Euphoria: eyeliner and ecstasy

If you’re looking to spice up your Instagram content then the newly launched ‘Reels’ feature is the change to make. Insta’s version of short-form video platform TikTok, the app segment includes filters, games and audios to roll over the top of your next 15 second clip. Like its older sibling TikTok, the audios on offer wed infamous soundbites from past and present TV shows with trending songs from the charts to create the ‘Insta baddie’ vibe flawlessly.

Current fan favourites for such audios are those featuring quotes from teen drama Euphoria. With 11.1billion views under the Euphoria hashtag on TikTok, it’s evident how much influence the TV programme currently has. 

After its 2019 premier, the series launched on HBO depicting the lives of high school students in their exploration of identity, trauma, drugs, friendship, love and sex. The show is based on the Israeli TV miniseries under the same name with Drake starring as an executive producer. As well as its A-list producer, Euphoria boasts a notable cast with Zendaya, Alexa Demie and Sydney Sweeney. The social media traction created by season one translated to the immediate renewal of the show for another season. On January 9, the second season debuted on streaming sites. 

Euphoria cemented itself in pop culture credit to the dramatic and symbolic makeup looks featured throughout. #Euphoriamakeup has 867million views and counting on TikTok with fans eager to recreate the now iconic styles. Series one consisted of an endless amount of glitter and dramatic eyeshadow combined with block graphic colours. In contrast to the misogynistic stereotype that makeup is futile, Euphoria has harnessed the ability to convey characters’ emotions with the stroke of a brush. A prime example of such artistry in season one is when Rue – played by Zendaya – was under the influence and glittery tears streamed down her face. Consequently, for the remainder of the season under-eye glitter on the character of Rue conveyed emotions of upset and fragility. 

The attraction to the over the top looks spurred on by Euphoria meant that season 2 had a lot to live up to. Makeup designer for the show Donniella Davy took to Instagram to give her followers an insight into the makeup on display this time around. “Season 2 is like season 1’s introverted sister,” Davy penned on her account @donni.davy. “She has her full glam moments but then switches to super minimalism.”

Opting for a “softer version of twinkling Euphoria glam”, the moodier and refined makeup of season 2 has already been recreated countless times across social media platforms. Most noticeable is Sydney Sweeney’s – who plays Cassie – look in episode one. Close attention to detail shows Sweeney’s eyelids framed with mini rhinestones to create an air of innocence amongst the darker dramatics of the debut episode. 

Makeup artist Andra Curta is all too aware of the chokehold this show has Gen Z in, and she recently worked her skills at an event that requested Euphoria style makeup. “It was all about glitter, sparkles, gems and everything colourful,” the 20-year-old tells me. “What surprised me was the fact that, even though the event was for a company, everyone from women to men were so excited to get their makeup done and seemed to know, more or less, what Euphoria is about. This goes to show how much of an impact that show has.”


Image courtesy of Andra Curta and Aoife Madeley. Euphoria inspired make-up shoot.
Images courtesy of Andra Curta and Aoife Madeley. Euphoria inspired make-up shoot.


Andra and I conducted a shoot with the theme of Euphoria to collaborate both our areas of work and to explore the significance of the hit show in the current social landscape.

Curta writes on the impact the show has had due to social media:

“Natural skin, graphic eyeliner, gems and glitter are the trend right now. Shows like Euphoria are what set trends within our society and it’s where I get some of my inspiration from as well because not only are they beautiful to look at, they also have a meaning behind them. The show follows a group of teenagers as they navigate through their experiences of identity, trauma, love, sex, friendships and what better way to express this than by how you present yourself which is why so many people on social media relate to it and recreate it.

“Nowadays, you see people getting out of their comfort zone and using bold makeup. Gems and colours are starting to become the new trend with people associating sparkles and graphic eyeliner with Euphoria. I think that the reason why it has become so popular on social media is because people are tired of the basic heavy ‘Instagram’ beat and want something more natural on the face but also risqué on the eyes. 

“The makeup is supposed to represent how the characters are feeling during that moment. Glitter symbolises magic, the feeling you get when you are with someone who makes you feel alive, but putting it under the eyes and it translates as sadness. 

“This is what I love about makeup, that it has endless meanings and you can play around with so many things and create amazing looks all while giving people a way to show who they really are.” 

As the Euphoria fascination doesn’t look to be dying anytime soon, there is no doubt that viewers will be adding neon eyeliners and rhinestones to their upcoming Beauty Bay hauls. With the second season having only just been released and still managing to create such an indent on social media with just one episode, we are intrigued to see what other trends are on the horizon. 

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