I Wore Red Eyeshadow For A Week & Channeled My Inner '00s Emo Kid

Best worn with winged eyeliner and a sweeping side fringe, red eyeshadow was a makeup staple for any ‘00s emo kid. It was shocking, rebellious and proved useful in settling the debate of who was the biggest Gerard Way fan. It also resulted in plenty of arguments with parents and grandparents, but we can forget about those for now.

Recently the product has seen a huge revival — Gigi Hadid, Kristen Stewart and Solange Knowles have worn it on the red carpet. It's also proving more and more popular with major beauty brands. Take Anastasia Beverly Hills, for instance: The brand's red-themed Modern Renaissance palette came out earlier this year and was a massive hit with beauty vloggers and Instagramers. 

With that in mind, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and wear red eyeshadow for a week. I wanted to see if the hue still had the emo charm it held in the ‘00s or whether it has lost it's shock factor and become a more acceptable form of everyday makeup. The rules were simple. I had to create a different look each day using various shades of red. I would then document everything from people’s reactions to how easy the makeup was to apply. Here’s how it went.

Day 1 

For the first day, I decided to start simple. I used a dusky pale orange from the Lime Crime Venus Palette on the centre of my eyelids. I then swept a bolder red from the same palette above the crease of my eye.

Overall I was extremely happy with the results, the look was subtle and could easily pass as daywear when teamed up with a nude lipstick. The only negative comment I received was from my dad, who in typical dad-fashion asked why my eyes were so swollen. I blame his bad eyesight. 

Day 2

I was running late on the second day, so decided to opt for something easy. Again, using the Lime Crime Venus Palette I used the lighter of the two red shades, Venus, to coat my lids. 

One thing I didn't realize before starting this experiment was how tricky red eyeshadow actually is to blend out! I probably wasted more time, fixing up the mess I made across the outer crease of my eye, than I spent applying it.

My hard work paid off though, when I met my friend for coffee, she really liked it. I thought it looked better than the previous days, as well. Teaming it up with a red lipstick made me look less washed out and made me feel a little more comfortable.

Day 3

I was going for an interview on the third day and was conscious of not creating a completely over-the-top look. With that in mind I mixed Venus with a rich brown shade called Icon. It's also from the Lime Crime Venus Palette and helped dull the red down slightly. 

I think if anything, this look proves that those odd colors you always find in an eyeshadow palette do come in useful. Though many people might be put off wearing burgundy or red hues, when mixed with another color they look completely different and aren't half as daunting as they seem.

Day 4 

On day four, I decided to try out a different eyeshadow. This time I opted for a metallic red shade called Sonic from Urban Decay's Vice 3 Palette. I also decided to try out a brighter lip for a change. 

This look is similar to how I used to apply red shadow in the '00s. Simply because I didn't know how to blend then. I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked on apply it because, again, I was running late. I know, I know, I really need a watch for Christmas.

Although no one said anything, I felt the least comfortable in this makeup. The lipstick color didn't go well with the shade on my lids, and it definitely shows how spending that extra bit longer on eye makeup pays off. 

Day 5

In contract, this is one of my favorite looks of the week. I used the bolder shade in the Lime Crime palette, Muse, and wore it with sharp winged liner and a dark red lip. This isn't something I'd typically wear during the day. It's hardly subtle, is it? But I received a compliment whilst I was getting my nails done, and I'd definitely recreate the look for the holiday parties I have coming up.

Day 6

It was nearly the end of the week and I wanted to try something a little different. While scrolling through Instagram, I saw beauty bloggers like Amadea Muse were using liquid lipstick as eyeshadow. Admittedly, it sounds a little odd but I decided to give it a go and combine it with the other popular trend that's dominating beauty YouTube; glossy eyeshadow.

I coated my lids in a jumbo red lipstick crayon, before adding a coat of Milk Makeup's Oil Lip Stain. The colors ended up looking a little more pink than red. The look was also completely unwearable. Seriously, I have a newfound respect for anyone who can wear this trend out and about! The gloss kept running down my face and smearing across my eyes. 

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As  social media is one of the harshest critics about, I asked Instagram and Twitter what they thought of this look. I assumed I'd have at least one 'wtf' comment, it's the internet after all, but everyone was really nice. I even got some advice for ways to make glossy eyeshadow a little more wearable by using vaseline instead of lip gloss. 

Day 7 

For the last day, I wanted to try out the boldest look of the bunch. I added an extra kick of red to Lime Crime's Muse shadow by pairing it up with NYX Vidid Brights Eyeliner in the shade Fire.

As the week went on, I began to realize that I prefer red eyeshadow rimmed with black liner and plenty of mascara, so was apprehensive of trying NYX's buy out, but I'm so glad I did. I thought it was striking and really creative in comparison to my usual beauty routine. It also looks great when teamed up with an all-black outfit.

Final Thoughts

So, does red eyeshadow still have the shock factor it did in those good old '00s emo days? I don't think so. I received compliments this week and other than the odd dad-comment or joke, no one bat an eyelid at what color eyeshadow I was wearing. 

Personally, I feel Instagram has helped this. The app opens our eyes to endless amounts of beauty trends daily. During this week alone, I found out so many different ways to wear red eyeshadow and hacks to try.  While some of those beauty trends aren't going to be for everyone. It did encourage me to experiment and become more creative while applying makeup. 

What are you waiting for? Get out the colors you applied decades ago and give them a try. 

Images: Emma Matthews

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