‘Euphoria’ Makeup Artist Donni Davy Was Nervous Fans Wouldn't Like The Season 2 Makeup
Ahead of the season finale, she shares her thoughts on fan theories, her favorite Season 2 looks, and her upcoming makeup line with A24.
Donni Davy is having quite the year already — and it’s only the end of February. She’s the makeup designer and lead artist for HBO’s Euphoria (ever heard of it?), which concludes its second season this Sunday. The work of her team has inspired a truly mind-boggling amount of recreations from fans across Instagram and TikTok; on TikTok alone, #EuphoriaMakeup has 1.6 billion views and counting. The show has nearly doubled in viewership this year and has already been renewed for a third season. Earlier this month, it was announced that we can expect a makeup line from Davy, A24, and the creatives behind Euphoria, aptly named Half Magic, too. And, on top of everything, Davy just had a baby.
Ahead of the Season 2 finale, we caught up with Davy over Zoom to ask her everything we wanted to know about the makeup looks on Euphoria Season 2 and the thought and meaning behind them. It turns out, Davy totally has been listening to all of your fan theories when it comes to the beauty looks. “They are in my brain,” says Davy. “If I just post the look [on Instagram] and not really the motivation behind it, people are commenting and nailing it.” Even if the fans go above and beyond what Davy and her team put there intentionally, she thinks all of your makeup fan theories are right. “People make these connections that were not intentional, but I'm always like, ‘Yeah, makes sense.’”
Read on for Davy’s favorite looks, what to expect from her upcoming makeup line, and the surprising makeup item they use to create Rue’s runny nose effect.
Do you have a favorite beauty look from Season 2?
I'm really in love with Lexi's Twiggy-inspired graphic eyelash moments that she's having. I’m also just so excited that we got to evolve Lexi this season and see her step into her power. And Cassie's whole flushy, anxiety burning through her glam looks has been really fun, too. It was really satisfying to do a shimmery, soft glam on her eyes and then rough up the whole look with these flushy cheeks and the make-out lips where the lip color kind of extends above her lips. But I don't know if I can pick one look I love the best. I definitely have a soft spot for Lexi, for sure. I also loved Kat's look for the intervention-gone-wrong scene. It was the blue color block with accentuated drawn on lashes.
Was Lexi the character you feel developed the most this season from the beauty perspective?
I think the biggest challenge is not everybody's makeup evolution can have that bam! moment like how Kat had [in Season 1]. It’s a little unrealistic for everybody to have that. I needed to make sure it all happened in realistic baby steps. Her makeup evolution is more of a whisper that manifests as the episodes go on, it's not a wham-bam moment.
What character changed the most to design looks for from Season 1 to 2?
Cassie, when she's kind of imitating Maddy and then she is imitating someone else, too, in these final episodes.
It was truly the funniest scene, when they're both in the same outfit and the same hair and makeup.
It was jarring. It was like, "You look good, but you look wrong." That was really fun to do and to play. Cassie's makeup looks have been so fun to work on this season because they're so emotionally charged and they're just so weird. When you see the Maddy influence come in, or even her nails this season, she's just trying to get Nate's attention and trying to keep Nate's attention and be sexy and be exactly what she thinks Nate wants. There's a lot of emotional baggage behind Cassie's looks.
People on TikTok recreate makeup looks from the episode basically the moment after it airs. How does it feel to see that?
It's incredible. I was really nervous about the makeup this season. I thought people might be disappointed to not see as many neons and big rhinestones and chunky, glitter moments. But I was really proud of what my team and I did and how we continued the conversation with the makeup, but we also evolved along with the aesthetic of the show. I'm thrilled that people have been enjoying the makeup looks. Seeing what people do with them is just insane, the talent is unbelievable on TikTok and Instagram. People are so good at makeup and so creative, and just innovative with how they take a look from the show and completely rethink it and recreate it in their own unique way. It inspires me equally as much as they were inspired by the look on the show. It’s the biggest source of my inspiration.
Euphoria fans are always looking for hidden messages and symbolism, even in the makeup, hair, and nails. Is there anything you either were surprised people were thinking, or is there anything people didn't pick up on that you snuck in there?
No, I think people pick up on everything! It always shocks me when people comment on my little nerd-out makeup Instagram posts that I do. They are in my brain. Sometimes before I even post an explanation, if I just post the look and not really the motivation behind it, people are commenting and nailing it. Sydney's nails in episode four are dark burgundy with cutout hearts, so it's an empty heart thing. She’s longing for a full heart or longing to be loved, but there’s this negative space, literally.
And then people make these connections that were not intentional, but I'm always like, "Yeah, makes sense." Some of it happens subconsciously and some of it people read into, and it's really interesting. People take it where they want it but, there are a lot of little things that are intentional there.
Do you have a favorite Easter egg that you put out there?
When I'm designing the looks, I always think about all of the characters. I think, "Okay, so and so is hanging out with so and so." So, I want a little bit of Maddy's signature that she was doing last year to be evident a little bit more on Cassie. Or Kat, who just started doing makeup, is pulling ideas from Jules as well. I'm always thinking about how these girls would really be inspired by each other. One girl tries something with makeup and then another girl does a take on that same look. I like just thinking and just little details like that.
Having the press-on nails was amazing. I think that was the missing piece and such a cool part of the storytelling. It was really fun to collaborate on the nails and have Natalie step in and have her own conversations with the cast and see where they were coming from. She was also really great because there were certain looks I would have a very specific vision for, and she was perfect in delivering those. The light pink nail that you see on Cassie with three stones in the center — I just knew I needed that. And she and Alexa had their own collaborations on Maddy’s nails.
With the hair, Kim and I would check in with each other and discuss what plans we had for the characters. We worked pretty independently, because we were in different trailers, but I had sense of her style and she had a sense of mine. I think we always have each other in mind and would respect what we needed to do. For instance she'd make room for me if I knew I was going to do a big wing or something, so the hair wasn't always falling in front. Or I would know that she's going to do a big hairstyle on Cassie for this country music star moment, so I needed to pull back a little on the makeup because I don't want Cassie to look like a clown. She has to look borderline ridiculous, but also good.
Have you already started thinking about ideas for Season 3?
I have to read the scripts to understand. I'll probably start doing makeup looks on myself and work through some ideas during the next few months. But until I have the scripts, I won't really be able to vision. I have no idea, where do I go from here?
I hope Rue gets to be in a better place and she can start wearing some makeup.
That would be great. Doing makeup on Zendaya is so fun, obviously. We do a lot of work to make her look bad, and she still looks stunning. We were using a lot fancy lip gloss for all of Zendaya's snotty, runny nose looks.
What can we expect from your new makeup line, Half Magic?
I envisioned these products would be for creating these colorful, multidimensional color scapes on your eye. As a makeup artist I would use something from one brand and something else from another brand and figure out how to layer them in a way that I was happy with. So I wished one brand made all of these products where I can get that full color, long wear, and also shimmer, and also glitter.
From the beginning, I always said I didn't want to make a “cool girl” brand. I wanted to make a brand that was 100% just delightful and inviting. I wanted it to be unintimidating and welcoming for a makeup newbie, but also attractive to makeup know-it-alls who love fancy products. There's something for everyone, and you don't even have to have seen the show. When I designed the products, I wasn't thinking about Euphoria, I wasn't thinking about the characters, I was thinking about people in the world wearing the brand and being excited to use these products in whatever way they want. If they want to use them to blend in, great. If they want to use them to stand out, great.