Euphoria Makeup Is Not Cool — That’s Half Its Magic

Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy doesn't wear a lot of makeup. It's ironic because she's a master of face paint, creating artful looks, like 'pearl-studded eyeliner' and 'glitter tears' that have won awards and created an identifiable 'Euphoria makeup' look.
But in her daily life, when jumping on a Zoom to tell me about her forthcoming beauty line, Half Magic, Davy presents as a creative from Southern California: her long, blonde hair spilling down to her waist, parted in the centre, with glowing skin, and cobalt-blue nail polish on her fingernails.
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Davy is cool, in large part, due to her creative vision and attention to detail, two points central to Half Magic, a product collection spawned in collaboration with the production team behind Euphoria. The makeup doesn't launch until later this spring. She'll let the current fanfare around this second season simmer. But if you're watching the remainder of season two — maybe this week's episode — with a sharp eye, you'll be able to see the Half Magic makeup on the characters who helped inspire it. "If people have seen season two, they'll recognise a few colours when the line comes out in May," Davy tells me. "The products have been in every episode so far, just sprinkled here and there." (Watch the eyes and lips.)
Photo: Courtesy of Donni Davy.
Photo: Courtesy of Donni Davy.
Ahead, Davy speaks about Euphoria, the meaning behind the characters' makeup and explains the psychology of why "it hit like it did." Plus, we get an idea of what we can expect from Half Magic — from a "fancy" and "refined" glitter for adults, to a specific shade of green eyeshadow designed to "surprise and delight" the minimalists.

On why Euphoria makeup is cool — not "cool-girl"

"This is not a 'cool-girl' brand. It's really meant to be totally un-intimidating and inspiring. We wanted to make sure that we're offering shades that a minimal makeup wearer would appreciate. If someone would never wear a bright-blue eyeshadow, we have other shades that they would wear. It's for everyone. It's not just crazy colours. We wanted it to transcend the 'Euphoria makeup' stereotype. Yes, we are that. But here's what else we have to offer to people who've never seen the show. You don't have to know the show to love the line."
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On taking baby steps towards colour

"Here's what I'm hoping to achieve: You know when someone will say, 'I can't wear green eyeshadow, I'd look like a monster'? Well, we're putting specific shades and textures forward show you that you can. Try it on and you'll see that actually, you can wear green eyeshadow. The shades are specifically chosen to surprise and delight. Everything is fun. It's meant as an invitation for people who maybe aren't so sure about colours to try them out."

On the universality of glitter

"After season one, I thought about glitter. I wanted to be able to layer glitter on top of an eyeshadow. A lot of times, if you put glitter on top of an eyeshadow it comes out as muddy or it doesn't stick. I wanted products that were buildable and layer-able that would give you colour that could be topped with sparkle.
I wanted to create a glitter that's refined and attractive to everyone — not just young kids who want to wear glitter eyes. Instead, I wanted a beautiful product that would be exciting to someone who's in their 30s or 40s who wants to have a sparkly eye. It's not just for huge, chunky glitter looks. I really wanted to create these formulas that were attractive to Gen Z, to the kid who's just starting to wear makeup for the first time, but also attractive to the people who love fancy products."

On the brand's intentional eye

"This first launch is pretty meaty and it will become a very-full makeup line. I've known what I'm looking for in eye products for a long time. But I was discussing with team and we started to talk about skin and complexion, and that's something I want to think about for a long time. If I'm going to put out foundation and concealer, they have to be so unique and specific. That's something I want to spend a long time thinking about how to be innovative. That can't be done with haste; there's so much of that already. I want to think with intention. 
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We have more than just eyes for the first launch, too. We have some tools that are designed to make it easier to achieve certain looks, like wings. Eye products are really what I've been dreaming about for a long time. Also, it speaks to Euphoria."

On the meaning of Half Magic

"The feeling I wanted to evoke with the name was a combination of fantastical, magical looks, but also marrying that with normal, everyday life. I think the Euphoria makeup trend hit like it did because these are the kinds of looks that people wear in fantastical situations — like on the runway, or a performer onstage — but we're showing them on people in typical situations, like at home, or at school, or at the store. That's what I love about it. It's a look that's heightened from reality, it's magical, but at the same time, you're just sitting in your bedroom at home.
The other parallel meaning is that the makeup itself is half the magic, and the other half is you."
Photo: Courtesy of Donni Davy.
Photo: Courtesy of Donni Davy.

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