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Some beauty trends look oh-so-chic on our favourite beauty influencers, but when we take them into our own hands, we often end up with a complete disaster. Red eye makeup is an apt example of that.

On a professional, it looks vibrant and edgy with its beautiful cranberry hues – perfect for our upcoming Chinese New Year visits. If you’ve got butterfingers like us, however, the look can quickly veer into pink eye territory. No one wants that during a CNY that’s smack in the middle of a pandemic.

Don’t let this deter you, though. Red eye makeup is a trend that anyone can pull off. All you need are a few solid tips to guide you, so it looks more high-fashion and less like the girl in My Chemical Romance’s Helena music video.

Here’s how you can rock the trend effortlessly, with just enough time for you to practise before CNY rolls around.

Create the perfect base for your red eye makeup

Red Eye Makeup Cny Prep Eyes

For colour that stands out and lasts all night, prep your eyelids with a good eyeshadow primer. After you’ve done your skincare routine, apply your an eyeshadow primer from your lash line all the way up to your brow bone.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Eyeshadow Primers

Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion (left) is a cult-favourite, which goes on creamy and settles to a nude, matte finish. It creates a smooth, even base to help your eyeshadow last all day while making any pigment pop.

While MAC Cosmetics’ Pro Longwear Paint Pot (right) is technically an eyeshadow, it can also be used as an eyeshadow base. You can layer powder eyeshadows and liquid liners over the top of this creamy formula. The result is a truly bold eye look that stays put.

Soften your red eye makeup look with brown and pink eyeshadow

Red Eye Makeup Cny Brown Pink

As its sitting in its pan, red eyeshadow can seem intimidating to work with, but when blended with brown or pink shades, you can create a romantic smokey eye.

Simply use a brown or pink eyeshadow as your base, and apply a small amount of red eyeshadow on your outer eyelids to create subtle definition. We suggest using a small flat shader brush to press the red shadow into the lid before working your way up to the crease.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Eyeshadows

Accentuate your eyes with the NYX Ultimate Edit Petite Eye Shadow Palette (left). It houses six shadows in a range of fiery red and coral hues, you can switch up your red eye makeup look effortlessly.

Lime Crime’s classic Venus Palette (right) is another gorgeous palette with rustic browns, reds, and burgundies to help you achieve the look easily. The shades come in four finishes too: matte, sparkle matte, glow, and metallic.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Huda Beauty Palette

To dial up the glamour this CNY, opt for Huda Beauty’s Ruby Obsessions Palette (above). Comprised of nine pigmented mattes and striking shimmers, you can create both classic and playful looks for your CNY visits.

Blend your eyeshadow well


Here’s the tricky bit: When you use a highly pigmented colour like red, you have to make sure you really blur and blend the colour into the crease of your eye. Otherwise, it’ll end up looking patchy and messy. Makeup artist Hung Vanngo’s look on Kate Bosworth (above) is the perfect example of seamless blending, which creates a sheer watercolour finish on the eyes.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Tapered Blending Brushes

Buff the red into the crease of your eyes with the tip of a blending brush, using a back-and-forth windshield wiper motion. The aim is to achieve a tapered, airbrushed effect for a seamless eye look. A couple of our favourites include Sigma Beauty’s E40 Tapered Blending Brush (left) and ColourPop’s Tapered Blending Brush (right).

Extend your red eyeshadow to your lower lash line

Red Eye Makeup Cny Charlotte Tilbury

Credit: Charlotte Tilbury

If you’re feeling bold, a beautiful way to rock this look is to extend some of the colour underneath your eyes. With a smaller, more precise eyeshadow brush, wrap the red shadow around your lower lash line. Remember to load your brush very lightly for this!

Land the tip of your brush on the outer corner of your lower lash line and sweep it towards the inner corner. This can help round out a smokey eye. A precise eyeshadow brush with a pointed tip can help you define your lash line. Plus, you can diffuse pencil and gel eyeliners for a smouldering look too.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Precise Shader Brushes

Try Fenty Beauty’s Precise Definition Brush 220 (left), ZOEVA’s 238 Precise Shader Brush (centre), or e.l.f.’s Precision Smudge Brush (right) for easy blending.

Try a maroon cat eye instead


If you’re not ready for a full-blown red smokey eye, we recommend trying a cat eye first. Not sure how to turn your red eyeshadow into a liquid eyeliner? It’s super easy. Using an angled eyeshadow brush dipped in water (you can also spritz it with a makeup setting spray), pick up some eyeshadow on both flat sides.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Angled Brushes

Then, take your angled brush from the inner corner of the upper lash and drag it out past the outer corner of your lash line to create a feline flick. Sigma Beauty’s E65 Small Angle Brush (left) has an angled, thin and firm head, which gives you smooth and even application every time.

Smashbox’s Precise Brow & Liner Brush (right) is another handy one to have in your brush collection. You can use it to fill in your brows or create crisp, graphic eyeliner looks. Top it off with lashings of black mascara for contrast, and you’re done!

Create a graphic eye look with red eyeliner


Experimenting with a different eyeliner colour doesn’t just open up a world of creative looks, but it can also enhance the shape of your peepers. A candy-apple red liner (above) drawn on in a graphic, abstract shape can help your eye makeup look stand out.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Eyeliners

If a brick red shade is too vibrant, you can transition easily with a thick, maroon eyeliner. Sephora Collection’s 12HR Vinyl Contour Eye Pencil in Red Lacquer (left) is a beautiful burgundy that’s simple to use and waterproof, so it’ll last on your eyes for hours on end.

For those who are down for a louder, more vibrant red, play with Fenty Beauty’s Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner in Cherry Punk (centre) or NYX’s Vivid Brights Liquid Eyeliner in Vivid Fire (right).

Spice it up with another vibrant shade


Creative and beautiful, the vivid red tone blended with blue in this gradient winged eyeliner (above) proves that red doesn’t need to be the main detail for your eye makeup to stand out. The blending of the cool and warm tones creates a unique, fresh take on eyeliner that is just as flattering as it is gorgeous.

Red Eye Makeup Cny Bright Eyeshadows

To level up your red eye makeup, dip your wet angled brush into these nine bright shades in the Sugarpills Cosmetics’ Fun Size Palette (left). For those who can’t get enough of playful makeup, pick up the Claropsyche Sketch Paint palette (right). It has watercolours for your face and comes with a fine liner brush, so you’ll feel like a real artist when you’re creating looks with it.

Keep the rest of your makeup clean and simple

You can choose to top off your look with matching red lips if you want – there aren’t any hard and fast rules here. However, if you’re not confident with this loud trend, you should try to keep everything else fresh and light for balance.

Keep your complexion clear and bright by perfecting your base, adding a little hint of blush, and sticking to a nude lip. This way, you won’t detract from the main focus – your eyes.

Armed with our easy tips, you’ll definitely be able to pull off red eye makeup, even if you’re fairly new to it. Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to head into CNY looking fly.