that’s right above your crease and connecting. The eye is a canvas and you can go as big or little as you want.”