I Tried Spring 2020's Coolest Graphic Makeup Looks

From the runway to real life.

Christian Siriano - Runway - September 2019 - New York Fashion Week
(Image credit: Victor VIRGILE)

Remember when glitter pigments and neon shades were reserved strictly for special occasions or going out? Well, times are changing, and with Euphoria-inspired makeup looks on the rise, it’s become trendier than ever to incorporate graphic makeup details into your everyday routine. The spring 2020 runway reinforced this philosophy—it was filled with kaleidoscopic looks, from heavy liner and glitter wings to face crystals and vinyl lips.

These looks, albeit gorgeous, might be a bit overwhelming for your morning work meeting or Sunday brunch with the girls. So we took this season’s coolest graphic takes and turned them into something a little more wearable. Ahead, seven minimalist versions of the maximalist makeup looks that dominated the runways—and a step-by-step guide to doing them yourself.

1. Watercolor Eyes at Christian Siriano

It’s time to whip out your inner Picasso. To get watercolor eyes, you'll need to paint your lids with multicolored splashes of eye shadow. At Siriano, models wore a strong colorblocked cat eye in neon hues. For a more versatile alternative, opt for shades in the same color palette. The sunset shadow look blends pastel hues of lemon yellow, tangerine, and red together for a transient effect.

  1. Apply a generous layer of primer all over your lids.
  2. Start with the lightest color first. Using a dense shadow brush, apply a yellow shadow to the inner corners of your eyes. Hot tip: Wet the brush first to pick up more pigment.
  3. Apply the orange shade to the center of your lids.
  4. Apply a light red shade to the outer lid, blending outward.
  5. With a blending shadow brush, blend the three colors together to get rid of any demarcation lines.
  6. Apply a red clay liner to the outer half of your waterline and a yellow liner to the inner half. Use an eyeliner brush to gently blend the liner outwards to help create a soft shadow effect just under your eye that follows the shape of your winged upper lid.
  7. Apply several coats of volumizing mascara and keep the lips bare or simple with a pink nude.

Watercolor Eyes: The Products I Used

2. Glitter Glam at Lutz Huelle

Glitter for adults is tricky. Done right, it looks elegant, festive, and glamorous—but one mishap can easily teleport your look into costume makeup territory. If you want to rock some sparkle without looking like a disco ball, the key is to keep the focus on the eyes. Glowy skin, combed brows, and a touch of lip gloss is all you need on the rest of your face.

  1. Apply a cream or white metallic shadow to your lids as a base.
  2. Using your finger or a shadow brush, press an opalescent-holographic eye gloss evenly over your entire lid.
  3. Line your upper and lower lash line with black liner (the more pigmented the better) to add some definition.
  4. Apply generous coats of mascara to your lashes. Optional: Add falsies for extra drama.
  5. Keep the lips simple with a pinky nude.

Glitter Glam: The Products I Used

3. Floating Liner at Rosie Assoulin

As someone with hooded lids, I can tell you floating liner is the ultimate beauty hack for avoiding smudged lids. The line goes in your crease instead of your upper lash line, and uses negative space to create a flicked look. Think of it as a minimalistic cut crease.

  1. Apply a single shadow all over your lid and up to your brow bone.
  2. Starting at the inner corner, draw a line between your lash line and brow. The trick is just to keep your eyes open and draw the floating liner as if your eye line is the same as your lash line.
  3. If you want to implement a wing, connect your lower lash line with the end of your line.

Floating Liner: The Products I Used

4. Exaggerated Lashes at Marc Jacobs

Face, Hair, Eyebrow, Lip, Cheek, Nose, Chin, Hairstyle, Skin, Beauty,

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

When it comes to camp lashes, longer is better. The outlandish, Bambi-esque fringe seen at Marc Jacobs featured exaggerated lengths with excessive amounts of mascara, for a Twiggy-inspired effect.

  1. Load on the mascara.
  2. Apply individual false lashes of various lengths to your upper lashes.
  3. After lining your upper lash line, use black eyeliner (felt tip works best) to draw lashes along lower lash lines.

Exaggerated Lashes: The Products I Used

5. Intense Blush at Tadashi Shoji

Bold blush is the new bronzer. Termed "draping," blush as contour creates a more romantic aura. At Tadashi Shoji’s spring 2020 show, bright pink blush was applied along the crests of the cheekbones and up the temples to create a sculpted flush. For a more subtle, less anime-like effect, opt for a sheer mauve shade and keep the eyes neutral.

  1. Apply a blush stick on the apples of your cheeks, dabbing softly with your fingers.
  2. Using a sculpting brush, sweep a slightly darker powder blush above your cheekbones to contour. Use the flat end to diffuse the color across your cheeks and up to your temples.
  3. Pair the blush with a champagne eyeshadow on the lids and a light pink balm for the lips.

Intense Blush: The Products I Used

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Hana Hong

Hana Hong is the beauty assistant at Marie Claire, where she covers skincare, makeup, and haircare, and is identifiable by her signature cateye.