Let’s face it—2020 isn’t the easiest time to feel happy. With everything that’s currently going on, you’d be forgiven for wanting to curl up in a ball and hide. But sadly, life’s not like that, and we have to get on with things. One area of life where you can easily give yourself a quick mood boost? Beauty. Hey, we’ve got to take what we can get right now, right?
If you, like many, are feeling the strain of life right now, I’m afraid I can’t offer any practical solutions. What I can offer, though, are some nail polish and eyeshadow recommendations. Hopefully, it’s better than nothing.
There’s just something undeniably cheering about neon. The loud, brash statement of a shade that almost makes your eyes hurt really helps lift any situation. For the eyes, I recommend the Lemonhead Glowjams—which are not only neon and glittery, but also glow in the dark. The shades “Electric Daze” (yellow) and “Palms” (green) are my favorites. Combine with a coating of the Nails Inc. Knightriders Street Neon Nail Polish for tips that look as though you’ve colored them in with a highlighter pen.
For something less loud, might I suggest a soft, shimmering pink? The cutesiness of the shade makes it intrinsically lovable, and there’s nothing wrong with leaning in to a little sickly sweetness. The Glossier Lidstar in “Slip” is the perfect eyeshadow for this effect, offering a soft, glowy veil of reflective pink to the lids. Pair it with the Dior Nail Glow Polish in “01,” which gives a sheer pink wash to your fingertips. Think of it like a tinted lip balm, but for your nails.
Doodling on the eyelids with a colored liner like the Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Ink Eye Liner can make for a very cool, editorial look (think Jules from Euphoria), especially when paired with a more natural look for the rest of the face.
If you want to introduce some nail art into your life but lack the dexterity, I highly recommend the Mani Me At Home Gel Mani Kit. These are essentially painted nail art designs that you can press over your nails. They’re custom-made to fit your beds perfectly and come in an amazing range of cool options.
Nothing says drama like an oversized, winged-out shape on the lid—think Amy Winehouse. I love the KVD Vegan Beauty Super Pomade Vegan Eyeliner, Shadow, and Brow Pigments to create these shapes. The product comes in pretty much every brow color under the sun, but I love the brighter reds, greens, and yellows for making a statement. They feel creamy as you apply, but once they set, they don’t budge.
Mirror the same dramatic shape on your nail tips through some clever use of masking tape. Cover either side of your nail tip before painting, then peel back to reveal a more modern, angular take on a French manicure. You can create fun color combinations with this method, too.
Not sure which color you want to use for your makeup? How about all of them? Take a fluffy brush and a rainbow-hued palette like the Illamasqua Artistry Palette in “Experimental” and go wild! There are no wrong answers, so dot and blend between your favorite shades as you wish. For nails, how about ten different colors across the spectrum? I enjoy red, orange, yellow, bright green, dark green, light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, and white. You probably already have a few of the shades in your arsenal, but if you need to fill in the gaps, the drugstore is your friend. Wet ‘n’ Wild, Revlon, and Maybelline all make high-quality formulas in a huge range of shades.
Playing with negative space in makeup can be a great way to create some more unusual looks that are quick and easy. Instead of your usual winged liner, sketch out the area around it, working through your crease and joining at the outer corner to your upper lash line. The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liners are pigmented, long-lasting, and come in a range of shades. You can create similar looks on your nails with a black polish (Essie Nail Polish in “88 Liquorice” is my go-to) and a liner brush. Get creative with your lines—you literally can’t go wrong.
Applying some lash glue and any small sequins or rhinestones always looks like you’ve done something skillful, but actually takes seconds to achieve. Similarly, use some nail glue to stick the same little glittery bits to your fingertips. You’ll look perfectly coordinated without much time or effort!
Half and half
The easiest nail “art” out there has to be simply painting each hand a different color. Pick a shade combination you love—my favorite is a chartreuse green (J Hannah Nail Polish in “Eames”) and a bubblegum pink (Essie Nail Polish in “Lovie Dovie”). Once you have your nails sorted, you can match the same shades on your eye. I love applying both the pink and green shades from the Makeup Addiction Meadow Palette, with one on the inner portion of my lid, and the other on the outer.
The look of molten metal will never not make my eyes feel happy. On the eyes, the new Ciate Shadow Flips are totally incredible. They’re the most intensely duo-chromed finish I’ve ever seen, flipping from one color to another depending on how the light hits. My favorite is “Peacock,” which shifts between jungle green and neon purple. Pair with a similarly shiny polish—the Revolution Beauty Duo Chrome Polishes come in a huge range of incredible two-tone shades.
Let’s finish with the ultimate in happy-making beauty products: glitter. There’s something just so silly and light-hearted about little chunks of reflective plastic. For eyes, I love the Smith & Cult Glitter Shots. Simply press your chosen color (and there’s literally not a dud in the line) all around your peepers with a fingertip. Smith & Cult also kill it in terms of glitter nails. Their nail polish in “Shattered Souls” is what I like to term a “grown-up” glitter—somehow more understated than the ‘00s looks of our youth, but still undeniably glittery, and therefore joyful.
Annie Walton Doyle