"Upside Down" Eye Makeup Is Sweeping Hollywood — & It's So Damn Cool

This story was originally published January 25, 2017.

After a year in which nude palettes, monochromatic makeup, and the #nomakeup movement reigned supreme, celebrities (and their makeup artists) are doing an about face by making a major case for makeup looks that infuse a strong shot of color.

One of the most striking examples? What we're calling upside down eye makeup, drawn on in bold shades — and it’s taking over the red carpet. Think: Product worn just under the eye. Makeup artist Pati Dubroff recently edged up Margot Robbie’s vibe with a smudge of metallic blue beneath the eyes. Meanwhile, Janelle Monáe has found the look to be so rad, it bears repeating: in the past few weeks alone the Hidden Figures star has worn upside down blue liner on her recent Late Night with Jimmy Fallon appearance and a Marie Claire event in L.A., and by wearing pops of silver on her lower lids at the Golden Globes.

It’s a look that's simple to achieve: Just swipe vibrant eyeliner on your lower lid and go. But using the right liner and shadow formulations are paramount (smudging and fallout can make for a particularly clownish effect) — as is choosing a lower lid shade that works well with your eye color. “The key to pulling off the trend is to make sure the pop of color you choose is in harmony with the rest of your makeup — particularly blush and lip color,” says Tasha Reiko-Brown, a celebrity makeup artist who works with Yara Shahidi and Jill Scott.

Ahead, find our favorite upside down makeup looks to try, plus tips and tricks from the makeup pro to pull them off.

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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
Trick: Blur it out.

Notice the blurred effect in Janelle Monáe’s under eyeliner? It’s the result of meticulous blending — and key for this look. “A hard line can be too harsh,” Reiko-Brown says. “Like shadows, liners require blending. The end result should be a soft, diffused and cohesive blend of the two, or three colors.”
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Photo: Michael Stewart/WireImage.
Trick: Lengthen with a neutral shimmer.

If corner-to-corner brights is a bit too bold for you, try this take on the trend, which helps eyes look lengthened: “Create a classic smokey eye look with an elongated shape in a basic matte or satin shade, then add a brighter color or shimmery shade to just the inner corner of the eye,” the pro says.



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Photo: Via @porschefabulous.
Trick: Ease into the trend by keeping color on the waterline.

Adding a swipe of color to just the lower lash line not only makes for an edgier look, it can also help eyes look wider — and it's totally foolproof. “Lining the inner waterline and diffusing it down to under the lower lash line helps to open up small eyes,” Reiko-Brown notes.
For added impact, go with a bold-colored shadow or liner in a shimmer or foil finish. “Shimmer or sheen catches the light and also makes eyes look more open,” she says.
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Photo: George Pimentel/WireImage.
Trick: Find your version of bright.

Though celebs largely reach for blue when trying the look, a variety of other shades can be used to help punch up eyes. Try choosing a shade opposite your eye color on the color wheel. For example, blue eyes become icier when paired with aubergine liner, brown pops against cobalt, pink plays up green eyes, and gold accents the bronze tones in hazel eyes. Or, just heed Mandy Moore's lead and opt for a soft, subtle blue.
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
Trick: Let the top lid chill.

Another trick to setting off a bold, underlined look? Keep your top lid understated. “When I use a strong shot of color on the bottom lids, I like to keep the top line smudgy with neutrals to not overwhelm the look,” Reiko-Brown says. “I stay in classic shapes and either use browns or blacks on top to give the look some balance. In the end, the neutral tones sort of fall away and the hit of color comes through.”
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Photo: Via @patrickta.
Trick: Make it matte.

For some, the fear of smeared liner is their biggest reason to forgo trying the trend. If that's you, simply opt for matte shadow, which will stay in place far better than a creamy liner. Just be ready for rouge shadow particles, so do your face makeup last.
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
Trick: Layer tone over tone.

To maximize staying power, employ both an eyeliner and an eyeshadow, like Olivia Munn. Line the lower lid with a wax-based liner, like Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil. Then use a dense brush to dust a similar shade of eyeshadow on top to blur the line and set the liner, Reiko-Brown advises. If you don’t have matching eyeliner and eyeshadow shades in your coffers, reach for a gel eyeliner, like Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-One Eyeliner (which comes in a wide range of bold colors) instead. “They don’t tend to pull on the eyelids are are easiest to work with,” she says.
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