How To Wear '80s Neon On Your Eyes RIGHT NOW

I've shown you my favorite ways to do super-bright lips; now it's time for some day-glo eyes.
Publish date:
July 5, 2013
eyeliners, eyeshadows, mac, Tarte, lush, obsessive compulsive cosmetics, neon

Working in fashion is weird for so many reasons. But one of the most bizarre things about it is that you’re always working a season or two ahead. I’ve spent a decent amount of the last week looking at menswear Spring/Summer 2014 collections, which is kinda disorientating when magazines are showing SS13 and I am thinking of shoots using Fall 2013.

It also means that it takes a while for the trends that I obsess over to become relevant to write about. I’ve been holding onto neon accents for the past few seasons but it’s taken me a while to want to incorporate them into my makeup routine (also: beauty trends--are those even a real thing?) and I have finally decided it is time. NEON EYES, PEOPLE.

There has been the most amazing resurgence of '80s vibes for Spring/Summer 13: Balenciaga had power-dressing, Erdem and Simone Rocha had the best neons, Gaultier directly referenced '80s stars from Madonna to Grace Jones and Bowie. I don’t have the dolla to buy runway looks and I’m pretty sure you don’t either (working in fashion has also made me realize that nobody actually buys this stuff) but I can splash out on some jazzy eyeshadows. Plus, I wear black constantly, and it is nice to spice it up a little so I don’t look like I’ve just stepped out of a morgue or off the set off The Craft.

My first pick is yellow. I am hugely into yellow eye makeup at the moment; apparently, to me, there’s something super-cool about looking a little bit like you have jaundice (even though my liver is soooo healthy these days, guys). It’s kind of a bitch finding yellows that stick properly--actual yellows rather than some sad yellowy tinged beige, but I did it. Just for you guys.

I wanted something that works for me on a regular Thursday workday, rather than some insane spandex and legwarmer throwback. Firstly, I powdered over my eyes with MAC Chrome Yellow Eye Shadow, which gave me a solid base to work with. It is densely pigmented and matte so you can get a clear definition of colour (which is a struggle with yellow), but I wanted to blend it a little more than I felt I could with a solid eyeshadow.

So I picked up Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour in Pollen Count and used that to blend around the edges. This has a little golden shimmer, which added dimension (which, for me, is the way to stop this being too OTT '80s; flat colours on my face never look particularly fabulous), and I could use a fluffy eye brush to work it into a bit of a blend into my upper eye socket.

I then penciled under my eyes with MAC’s Chromagraphic Pencil in Primary Yellow and worked a little of the Loose Colour around there, too, with a smaller brush.

By this point, I looked pretty cool but my eyes looked about a third of the size, so I used Tarte SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner to paint over my top lashline, close to my lashes, and their Skinny SmolderEYES pencil in Onyx for my lower lashline. These are both incredibly waterproof, so when I wandered out into the damp summer of London, I didn’t end up panda-faced.

I blended the SmolderEyes carefully (it has a little blendy sponge on it), leaving a quarter of my inner eye bare because I always find working right up to the inner corner makes me look a little squinty. Then, because Tarte is my new favourite brand (seriously, how good are they?), I also used one coat of their Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara to give me super-lashes. It comes in a purple snakeskin case: so '80s.

I legitimately believe that, with the rest of my face left bare, this is a completely workable daytime look. I mean, I wore it to go buy some cigarettes before I took these photos and nobody stopped me in the street in horror. In fact, my housemate said I looked cool. So, ace.

But then I thought, screw it, and went for a neon pink look which made me feel like a wonderful hybrid of Cyndi Lauper and David Bowie.

As you might have noticed, I am a real stickler for the beauty brands I know and trust, and I rarely have faith in beauty lines that diversify into cosmetics as a secondary focus. HOWEVER. I have been proven wrong: Lush’s Liquid Lipstick (yes, lipstick) in Passionate is one of the best eye stains I have ever found.

It is a liquid that you paint on with a little lipgloss-y brush and then it turns to a powdery shine, and it is incredibly bright pink but has undertones of shimmery violet. Again, this adds my much-demanded dimension and it stays on like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

The only problem is that it is incredibly dense, so I found it kind of impossible to blend, but I used obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour in Cherry Pop to blend around the inner corners of my eyes, and draw the colour out into a kind of cat-eye shape (just in case it didn’t look '80s enough).

I then used the same combination of Tarte products to add finishing touches of black, black, black, swept my hair into a ponytail and I was done! Ready for aerobics! Or Studio 54! Or whatever else went on in the 80s. Live Aid? The Falklands War? CHIC.

What do you guys think of my vaguely trendy bright eyes? It was so easy peasy. Do you want more colours? I have so many more colours… Also: neon and '80s, yay or nay? How good is that Erdem dress? Will you fund my Kickstarter to get one? What bright colours do you use that actually work? I am so sick of those half transparent shimmery ones…