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How ‘Euphoria’ Sparked the Beauty Movement Gen Z Has Been Waiting For

“I love it,” she exclaimed. Having never heard my fifteen-year-old sister speak so definitively, I was taken aback. “My friends and I just did our makeup like that recently. Everyone loves it. Every character is different, too. I like the vibe of it.” 

“It’s a very hypnotizing show,” Camille argued, a 20-year-old TikTok user all too familiar with the latest trends. “Everything from clothes to makeup is a part of the story. It definitely made me look into trying more colourful makeup or at least appreciate it more.”

Well, as it turns out, these two aren’t the only ones who feel delightfully enchanted by the most talked-about show at the moment. 

If you’re active on social media, or simply have access to the internet, chances are you know season two of Euphoria is out. While it may have just been the most-watched digital premiere on HBO, even those who haven’t seen the show are talking about it. The unbelievable success doesn’t just come from the talent of the actors or the exceptional writing but the unprecedented beauty movement catapulted by the show.

With 932 million views under the hashtag “euphoriamakeup,” it’s safe to say viewers have moved beyond loving the show to emulating the mystic makeup looks of their favourite characters. While some of us remember the craze of the “Rachel haircut” with the initial release of Friends, the eminent presence of social media and influencer culture has helped Euphoria makeup transcend far beyond a fast fad. While many shows have contributed to short-lived trends, the adored adoption of Euphoria’s experimental looks seems to be here to stay.

Willing to embrace potential judgment in favour of authenticity and representation, head makeup artist on Euphoria, Doniella Davy, looked to the fast-paced streamable nature of society and sought inspiration from the trendsetters themselves: Gen Z. In an interview with Glamour this past October, Davy expressed how she created each look with the intention of replication but never expected it to get this big. (Leave that to Gen Z!)

By seeking inspiration from a diverse group of digital natives, Davy recognized the opportunity to shift the industry standard of character identification from their clothes to their makeup. Working with Sam Levinson, the visionary creator of the show, they were able to do something unconventional by making the characters make up a pivotal part in their story and self-expression. 

“It was the opposite approach for what typical makeup departments use for television,” Davy told Allure magazine this past July. “Most directors want the actors’ makeup to be felt not seen. Sam wanted the makeup to be its own full expression of what was going on with the characters. If they’re experiencing different emotions and circumstances in all these scenes, then the makeup had to be different,” she said.

While in most shows a character sporting rhinestones or luminescent eyeliner would stand out, Euphoria has made it the norm. As viewers and social media users try to emulate that undeniable relationship between makeup and expression in their daily lives, they are connecting with their favourite characters. As Gen Z continues to fill everyone’s feeds with recreations of Jules’ (Hunter Shaefer) geometric liner or Rue’s (Zendaya) iridescent teardrops, they are embracing the redefinition of beauty standards Euphoria has created, recognizing that the most fun looks don’t have to be left to the professionals.

Whether Davy is using makeup to reframe our ideas of femininity or pushing the boundaries of what we had all accepted as everyday, “appropriate” makeup, Davy, Levinson and, now Natalie Minerva (the nail artist), have ushered in a new wave of bravery and self-expression this season at a pivotal point in young people’s lives. The stunning intersection of the beauty and entertainment industry, brought from our Instagram feeds to our TV screens, guarantees #euphoriamakeup is here to stay.

Ciara Heath

Toronto MU '23

Born in London, Ciara is a third-year Creative Industries student with a passion for social media! She is thrilled to be returning as Social Media Director for the second year in a row. She dreams of moving to New York or living back in the U.K. someday and wants to use social media as a tool for social advocacy and change.
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