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Halo Eye Makeup Technique: How To Perfect It

December 23, 2020 By

Consider halo eye makeup the smokey eye’s edgier and trendier younger sister. But unlike other buzz-worthy looks, it seems like this Instagram-famous makeup technique is here to stay. As it should, since the halo eye makeup look is known for creating a striking illusion of brighter, more defined eyes. Think of a literal halo effect ringing your eyes — what’s not to love about it?

Read on to learn more about this flattering beauty look, as well as how you can pull it off perfectly.

Halo Eye Makeup: Everything You Need To Know About The Trend

There’s no shortage of amazing inspiration for halo eye makeup looks when you scour YouTube and Instagram, but what exactly does this makeup technique entail? Put simply, by applying a smokier or darker shadow in the inner and outer thirds of your eyes, then adding a pop of highlighter in the center, you’re creating an intense, eye-defining effect.1

Some makeup mavens have taken it a step further and amped up the halo effect by using a warmer, non-traditional eyeshadow color scheme (think dusty mauves instead of the usual neutral color), rimming even the lower lash line, then topping with an intense wash of highlighter on the inner corner to open up and brighten the entire eye area.2 

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be, and the result is worth it — the pearlescent glow sandwiched between the darker shade on either side gives off the impression of pretty, ethereal, round eyes.3

If you want to amp up your eye makeup game, give this halo eye makeup technique a try. Read on for a simple tutorial.

How To Do Halo Eye Makeup: Choose Your Brushes And Palette Wisely

While the specific color is entirely up to you — the general idea remains: You’ll need a darker or more pigmented shade, a light color (or even a shimmer highlighter) to create the halo effect, and a medium shade (usually a sheer neutral shade) to serve as a natural transition shade and make blending easier. You can choose any finish you prefer — matte or shimmer. You can create more high-fashion looks with more daring colors and shimmer finishes, or keep things simple with a neutral matte… But the technique to give you brighter, rounder eyes remains the same.


As for brushes, you’ll need a small fluffy brush for precise eyeshadow placement and application, and a clean fluffy blending brush to help move things along. Lastly, don’t forget primer and mascara — the beginning and end of this entire look.4

Now that you have your gear good to go, here’s how you can achieve this classic look in just a few simple steps (as long as you blend, blend, blend patiently).

Halo Eye Makeup Step 1: Start With Primer

Of course, you’ll want tostart with a cleansed and moisturized face. Then, apply your eyeshadow primer of choice over the entire lid all the way up to your brow bone to make sure your handiwork stays in place all day. Don’t forget to complete your canvas by concealing any dark circles and puffiness — this helps make sure your eye makeup really pops.5

Halo Eye Makeup Step 2: Apply Your Base Shadow To Create The Crease

Take your chosen medium tone shadow and apply a solid wash of color over your entire upper and lower lid. Use your fluffy brush to blend some more color into your crease, adding some depth to your upper lids.6

Halo Eye Makeup Step 3: Apply Your Corner Colors

Pack a concentrated dose of color into both inner and outer corners of your eyes. Take your clean eyeshadow brush and lightly apply a small amount of shadow on the outer corner, blending out slightly for a more diffused effect. Do the same to the inner corner, blending out a little, but making sure you leave the center of the lid (right above your iris) bare. Your goal is to create the darker sections that’ll frame the “halo” you’ll be making with your lighter, contrasting color later on.

Then load up a small tapered brush with some of the same color, and lightly rim the lower lash line to further intensify the look.7

Halo Eye Makeup Step 4: Create The Halo Effect With Light Shadow Or Highlighter

To finish off the look, it’s time to create the focal point: That light-attracting center of the lid that gives your entire look its name (and eye-catching effect). Using a clean brush (or even your clean fingertip), lightly dab on your chosen light shadow shade (or shimmer highlighter) right on the center of the lid, between the darker sections of shadow you blended on previously. 

Blend out gently for a cleaner, more cohesive look, but make sure you keep the light or shimmer shade intensely packed in the center to truly do the halo effect justice. You can also opt for a small touch of highlighter in the inner corners for a little more eye-opening effect, but that’s entirely optional. Curl lashes, top off with a couple coats of mascara, and you’re ready to show off your striking eye makeup.8

Tips: Master The Halo Eye Makeup Trend

Now that you’ve gotten the technique down, here are some other tips to help you create effortless halo eye makeup every time.

Play With The Contrast

You get the gist: Dark on either side, light in the middle. Following this general formula takes the guesswork out of selecting your shades, because you just have to make sure you choose two shades that create a good contrast. 

So, how about playing with finishes and colors? Try dark and smoky shadows paired with glitter or sparkle patted on the center of the lid to fully maximize the light-catching effect. Or, play with the shades within one color — how about navy on either side, with a sparkly ice blue stamped in the middle? Imagine just how good mauve or burgundy will pair with lighter blush pinks or even rose gold.9

Complement Your Eye Color

Draw even more attention to your eyes by matching your focal point color to your eye shade. Since the color is right above your iris, you’ll be able to really emphasize larger, more defined eyes this way. Green or blue eyes will benefit from matching olive and azure shades, and darker eye colors will always look great with golden or bronze-toned shimmer shadows.10

Bigger, More Beguiling Eyes Are Just A Blending Brush Away

For the halo eye effect to truly take, make sure you focus on blending the darker corners into the light-filled center just right. Take the time to practice, play around with colors and finishes until you find your go-to combinations, and then rock your sparkle-filled eyes with confidence.

Learn More:
-Cat Eye Makeup: How To Perfect Winged Eyeliner For Every Eye Shape
-Great Makeup Tips And Techniques For Hooded Eye Shape
-Beginner’s Guide To Smokey Eye Makeup

1 https://www.allure.com/story/halo-eye-makeup-instagram-trend 
2 https://www.allure.com/story/halo-eye-makeup-instagram-trend 
3 https://stylecaster.com/beauty/how-to-get-halo-eye-makeup/
4 https://stylecaster.com/beauty/how-to-get-halo-eye-makeup/
5 https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/halo-eye-makeup/
6 https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/halo-eye-makeup/
7 https://www.allure.com/story/halo-eye-makeup-highlighter-trend
8 https://www.allure.com/story/halo-eye-makeup-highlighter-trend
9 https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/gallery/halo-eyeshadow-trend
10 https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/gallery/halo-eyeshadow-trend

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