First, let’s establish what this aesthetic entails. The idea of “dopamine makeup” is quite simple—it’s a makeup look that sparks a feel-good emotion in your brain. It’s like when you look at a room where the color palette pleases your eyes, or you see a bright-colored piece of art that you can’t look away from.
In order to truly understand what dopamine makeup is, it’s helpful to analyze what it is not. “All I can think of right now for the opposite of dopamine makeup is Wednesday Addams’ look in Wednesday,” Donni Davy, head makeup artist of Euphoria and co-founder of Half Magic tells mbg. (For the record, both looks are equally stunning; it’s all up to personal preference.)
If you haven’t seen the recent comedy-horror series quite yet, we’ll explain the look for a bit more context: Wednesday Addams’ eyes and cheeks look gaunt and hollow. Her lips have a deep purple tint, and when you look at her, you’ll naturally feel a bit sad or scared—which is the whole point.
Depending on your makeup preferences, the “clean girl aesthetic” could be seen as the opposite of dopamine makeup, too. This ultra-minimalistic look appears to be effortless, but it actually takes a whole lot of effort. In turn, you might feel, well, nothing since the makeup is designed to look invisible.
Dopamine makeup, on the flip side, is meant to make a statement and trigger joy—hence, the name. But using bright colors, shimmers, and glitters can all be a bit too maximalist for some. This is understandable, but there’s certainly a way to nail the look on a more casual front. Here are a few ideas to get you started.