TUTORIAL | Neon Spring Sunset

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Beauty / Photography

So when Cate asked me to take some pictures of her wearing a pair of very 1980s-themed leggings, I couldn’t help but ask her for something in return.

I’ve never done a more “out there” makeup look on myself or any of my friends, or anywhere outside of makeup school, to be honest. And I have never used neon or bright colours for eyeshadow on myself or anyone else, ever. So this was the perfect excuse.

What do you think? I think it suits her eyes and hair very well, and I managed to keep it vibrant and a bit crazy without making it too unwearable.


I knew I wanted to use the brightest shades of yellow and fuchsia that I could find; sadly these were not colours I owned, and I didn’t have much of a budget, but luckily MakeUp Revolution is a thing that exists and their Dia de Los Muertos eyeshadow palette at just £6 was an absolute lifesaver (keep reading for how I used it). For eyeshadow primer I used the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Creamy Beige (£4.99 ) since it is a yellow-toned flesh colour, very similar to MAC’s Paint Pot in “Soft Ochre” (dupe alert!). Mascara was my trusty Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara (£23) and brows are Anastasia Brow Wiz (£15.50) in “Dark Brown” and L’Oreal Brow Artist Plumper in Medium/Dark (£5.99).


For foundation, since Cate has quite dry skin I used the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (£10.99) in “51 Vanille Clair” which is dewy and glowy. It’s perfect for her because it doesn’t cling to acne scars or dry patches, but terrible and slippery on my combination skin. A tiny bit of Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in shade 20 just on her spots and a couple of dots of Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in “1 Fair” under the eyes. We went for a strong contour, as you need to really pack it on for photographs, so we used the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Sculpt Contour Palette (£9.99) in Light/Medium and then set it with the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette ($46). The highlighter is the bright silver/lavender shade from the Sleek “Solstice” Highlighting Palette (€13), blush is Makeup Geek “Romance” ($10 pan).

Lipstick we kept it fuss free. No liner, no gloss. Just Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in “Velvet Underground” (£23) applied straight from the bullet then picked up with a small brush to give a more defined shape to the lips.



  1. With a dense, synthetic concealer brush I applied the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Creamy Beige as a primer
  2. Went all over the lid with a wash of the 2nd shade / bottom row of the palette to make the yellow pop out more since it’s quite sheer
  3. Sprayed a flat, dense eyeshadow brush with some makeup setting spray (I used the Pixi MakeUp Fixing Mist because I’m out of MAC Fix+) and patted the neon yellow shade all over the mobile lid
  4. With a fluffy but small crease brush (my favourite is the Zoeva Luxe Petit Crease) I blended the third colour on the bottom row into the crease to add some barely-there depth
  5. With the same small crease brush, go over that last shade softly with the hot pink (top row, third colour). Blend it out really well so that it mixes with the darker neutral you just applied so it becomes a soft pink transition.
  6. Wet an eyeliner brush (again I used the Pixi Fixing Mist with the Zoeva Precise Shader Brush) and pick up a lot of the hot pink shadow.
  7. Draw a cat-eye flick eyeliner directly onto the lashline, as you would with liquid liner, using the hot pink eyeshadow. If you lose pigmentation or the line isn’t going on very well, spray the brush again and keep picking up more shadow until you-re satisfied with the brightness. 
  8. Once the brush is dry, pick up just a little bit of that same pink shadow again with the small, precise brush and work it into the very crease of the eye socket so it connects and blends nicely upwards into your transition shade. Don’t blend it into the yellow – we want to create that crisp ‘curve’ between the hot pink and the yellow so it gives the eye some shape.
  9. Wet the same precise brush again and pick up the last shade on the bottom row mixed with the hot pink. You will get a bright, vibrant purple! Draw it on as close to the bottom lashline as possible, then blend it out slightly with the Petit Crease Brush used in steps 4/5.
  10. Apply some mascara (I used the Bobbi Brown Eye Opening mascara) and the eyes are done! And remember, if the colours are not as pigmented as you’d like (it is a £6 palette) just spray some fixing spray on your brush and pat the eyeshadow into place instead of rubbing. You’ll get better pigmentation and brighter colours.

These shadows have quite a bit of fallout, so I definitely advise doing the eyes before the face! This way you can wipe the powder off easily with a tissue or a makeup wipe without disturbing anything previously done.

The key to this look is keeping the eyeshadow vibrant and the face neutral and using a bright, glossy lip that matches one of the colours you used. We used yellow, fuchsia and violet so the best option for wearability was Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipstick in Velvet Underground. A bold purple would have worked too, but we wanted it to stay quite spring-themed and bright.

The key to a neutral face that pops in photos?

A strong, ashy contour and bright, metallic highlight that reflects light instead of looking glittery. A small trick I picked up was applying powder highlight AFTER spraying the face with your makeup fixing mist, but before the spray sets on your face. This way you achieve a similar effect to when you wet your eyeshadow brush before packing on colour. The highlighter will go on super metallic and wet-looking. We used the lavender/silver colour of the Sleek Solstice palette.


What do you think of this look? Would you wear it in a toned-down version? Do you think you’d like to try and recreate it? Would you like a video tutorial on it? Leave me comments below! 

Cate actually took her makeup off before going home but kept the mascara and the pink liner… I think it really suits her blue eyes!

Let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like a video on this!

The Author

24-year-old Portuguese girl. Bilingual English, fluent in Italian. BA in Fashion Communication. MUA with a proper diploma! MA Creative Media student. Globetrotter and shopaholic, can't seem to be able throw away menswear magazines. Has a serious mental problem when it comes to buying photography books and is working towards being a part of the fashion industry.

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