‘Euphoria’ Tells Its Character’s Stories Through Makeup

Euphoria fans know that the show’s characters wear some truly iconic makeup looks. A lot of thought and attention to detail goes into the outfits, hair, and makeup. However, from the outside, the makeup might not seem that deep. Sure the colored eyeshadows and intense eyeliner are great to look at, but how deep can makeup really go? Euphoria makeup designer Doniella Davy puts more thought into the character’s looks than you might think.

Rue and Jules lay in bed wearing glittery makeup in the Euphoria special episode part 2.
Zendaya as Rue and Hunter Schafer as Jules from the ‘Euphoria’ Special Episode Part 2 | Eddy Chen/HBO

‘Euphoria’ character’s personality is reflected in their makeup

Euphoria Season 1 featured a host of memorable makeup looks. In 2019, Euphoria‘s lead makeup artist, Doniella Davy, told Variety that writer/director Sam Levinson is “obsessed with makeup.” According to Davy, Levinson wanted makeup in Euphoria to be “used in an emotionally evocative, expressive way, to help show the journey of the teens on the show.”

Each Euphoria character has a distinctive makeup look. Davy told Variety that she created mood boards for each of the actors and scrolled through Instagram and Pinterest for early inspiration. Davy also asked for input from the actors themselves.

Jules’ looks in season 1 feature a lot of bright colors and whimsical designs and “are not supposed to be overthought,” says Davy. Maddy frequently sports intense winged eyeliner, though Davy found ways to make each cat eye unique. In contrast, Sydney Sweeney’s character Cassie often dons glitter or colorful eyeshadow.

Makeup changes along with each character’s journey

Although each Euphoria character may have a go-to aesthetic, many of the characters’ makeup looks changed to reflect their journey. Jules’ makeup at the winter formal in the season 1 finale is very different than the brightly colored pastels and fun patterns she often rocks. Davy wrote on Instagram that Levinson requested a “goth look with red eyes.”

Davy explained that at this point, “Jules is over this town and is in love with Anna & Rue but still carrying the burden of Nate’s threats and processing the hallucination of her interactions with him at the club.” She continued, “This look is so different from her previous looks, and absolutely aims her in a new direction for the future.”

In Euphoria Season 2, Cassie also goes through a dramatic shift when she gets involved with Nate Jacobs. In episode 3, she tries out a multitude of looks in an attempt to impress Nate. When that doesn’t work, she switches gears. “In Episode 7 Cassie’s whole look changes a lot!” Davy wrote on Instagram.

“The goal was to sort of shift her whole vibe to be Season 1 era Jules x Maddy x Cassie hybrid that would appeal to Nate or possibly to his subconscious. She has blonder and straighter hair, paler skin, more makeup and her clothes are more Maddy X Jules vibes.”

Does Rue wear makeup in ‘Euphoria’?

Rue sports makeup, glitter, and sequins in several scenes in Euphoria Season 1. For example, during the carnival scene, Davy told Variety that Levinson asked for “sparkly triangles under Rue’s eyes.” Davy also gave Zendaya a “basic smokey eye.”

The makeup artist initially questioned whether Rue, a drug addict should wear makeup at all. “But then I realized, in thinking that, I was doing the opposite of what I want to do for the show,” Davy told Variety. “I want to present makeup in nuanced, interesting ways, and I wanted to not have each character just be an archetype or a stereotype. Rue’s a tomboy and a drug addict, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t express herself through makeup.”

However, as Rue spirals in Euphoria Season 2, the glittery looks disappear. Davy told W Magazine, “We went with her total natural skin texture—I would just accentuate the bags under her eyes, or put this red eyeshadow around her eyelash line, or even trace over her veins on her temple and her brow bone using this watercolor-style special effects makeup and a really skinny brush.”

All episodes of Euphoria are currently streaming on HBO Max.

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