Fun fact: Adding a quick—yet bold—pop of color to your makeup can totally boost your mood.
"Dopamine beauty," an off-shoot of the "dopamine dressing" trend that emerged in the wake of 2020's lockdown, purports that adding something fun into your look (like bright hues or a little glitter), can boost your levels of dopamine, AKA the "feel good" chemical in your brain.
"The concept really has been buzzing in the fashion world, so I love the idea of applying it to beauty," says Neil Scibelli, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. "We can apply these products quickly to our skin to get that instant boost that will give us that hit of dopamine, which essentially are the chemicals that raise our happiness levels. Dopamine beauty plays into the psychology of color and how wearing certain colors can evoke positive emotions."
To dabble in dopamine beauty, you don't need to have Euphoria-level makeup skills. Scibelli says quick and simple tricks like orange lipstick, baby blue eyeliner, or bubble gum pink blush can give you that boost. The key is using colors you love.
“Traditionally, color trends had steady seasonal cadence dictated by the influence of designers—for example, jewel tones around the holidays and pastels in the spring," says color designer and researcher Kel Jackson. "But for the last 10-plus years, we've seen consumers casting off these cyclical color trends in favor of expressive color driven by individuality."
If you want to create quick and easy, yet impactful, dopamine beauty looks, follow Scibelli's tips and recommendations below.
Eye looks don't have to be complicated to be bold. Opt for colored liner, mascara, or liquid eyeshadow to get a pop in in under 30 seconds.
“Blue, turquoise, and green are the highest up on the dopamine color chart and are scientifically proven to give off the dopamine effect,” says Scibelli. “It’s really easy to wear turquoise makeup like a really fun, quick turquoise eyeliner. So many brands make them, but just automatically think of Urban Decay 24/7.” He loves the shade LSD, a navy shimmer with bright turquoise micro-sparkle, but it also comes in 32 additional shades in a range of finishes.
If you prefer a liquid formula, try the brand’s new muted neon shades, which come in six gorgeous pastel shades. “Stila was one of my first-ever favorite liquid liners ever,” says Scibelli. “Even when I first started doing makeup years ago, Stila was known for its traditional black liquid liner.” So these bright new shades are sure to please.
“Colorful mascara is like a statement feature in itself,” says Scibelli. “Even wanna keep the lid nude or neutral or even nothing and you’re running out of the house, colorful mascara for summer is a really fun and easy way to get that pop.” This blue mascara from TooD is perfect. It’s got a skinny wand which makes it easier to coat each individual lash in blue.
“Metallic in general has been trending again, so if you’re thinking about doing colors on the eyes, you can wear metallic variations,” says Scibelli. He loves a rose gold liquid eyeshadow, like this one from Kosas. “Those are great for someone who likes a no-brush, all-over lid. Those are easy to use when someone’s like, ‘Ugh, I’m the worst with liner. I just need to throw something on and go.'”
If you want eye shadow with a little more precision, opt for a shadow stick like these ones from Thrive Causmetics. They’re a pencil that comes in 11 shades, some shimmery some matte. Use it for an all-over lid look or as eyeliner.
Our senior beauty editor, Zoë Weiner, swears by Kufi’s new cream eyeshadow pots for her own mood-boosting beauty looks. “I never, ever thought I’d wear electric green or blue on my eyes—I’m more of a bronzey-gold girl—but these formulas have completely change my mind,” she says. “You can apply them with your fingers for a subtle-yet-impactful swath of color, which is what I tend to do, but if you want something more intense, they’re super buildable.” She likes to apply the green to the inner corners of her eyes (along with the bronze and rose gold on her lids) to really make them pop.
If going full glitter glam feels like a bit much, consider using this liquid liner (from Euphoria’s own Donni Davy!) to add just a hint of sparkle to your look. It’s equipped with an itty-bitty brush that allows for precise application across your lid, and stays in place no matter where your day (or night) may take you.
Cheeks are hands down the easiest way to try dopamine beauty. Get a bit heavy-handed with your go-to colors or try a flush of a punchier shade.
“A bubblegum pink pop of blush on the cheek can give that really fun hit of dopamine,” says Scibelli. “And pink in itself is also responsible for creativity and calm.” He loves these sticks from Milk. It comes in Rally, this pretty shimmery mauve, plus10 other shades.
Your options are endless when it comes to dopamine lip looks. You can go for a standard lipstick to get an opaque finish or play with sheer formulas that still provide amazing color pay-off without being as intense.
If you want a fun lippie with a more opaque color, grab one of these cream lipsticks from Live Tinted. It comes in 10 pretty shades and is infused with lip-living ingredients like hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil to provide a never-drying, lightweight finish.
"One really fun way to try dopamine beauty is with colorful nails," says Scibelli. "You're getting that hint of happiness as you're looking at your hands typing throughout the work day or as you're sending that text."
“Colorful nails, like rainbow nails, are trending, so each nail is a different color,” says Scibelli. You can achieve this look with this kit that includes six new shades from Orly. They’re also part of the brand’s breathable line, meaning they provide long-lasting color in one step, with no base coat or top coat needed.
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