Neon beauty is having a moment. Recently, singer Selena Gomez took to Instagram to show off her neon coral make-up, which faded out from the inner corners of her eyes and was masterfully executed by Los Angeles-based make-up artist Jenna Nicole. To complete the look, the pop star wore a set of lime-green nails and a bronze tan.
Cut to Off-White’s AW21 show, and, once again, neon took centre stage. Using specially crafted crayons in neoprene orange and Yves Klein blue, which picked out the main colours of creative director Virgil Abloh’s latest collection, make-up artist Morgane Martini offered a masterclass in how to work a graphic-neon eye in an off-beat, modern way.
“The name of the show was Laboratory of Fun, which instantly led me to colourful make-up ideas, and Virgil wanted a strong eye,” Martini tells Vogue. “Neon is like bringing a flashlight to your face and, in this case, to your eyes. It was important that these looks reflected a kind of self-expression that could suit anyone, no matter the gender or age.”
Here, Martini shares her top tips for creating the perfect neon eye with a cool, modern twist.
1. Less is more
“My number one tip would be to use neon sparingly. There’s no need to go crazy here. I didn’t want anything that would take over from the actual looks. I just wanted it to be a little detail, a little splash of colour — a bit on the inner corner of the eye or a small eyeliner will give a strong impact and I love that.”
2. Go graphic
“The idea for those graphic elements came from the collection. They brought a touch of modern and cool. lt didn’t feel like make-up, it was more an accessory for the eye.
“To create the look, I used tape and went over it with a pencil. It’s not that difficult at all — you just have to place the tape correctly. It has an instant modern and creative feel, and the ability to be both bold and subtle. It’s nice to change things up and explore other ways to enhance features.”
3. Avoid the lash line
“Make sure it doesn’t get into the lash line and lashes. You can use a thin cotton swab dipped in micellar water to clean any mistakes after application.”
4. Keep colours to a minimum
“Neon is such a bold statement in itself that you have to be shy about applying it. You don’t want to look like you’re going to [California festival] Coachella. I used colours that I saw in the collection that felt complementary, without taking over everything.
“For the graphic line, we kept it monochromatic. Other looks have a mix of blue and orange, but, for example, the look I did on Joan Smalls had the blue, but with a warmer orange, not as bright. I kept it minimal — sometimes, things are more powerful when they’re simple. Whereas the more you use, it can become gimmicky and you lose impact.”
5. Leave everything else natural
“We wanted the make-up to be genderless, so that’s why I wanted to keep it clean, simple and paired with fresh skin. I didn’t even put blush, contour or any mascara on the models — it was really as pared back as we could get it.”
“Dark brown – nearly black – slightly downturned, and defined by the shape of their lids,” journalist Monica Kim wrote in a piece for Vogue back in June. “There is no wrinkle, no crease, no skin that falls back into the socket. Just a wide, flat plane that sits unmoving below my brows.” Kim was talking about her monolids, an eye shape possessed by many of East Asian descent, and one she shares with British Vogue’s luminous September cover star, Gemma Chan.
The web is awash with how-to videos and instructional articles on how to create the “ultimate” eye look, but unfortunately the techniques often ignore monolids. Here, Hiromi Ueda, the makeup artist behind Chan’s look, shares her top tips for achieving show-stopping eyes for monolids.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #61 series on my blog.
“I think the order you apply your makeup in is very important,” says Ueda. “It’s better to apply eyeshadow before you attempt a feline flick. And it’s wise to keep your eyes shut while the eyeliner is drying, to avoid reprinting the liner on top of your eyelid.”
Go bold and bright
With the onus being on accentuating the shape of the eye along the lash line, eyeshadow is a monolid’s best friend. Seek out bold and bright colours, and know that you can easily wear just one shade (instead of three, as those with double lids often do) across your lids. “I recommend choosing colour that’s impactful and which contrasts against a feline flick,” Ueda says. “I always check what my client is going to wear (and its key colours), so I can complement them in the makeup.”
Ueda is a fan of Mac’s Pigment Pots for the extensive shade range. Monolids can also pull off some colour below the eye, so if that takes your fancy, experiment with blending your chosen shade underneath, too.
How to create a feline flick
When drawing a feline flick, seek to extend the line outwards, rather than up towards the end tip of the brow – it will help to enhance the shape of your eyes. “Ensure the line looks straight when you open your eyes, so mark some points on the eye with an eye pencil or pen and then draw the defined line,” advises Ueda. You can further define and make eyes look wider by using a tightlining technique on the upper lash line – work your eyeliner into the waterline and areas between your eyelashes, for a subtle but impactful effect. Long-wear and waterproof eyeliners are best to ensure there’s less transfer onto surrounding skin.
For fluttery lashes
The trick to making eyelashes stand out if you have monolids is to curl them beforehand, says Ueda. “My biggest advice is also to replace your mascara regularly to avoid any clumpy bits, as they won’t create a perfect finish.” False eyelashes can also work really well.
Go for gloss
Many eye shapes struggle with eye gloss because it tends to crease and slide all over the face, impacting the overall eye makeup finish. Monolids, on the other hand, don’t have that problem, up the ante on your eye look with a little shine. “Apply alone or add some gloss on top of eyeshadow, as it can make colours stand out more,” says Ueda.