Euphoria's Iconic MUA Reveals Creative Makeup Tips You Need To Know



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If there’s one thing we live for when it comes to makeup, it’s the freedom of expression and creativity that it can channel. And last year’s extremely popular HBO series, Euphoria, was the perfect example of how much makeup can tell a story and define a character.

Euphoria delved deeply into the very real lives of teenagers and their battles, but it also created a makeup storm that had a major impact on the beauty world. You can thank Euphoria’s head makeup artist, Doniella Davy, for all those glittery, rhinestone-embellished eye looks and those colorfully painted lids you saw all over Instagram – they’re going nowhere in 2020. For a recap, check out all the incredible Euphoria makeup looks here.

We wanted to know everything about the process of creating those iconic looks, from Doniella’s clever makeup tricks and her top makeup tips, to how she got into the industry – ideal for any of you who want to follow in her superstar footsteps. Here’s everything you need to know from one of the beauty world’s biggest makeup talents.

Which Euphoria-themed makeup looks will be hot for 2020?

DD: I think bright color combos of color-blocked or ombre faded eyeshadows and winged liners with a rhinestone component (either an arch above the crease or floating on the lid or eyebrows) are trending right now – mostly thanks to Maddy and Jules’ makeup looks on Euphoria. And glitter tears obviously!


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What are your top tips for recreating the looks?

1. Use eyelash glue to secure rhinestones.

2. If you want to put glitter on top of eyeshadow, use a longwear cream eyeshadow (like Maybelline Color Tattoo [$8] or Makeup Forever Aqua XL Color Paints [$25] and layer a glitter gel on top of that (a glitter gel that dries to a completely dry finish, like Lemonhead).

3. For glitter tears, use a glitter gel that dries to a completely dry finish, like Lemonhead, and photograph at night! Glitter tears look the best in low lighting.

4. I love using a piece of scotch tape to help me get a sharp wing or color-block shape edge when I need to work fast and crisp.

5. Don’t think too seriously about what you know about applying makeup or what you think is necessary to do to correct the shape of your eyes or lips or brows. Think about how you can decorate them and what colors and shapes you can try that you haven’t before. I think bringing a fun and light-hearted sensibility to makeup is my favorite part about designing the makeup on Euphoria.

What are 5 makeup products you can’t live without on-set and why?


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1. Aerogel, $10: It’s an unscented and very strong hairspray that I love to use to comb brows up.

2. Burts Bees Honey Chapstick, $3.60: I use this on all the Euphoria girls when I want moisturized but matte lips.

3. Nanoblur Instant Skin Blurring Cream, $20: It’s an anti-shine cream that I apply with a beauty blender over foundation, in lieu of powder. I apply this sparingly, and only in the T-zone area that I want to keep a bit more matte. I try to avoid using too much powder on set, as the build-up over the span of a 14-hour day on set can start to become too dry. I love more creamy and dewy foundation formulas, and I rely on Nanoblur to make these formulas work on camera without becoming too shiny.

4. Powder and cream eyeshadows that deliver strong color. Brands I used a lot on Season 1 are ColourPop, Viseart, NYX, Maybelline, LimeCrime, and Makeup Forever.

5.  Without glitter gel and rhinestones, Euphoria makeup would have not been possible. I mainly used Lemonhead glitter gels on Season 1, and tons of different rhinestones from Amazon or fabric stores.

What are some of the weird makeup techniques you used for Euphoria that we could all learn from?


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DD: I think something I really embraced was stepping away from the “cut crease” look in favor of the color blocking technique. I also stepped away from certain ingrained approaches to makeup, for example, paying attention to how someone with hooded eyes “should” do their eye makeup. I was less concerned with making eyes bigger and eyebrows fuller, and more concerned with using makeup to tell stories and be cheeky and expressive. I think there was a lot of “un-doing” that happened for me. I have a tendency to look at a trend and do two things: Emulate it with my own spin, and say goodbye to it and do something that’s the opposite.

What’s your process for creating new and different looks?


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DD: When I create looks for Euphoria, the first thing I do is read the script, read the particular scene that I’m designing the makeup for, and think about what that character is going through in that moment, and what they have been through so far in the script. If the makeup doesn’t tie into the story, then it’s not serving its purpose.

In terms of all the makeup content that’s out there, I dive in head first to Instagram, soak up loads of looks, and then step away and come back to the story and also the lighting, set design and of course the costumes. I pay attention to what the DP (director of photography) is doing and what the lighting team has planned for a particulate scene. I do this because I want my looks to be visible and effective in low light. It’s half and half a creative process AND a technical/logistical process to design the Euphoria looks.

When it comes to actually applying the makeup on the Euphoria cast, it’s about starting with one idea (that is, of course, a combination of hundreds of ideas and already-existing makeup looks out there) and then allowing that to morph into something else until something clicks or until the time is up and they have to go to set! 

How did you get into makeup?

DD: I have a background in visual art: painting, drawing, and photography. I went to art school in Brooklyn, NY, at Pratt Institute and graduated with a BFA in Photography in 2010. By 2012, I decided to pursue makeup for film & TV because it sounded more creative and active than interning at a gallery, which is what I was doing at the time. I went fully into this career blindly. No formal training, no peers, no overthinking. I cold-called a random makeup artist who had worked in the film industry for nearly 30 years and asked if I could apprentice with her and learn from her. Independently from her, I started working on short films at various film schools around LA. I would respond to Craigslist ads that were seeking makeup artists. I had made an online portfolio of images of my friends and family in various makeup looks. Nobody who hired me knew these pics were of my friends and family. Student films were my training ground, where I learned how to run a makeup department and do everything from glam makeup to SFX makeup.

Check out Doniella’s Instagram for more makeup inspo and insights into her creative process, which is truly fascinating for any makeup lover.