Euphoria‘s lead makeup designer Donni Davy is an artist, first and foremost. It wasn’t until the show became synonymous with a specific beauty aesthetic — one that she and the HBO production team dreamed up — that Davy considered branching into the business side of makeup. She imagined designing makeup she wanted but couldn’t find on set, like an “airy glitter that actually latches to the eyelid,” and 3D face stickers that look like teeny-tiny spikes you can pop on the end of a winged eyeliner.
After months of design and formulation, Davy finalised her beauty brand, Half Magic, which ships to the UK. Last week, she packed the complete collection — mini Glitter Pills, a shockingly-flattering purple blush, rhinestones (of course) — into a replica of the Euphoria hair and makeup trailer, complete with Y2K polaroids stuck to the vanity mirror a craft-service table with M&Ms and Uncrustables. I climbed in, plopped into makeup chair, and Donni Davy used my face as her canvas — here’s everything I learned.
Soft glitter needs a matte complement
With Half Magic, Davy designed a two-step system for getting her “bold and glittery eye looks.” She starts with a pigmented, matte eyeshadow and then tops it with a wet glitter. “These matte colours, are super bold, like one swipe colour, but they almost act as like a primer, something for the glitter to latch onto,” Davy explains of her new Chrome Addiction Matte shadow paint. Getting glitter to seamlessly adhere to a coloured eyeshadow was a problem that plagued Davy while working on Euphoria. “Sometimes you want the glitter to be a little airy, like you want to be able to see a colour through it and not just see solid, chunky glitter. Now, I can do a colourscape with a bunch of different matte colours and then add airy glitter over top.”
Combo at least two colors — preferably a green
For the matte base colour, Davy scares me a little bit. “I’m going to use this colour on you,” she says grabbing a chartreuse shade called ‘We Are Aliens’ that I would never, ever touch myself. “I think the green will be a non-obvious choice for you. First, I was thinking I would do red or pink with your colouring [Editors note: I’m wearing a pastel-pink linen button down], but this is going to be cooler.” Using the back of her hand like a painter’s palette, she glides a wash of chartreuse across my eyelid, winging it out with a small shadow brush. Then she uses the Glitter Pill, a wet glitter in a copper-penny colour, tracing directly over the green shadow outline.
Wing eyeshadow out, not up
“The wing isn’t formulaic,” Davy explains of her process of emphasising the eye with colourful glitter, which I learned, can actually make the eyes look bigger and not smaller. “I generally think it’s more fashion, modern to wing outward; whereas it’s a little more retro to wing upward. One thing I don’t love is when a wing is slanted upward and it runs into the brow, that annoys me.” For me, the shape is an elongated soft-green shimmer wing that extends horizontally to the end of my eyebrow. The alien green is…dare I say, elegant.
As an artist, Davy freehands winged eyeshadow. But for me, she recommends the Wing Magician, a yellow silicone tool in the shape of a four-pointed star that helps angle the shape of a wing. “Something really important to me in the brand is to be accessible and friendly to newbie makeup artists and people who are maybe just trying makeup for the first time,” Davy explains. “Sometimes we have to apply makeup looks very quickly. To create wings, I have experimented with Scotch Tape, which sort of works, but it’s not the best thing to use. This is fun because you can pick it up and move it where you need to, and it doesn’t actually stick to your face, you just hold it in place.”
Periwinkle blush is actually magic
For complexion, Davy doesn’t reach for a neutral contour stick or bronzer. Instead, she grabs a violet blush palette — again, never have I ever. Davy tells me this shade is ‘special’ and assures me, “it’s bold without being insane.” I am shocked with how much I love it. The periwinkle flecks melt into my fair skin and makes me look more awake, flushed, and shiny in a glowy way.
The perfect brown lipstick is grounding
When I asked Davy about her favourite Half Magic product, she couldn’t pick just one. Though she predicts this soft-brown shade of lipstick called Magic Brownie, will be the brand’s best seller. “It’s the perfect shade of brown that looks good on everyone,” she says, applying it to my lips. It feels more like a velvety balm than a liquid lipstick. “It’s a very pillow-y, fluffy, smooth and creamy matte,” Davy explains. “It’s not one of those long-wear mattes that’s drying.” When I rub my lips together and look in the mirror, I note how the tone almost grounds everything else on my face, the alien green and copper glitter on my eyes and periwinkle in my cheeks.
Melt everything together
You know when you put too much makeup on and you don’t want it just a little less done? Davy thought about that and created a hydrating, or tone-down, spray called Dew Lock. “This is a setting spray — it gives a sort of blurring, satin-y, dewy finish, without being greasy or looking greasy,” she explains. “If you use concealer and foundation and set it with powder and then realize that you don’t love how it looks, this will kind of melt it all together and makeup your makeup last. It makes your face just look like glowy skin.” While Davy didn’t use any concealer or foundation or setting powder, a spritz of the spray just made my skin look fresher.
And the key to Euphoria makeup: restraint
Really, Donni Davy doesn’t use a lot of makeup. There’s colour and glitter and decals, if you want ’em, But other than eyes, cheeks, and lips, everything else bare. No foundation, concealer, bronzer, eyeliner, brow gel, or even a swipe of mascara. So there’s a lot of restraint. For Davy, she says it’s a focused kind of precision, but really, even if you just add a little glitter to your eyelids and a brighter, periwinkle blush, you might unlock a different side of yourself — me, I felt like taking selfies — but it will still feel like you.
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