The symbolism behind the makeup choices of Euphoria


Eddy Chen-HBO / The Hollywood Archive via Alamy

Laken Kincaid writes on the iconic makeup in “Euphoria.”

Laken Kincaid, Campus Editor

The hit HBO television show “Euphoria” took the media by storm with its risque themes with young characters and recognizable costuming. Variety says the show “reigned” over its “Trending TV Chart” holding the number one spot for three weeks in a row, crushing other projects like Disney’s “Moon Knight” and D.C. ‘s “Peacemaker.” Deadline says that the show is the “most tweeted show of the decade” at 30 million responses online. Popular tweets include regular discussion of the show and its characters such as moments where Maddy Perez says the now iconic quote “I am literally going to get violent.”

“If my high school was like Euphoria High, I would never have a dull moment,” CJ Fovozzo ‘23 told The Carroll News.

“Euphoria” has undoubtedly taken social media by storm, so much so that it has inspired trends recreating the recognizable looks of the show’s archetypal personas. Content creators and fans alike have taken their hand to recreating the famous (and infamous) makeup looks of “Euphoria” characters. From graphic liner to rhinestones, millions have attempted to mimic the looks of multiple personalities from the production.

A recreated look from “Euphoria.” (Adobe Stock)

Yet, what many do not know is that Doniella Davy, the artist behind the makeup artistry featured throughout the show, specifically caters each look to each character depending on their personality, mood and motives. 

“I was challenged with figuring out how to continue the Euphoria makeup conversation,” Davy told Allure Magazine. “But instead of repeating myself or going equally as colorful and vivid as sparkly as season one, it was sort of like, ‘How do I showcase what I believe are interesting, bold looks that are perfect for what the characters are going through but that aren’t going to compete with this same visibility as season one?'”

In an interview with Grazia and through Instagram posts, the award winning artist disclosed the reasoning behind many of her choices with eye makeup and lipstick.

However, Davy says she was mostly inspired by the art from fans to create the looks she does. In an interview with Glamour Magazine, she stated what makes her the most  happy “is when people take their own unique take on a makeup look from the show. There’s such an insane amount of talent on TikTok and Instagram, it blows my mind.”

Davy went on to say how she stylizes the makeup of each character in the show. For example, Cassie Howard is given very light makeup that progressively gets more angled and sharper as the season goes on. This symbolizes her shift from innocent “girl-next-door” to a teenager who will do anything for the love of a man. 

Jules from “Euphoria.” (HBO)

The same could be said for Jules Vaughn whose makeup also gets darker as the series progresses. In the first season, Jules sports bright eye shadow and light lashes displaying how she sees the world: full of light and opportunity. Yet, in season two, we see a change in her character. Davy even says her eye makeup, while first inspired by a beautiful mermaid during her initial appearances, changes to represent that of a shark embryo. This possibly hints at a darker turn Jules may take in the future. 

Lexi Howard’s makeup also becomes more striking. As she comes into her own in season two, specifically with the help from her budding love interest Fezco, she wears brighter lipstick and shadows that draw attention to her eyes. She grows into her own as she writes her play, discovers herself and allows herself to be viewed as more than just the mom or comedic relief of the group.

Maddy Perez maintains very cut throat looks throughout her entire time on screen. Davy says that “a Maddy wing is always THE sharpest wing. Sharp like a knife to cut through whatever stands in her way: ex boyfriends, bathroom doors, etc.” This represents her fiery personality and tendency towards explosive behavior that, more often than not, leaves others hurt. Maddy’s makeup changes the least across both seasons showing just how little she has changed personally. 

The character who sees the most change in their makeup between episodes is Kat Hernandez. Davy states that she specifically wanted Kat’s mood to be pictured through her cosmetic choices. Sometimes, as she struggles with self confidence, she tries to blend in with neutral tones. Yet, as she finds her power, she tries more striking and interesting looks that catches the eyes of others. However, there is “an ebb and flow” with her look throughout both seasons which all correlates to how she feels.

Kat from “Euphoria.” (Alamy Stock Photo)

But, no look quite represents one’s emotional state like that of Rue Bennett. During high intensity scenes in the first season, Rue wears glitter that mimics tears. Because of Rue’s traumatic past, we know she struggles with depression and often wears it on her sleeve as a cry for help. Through season two, Rue becomes more bare faced as she continues her struggle with addiction. She experiences episodes of both mania and depression which are reflected in her stylistic choices. 

Davy does her best to reflect the characters as much as possible with her artistry. This has gotten her international attention as a cosmetologist which helped her recently curate her own makeup brand. Late Feb., V Magazine published an article announcing Davy’s new company called Half Magic Beauty. 

The new line is said to showcase the same bright colors and vivid design tools employed within “Euphoria.” Yet, no details have been officially released and the brand still says their products are “coming soon.” However, it will most likely draw in a multitude of fans who hope to recreate the same looks that their favorite characters wore.