The Oscars: No. 1 Eye Makeup Trend

In anticipation for the 2017 Academy Awards, we catalogued some of the most iconic red carpet beauty looks of all time and discovered that truly new, cutting-edge make-up techniques are actually rather rare.

This is because beauty trends (like fashion crazes) are continually revived from their retro origins, then adapted and made relevant to new generations.

But one eyeshadow style, sported by a smattering of stars at The Oscars on Sunday night, is as fresh as they come. It is pictured above on actress Olivia Culpo, who flaunted sheer, matte, lavender lids at the event.

We speak with Sydney makeup artist Alex Rosas who says this particular eye makeup aesthetic is set to be one of this years’ most defining beauty trends:

“Use of matte colour on the top and bottom lids was popular in the 80’s, but back then, it was fashionable to blend multiple tones of the same colour. This is different because it’s sheer, bright-toned and only one shade of colour.

“This new look is a very soft, blown out “smokey” eye, but not a traditional smokey eye (which is achieved by using a mix of charcoal shades) – it is a much fresher aesthetic.

“Pigment from the matte statement colour shadow is intense close to the lash-line then “smoked-out” underneath the eye and above the crease.

[Image credit: Imaxtree] Jill Stuart Spring 2016 catwalk model is pretty in pink.

“As with most trends that trickle down into the consumer market, it started as a haute couture statement – sheer, bright pops of colour fashioned models’ eyelids in several Spring 2016 runway shows, including Jill Stuart and Erdem.

“Magazine editorial work often takes inspiration from the catwalk, but adapts the style so it’s slightly less avant-garde and more likely to inspire readers.

American model and socialite Gigi Hadid was totally on trend when she showed off watercolour sunset shaded lids at the Sports Illustrated party in February this year. [Image Credit: Sosoume]

“After consumers see new trends in magazines and also on the faces of ‘It girls’ like Gigi Hadid (whose makeup artist was likely to have been inspired by haute couture too) they adapt the style, diluting its boldness, into a much more wearable look.

“Australian beauty lovers are already starting to experiment with bright pops of colour on the eyes, but rendered with a light hand for a more subtle finish.”

Since sheer, matte, bright eyeshadow is possibly on the wish-list of your clients now, this is one aesthetic worth brushing up on.

“It’s a young, fresh, girly look with a wash of colour that gives it a sexy edge,” says Alex Rosas who shares his handiwork on model Sinead Docherty. “Using cream colour eyeliner on the water-line gives a soft “doe-eyed” finish.” [Photographed by Moana Barroso.]

Alex describes his technique to SPA+CLINIC, but first, the tools he recommends to emulate it:

1. One shade of bright coloured, matte powder eye shadow. Sinead Docherty’s lids are coloured with Kryolan Matte Eyeshadow in shade 2-45

2. Cream coloured eye pencil (shade 22)

3. Bullet brush – small with compacted hair in an oval shape.

4. Soft, fluffy eyeshadow blending brush

5. Small fan-shaped brush

6. Eyelash curler

7. Black mascara


    • Curl the eyelashes.
    • Line the lower waterline in cream coloured eyeliner to open up the eye.
    • Load a little of the colour onto the bullet brush then draw a line of colour underneath the eye, on the lash-line.
    • With the bullet brush draw another line of colour close to the to the top lash-line.
    • With the bullet brush use a little more colour and the bottom and top at the outer eye corner.
    • Take the blending brush and gently blend the colour downwards underneath the eye and upwards above the crease – make sure the colour is most intense near the eyelashes and gradually sheered out around the eye.
    • Use a fan brush to wiggle a little more of the matte colour close to the lash-line.
    • Apply two coats of voluminous black mascara.

Here are the Hollywood elite who incorporated the aesthetic into their red-carpet looks at the 2017 Academy Awards:

Image via VanityFair

Olivia Culpo and her lavender lids looked stunning on the red carpet. Her makeup artist, Sir John shared pictures on Instagram, with the caption: “This is how we do lavender smoked eyes.” The rest of her makeup was kept natural looking, allowing the colour to be the true focal point.

Colour match: Bodyography Expressions Eyeshadow in ‘Moonbeam’is a lovely soft lilac.

Image Credit: Steve Granitz / Wireimage

American actress Ruth Negga was nominated for Best Actress for her role in drama Loving, and we’re unofficially nominating her for best beauty look of the night. She was a vision in red from her carmine smile to her blood-orange, sheer eye shadow, applied by makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis.

Colour match: Inglot Freedom System Eyeshadow Matte in shade 366 is a soft crimson hue.

Image Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Dakota Johnson star of Fifty Shades Of Grey, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, paired bright sheer, orange eyeshadow with a dusty rose colour on her lips. Her makeup was tended to by makeup artist Kate Lee.

Colour match: Kryolan Matte Eye Shadow in ‘Jugendorf’ is a bright tangerine shade.

Image Credit: Steve Granitz / Wireimage

Actress Naomie Harris was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in drama Moonlight, which took the gong for Best Picture, despite a mix-up where the film La La Land was wrongfully announced as the winner. She kept the rest of her makeup light and natural but played up her eyes with a sheer wash of a sunset shade.

Colour match: Kryolan Matte Eye Shadow Shade in 335, a deep peachy hue.

Image via EOnline

Star of True Grit, Hailee Steinfeld, shows us how the trend is likely to look among Australian consumers, opting for a neutral reddish toned sable shade. She paired the translucent shadow with a stunning sheer frock by Ralph and Rosso.

Colour match: Inglot Freedom System Eyeshadow Matte in shade 335, a gorgeous reddish brown.


[Header image credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images via Stellar]