Somewhere along the past year, it began to feel like the no-makeup makeup clean girl aesthetic was no longer a trend but a way of life. And, for some of us, it certainly is. For others who want to have a bit more fun with their makeup, there’s a new trend in town: dopamine glam. It’s exactly what it sounds like: “feel good, out-of-the-box glam that screams the total opposite of the long-lasting clean girl trend. It’s bursts of fun, bold color and sparkles—anything goes glam,” says celebrity makeup artist Judi Gabbay. “The term is inspired by the effects of dopamine which make us happy and instantly lifts our mood.”
Sir John originated the idea of dopamine glam. He says it’s focused on makeup that makes you feel good, not just look good. We’re hesitant to call it a trend—Sir John says it’s “anti-trend”—but whatever it is, it’s having a moment.
It’s no surprise that after laid-back makeup looks devoid of color and the drab days of the pandemic, something bright and bold would eventually follow. “People want to have fun with makeup again,” says Urban Decay Cosmetics global makeup artist Steve Kassajikian. Gabbay adds that tailing Coachella and music festival season allowed for an easy transition into more fun, unconventional glam.
Celebrity makeup artist Allison Kaye points out that not everyone is into the minimal makeup look in the first place. “Makeup is a form of art, and many people love to unleash their creative side when doing makeup,” says Kaye. “I think the dopamine makeup trend is a perfect trend to be hot right now for all of those wanting to show off their artistic side and create stunning looks with color and joy.”
Dopamine glam inspiration
There are no one-size-fits-all dopamine glam suggestions since the makeup that makes you feel good can be different for everyone. The through line is color, thinking out of the box and doing whatever spikes your dopamine without regarding any rules. However, “dopamine glam doesn’t have to be anything too crazy either,” says Kassajikian.
“Try incorporating brighter colors into shadows and graphic liners using unexpected hues. Laying cream color under shadows can help make shadows pop even more. Patting a thin layer of sparkle over shadow can also help make your look come to life,” says Gabbay. She loves using Anastasia Norvina Chroma Stix ($18) to get the look. “They come in an array of shades that glide on and stay put all day,” she says. Gabbay also recommends Pat Mcgrath MTHRSHPMEGA: Celestial Nirvana ($41) to create dopamine inspired looks. It’s an “all-in-one palette that ranges from matte neutral shades to shimmery pops of purples, pinks and blues.”
When using color in makeup, Kaye says one of her favorite products to use is the Makeup Forever Flash Color Cream Pigment Palette ($99). “It has 12 cream colors that you can mix and match to create any look you desire. I love using these as eyeshadows or eyeliners. They can truthfully be made into anything to the point where you could create an entire face makeup look with this one palette.”
Kassajikian says applying a bright lip color or swapping out black eyeliner for a bold color are great ways to try dopamine glam. He recommends Urban Decay Vice Lip Bond Glossy Liquid Lipstick ($27) in Shock Value or Solo Player. To get this look, Kassajikian also likes Glide-on Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils ($25) in Woodstock, Freak, Chaos or Psychedelic Sister. “Also, you can have fun with your eyeshadow using the UD x Smiley Naked Mini Eyeshadow Palettes ($33) for a fun color moment that will brighten up your look,” he adds.