Trend Alert: The Red Eye Has Arrived! - QC Makeup Academy

Listen, we know what you’re thinking. Red eye makeup? On trend? Yeah, right.

But when you take the time to think about it, red eye makeup actually makes a lot of sense. We’ve been sporting scarlet lipstick for centuries—it was only a matter of time before that super-hot shade moved up to our eyes. Lady Gaga’s stunning Super Bowl look earlier this year just sealed the deal.

Plus, according to color psychology, red is the color of energy, passion, love, danger, and action. So if you’re looking for a confidence boost—or trying to wow that special someone on a first date—skip the smoky eye for a look that packs a real punch.

Red and black smokey eye

Wondering how to wear this bold trend? We’ll walk you through it!

The Statement

The first thing you have to know about wearing red is that it’s a go-big-or-go-home kind of deal. Red is a bold color. If you’re going to go for it, you have to commit. Go for a shadow with a ton of pigment—there’s no point trying a red eye if you’re just going to end up with something pale and pink-ish. Bonus points for glitter!

Red eye shadow and lipstick over pale base

Gothic red eye makeup

When it comes to the application, go all out. Brush a layer or two of your favorite red shadow all over your lids (we love NYX’s Hot Singles Eye Shadow in Bad Seed and Manic Panic’s Vampire Red Powder Blush/Eyeshadow). Then blend up towards your eyebrows for some sultry red smolder, and brush a thick line of shadow underneath your eye as well.

Finally, make sure you play up the look to the max. Keep foundation as pale as possible, and play down your brows by filling them in with a liner, shadow, or brow pencil that’s a close match to your skin tone.

The Hangover

Don’t be fooled by the name—this look is essential for anyone who wants to bring a little more red into their everyday look. The toughest part of creating this showstopper? Finding a liner that’s up to the job. Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Liquid Eyeliner in Iridescent Red can do the trick, but you can also just grab your red shadow and an eyeliner brush.

This look is super simple—perfect when you’re in a hurry and need a quick makeup fix. Draw a thick stripe of liner or shadow under your lower lash line. Don’t worry about blending—you want this look to stay crisp. Add a bit of mascara and you’re good to go!

Red eye liner

From a distance, this look shows that you’re not afraid to let loose and party, never mind the cost next morning! Up close, that subtle swipe packs in all of red’s power for eyes that are sure to entrance.

The Burn

Another look that’s scarier than it sounds. This one is basically like the first look, but with an edgy twist that’s right off the runways. Sport these shiny red eyes on your next night out and you’re sure to turn heads!

Glossy red eye shadow

Once you’ve got your up-to-the-eyebrows red shadow layered on, finish it off with a layer of gloss. If you’re in love with the look and know you’ll be recreating it on a regular basis, you might want to look for a specialty eye gloss product. If you’re just taking it for a test-run—or you’re working on a tight budget—all you need is some Vaseline.

Glossy red eye shadow

Pro Tip: Mix your red shadow with a little black, and you can use this same technique to create a super-fast, super-simple SFX burn wound!

The Keep-Your-Distance

Let’s be real—once in a while, every girl needs a look that says watch it. If you’re still struggling to find yours, well, look no further. Red’s psychological association with danger and action helps this look make a statement that tells everyone else not to mess with you.

Smudged pale red eye liner

Plus, it’s super simple—perfect for those mornings where you’re just not feeling your best. Brush a little red shadow or liner all the way around your eyes. Then put down the brush, close your eyes, and gently rub them with your fists. This technique isn’t supposed to come out perfect—you’ll end up with a rough blending job that gives the look its edge. Unconventional? Yes. But then most of the best makeup hacks are!

Once you’ve done the eyes, we recommend staying light on the rest of your makeup, or skipping it altogether. Pair with ripped jeans and a leather jacket for best results. Sleepless night? Infection? Fist fight? Whatever the final look, people will know to—that’s right—keep their distance.

The Dragon from Shrek

Who among us wasn’t inspired by Shrek? Okay, maybe it’s not our go-to movie for style icons, but we can all agree that we’re tired of seeing the same old Disney princess makeup looks. It’s time for something fresh. And really, no one rocks red like Donkey’s fiery lady love.

For something classy rather than cartoony, switch out scales for chunky red glitter. Apply your glitter of choice over one of your highly pigmented red shadows to get a double punch of color—or step up your game by swapping out glitter for red sequins and applying them with eyelash glue. Layer on the mascara and create a sharp red lip to complete the dragon’s fiercely feminine look.

Red eye glitter

Subtle enough for everyday makeup but with more than enough drama to take out on the town, this look is a definite showstopper. Our advice? Test it out on your next date. Just bat your eyelashes a few times, and you’re sure to capture the heart of your very own Donkey.

Still scratching your head? Check your calendar—happy April Fool’s Day!

Author Alicia Haniford

More posts by Alicia Haniford

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