For many of us, neon makeup is pretty intimidating. It’s not hard to understand why—putting the brightest and most unnatural colors on your face makes a big statement and attracts a lot of attention. But if you want to dip your toes into the world of neon, there are ways to subtly introduce a hint of brightness to otherwise neutral makeup. And this inner-corner neon highlight might just be the prettiest we’ve seen. So let’s start.
When going for a more out-there look, you want skin to look as flawless as possible. I’ve recently been loving the Go-To Skincare Exfoliating Swipeys, which do wonders for exfoliation. A quick go-over with one of these pads removes dead skin, leaving you with a smoother, softer, and glowier base. They can feel a little intense, though, so I follow with a super hydrating moisturizer like the Stratia Liquid Gold. This is designed to treat the skin with fatty acids and ceramides, giving it the most gorgeously soft and bouncy feel.
If you’re exfoliating in the morning, you’ll need to apply a high SPF on top. The Thrive Buildable Blur CC Cream has an SPF of 35, and it offers beautifully dewy medium coverage. I prefer to rub in with fingers to get the most natural possible finish. On any areas requiring high coverage, the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is tried and true. A small dot dabbed on areas of discoloration or blemishes will make them disappear before your very eyes. I recommend using a Beauty Blender dampened with the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin, which gives a flawless finish and infuses your base with a hydrated glow.
This look is rather matte, so if you want to emulate that, the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder is incredible. It mattifies the skin without ever looking dull, flat, or cakey. Dust on with a fluffy brush and then buff away any excess.
To subtly sculpt out the cheekbones without contouring, I love to use a taupe-toned blush. The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hours Blush in “Exposed” is my go-to, because the tone is perfect and the formula is fabulous. It’s matte, but looks natural and skin-like when applied. I like to use a smaller brush like the ELF Blush Brush and take the color just underneath the apples of my cheeks. Then, blend upwards. It’s a great alternative to a heavy (and often unnatural-looking) contour powder. To add some glow back to the skin, Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in “Candlelight” is fabulous. It’s subtle and finely milled, so you can apply liberally without ever accidentally looking like you’re glittery.
Fill in brows with a pen like the Glossier Brow Flick, which allows you to sketch individual hairs to give a more natural, feathery appearance. To add bulk to your existing hairs and set everything in place, the NYX Control Freak Brow Setting Gel is a fantastic budget choice.
Now for the fun part. To prime the lids and add a hint of color, apply the Stila Suede Shade Liquid Eyeshadow in “Sassy,” then tap with a finger to blend. Once it’s dry, go in with Glossier Pro Tip and line your upper lashline. Sketch out a very straight wing, aiming it toward the end of your eyebrow; then, fill in to connect it to your upper lashline. If you want a more intense color and matte finish, go over the top of your wing with the Illamasqua Powder Eyeshadow in “Obsidian” using an angled brush.
Once you’re happy with your wing, it’s time to add that neon. My personal favorite lime green shade is from the Colourpop Just My Luck Eyeshadow Palette—the middle shade called “Mary Jane.” It’s softly frosty but offers an intense color payoff. And as a bonus, the entire palette of nine shades costs just $12.
Take your neon shadow on a detailer brush and apply it to the inner corner of each eye. Once you’ve placed your color down, take a small, fluffy eyeshadow brush and blend the edges, bringing the shade slightly on to the inner portion of your eyelids, too. Finish with a couple coats of the Maybelline The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara, which is an absolute drugstore banger if you like long, fluttery, smudge-less eyelashes.
Line and fill in lips with a neutral pink liner. The Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in “Rosewood” is a classic for a reason. To give lips more dimension, dab the Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in “Sweet Mouth” in the center of your lips, then dab with a finger to blend it in.
Finish with many spritzes of the Tarte Shape Tape Stay Spray (which boosts makeup longevity without feeling tight or dry), some cute hairclips, and some dangle pearl earrings. Who said neon couldn’t be pretty?