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Over its two seasons, the makeup on HBO’s hit teenage drama Euphoria has become a phenomenon. From the show’s iridescent eyeshadow to generous amounts of glitter, makeup designer Doniella Davy has imbued the spirit of fantasy back into makeup on the coming-of-age series.
The 33-year-old artist now is embarking on a new cosmetics brand called Half Magic Beauty, available for purchase as of May 17. Known as Donni, the beauty founder was raised in Venice, California and didn’t start off wanting to be a makeup artist. But after receiving her photography degree from Pratt Institute, she was urged by a childhood friend to begin a career in makeup.
“I didn’t even wear a lot of makeup growing up,” Davy, chatting over Zoom from her living room in her L.A. home, says. “I want [Half Magic Beauty] to be so unintimidating, so user-friendly, so not a cool girl line — much more like, ‘join us!'”
Whimsicality and practicality are principles that are embedded into the 10-product line. Half Magic Beauty is intended to be an entire kit for makeup artists who search for high-quality formulas and for homeschooled beauty enthusiasts. Launched in collaboration with A24, the makeup brand is meant to be accessible with items priced from $12-$26.
The Chromaddiction Shimmer Eye Paint + Liner ($24) comes in four colors for creating glowy eyelids, while the three types of rhinestone face gems (solid neon, iridescent sparkle, bold metallic, $12) can elevate the shine present in natural complexions and layer radiantly on skin. The cast-favorite LipTrik Kits ($26) come in two different pairings with a lip cream and liner — the earth-toned Magic Brownie + I’ll Pray For You/I Have Needs or the fluorescent-colored Angel Rave + Don’t Be Confused/Honestly, Yes. The Half Magic Beauty collection also features tweezers for rhinestones, precision eyeliner brushes, a silicone guide for eyeliner and more.
The Hollywood Reporter talked with the pink-haired makeup visionary about her first beauty brand, how recent motherhood has made her more confident and what her favorite looks have been for Sydney Sweeney’s character Cassie in season two.
What caused you to naturally gravitate towards the transformative art and world of makeup?
My background is mostly in visual art — painting and drawing and photography as well. A very good friend who I’ve known since I was a baby, her mom suggested being a makeup artist for me and I thought it sounded so cool — the storytelling aspect of it.
I realized doing makeup for film and TV, is a lot more than just makeup. It’s reading the scripts and trying to enhance the story. It is storytelling, but I am essentially using painting and drawing on people’s faces.
If you were able to go back in time and attend Euphoria high or address your younger self, which Half Magic beauty product would you have been wearing nonstop then?
Mostly, the shimmery Chromaddiction eye paints and the Glitter liner.
What was the process like creating your first makeup brand?
I think many makeup artists have these moments all the time. They’re like: “Oh, if I ever had a brand this is what I would want to do,” Or like: “I love this product, but I wish it layered really well with this other product.” We’re always thinking about combining different products from different lines and sort of making our own ideal products. So, I’ve had an ongoing little list of the kind of products I would ever want to make if I ever had a line.
The first products that we’re launching are basically a system for layering glitter and shimmer on top of bold colors. Half Magic Beauty is meant to be able to give people these super colorful eyes where all the products are compatible. The glitter can layer on top of this beautiful sparkly layer and can have something to stick to. So I wanted to create this system of ingredients that go well together that can give people this look. I wanted the user experience and the online Euphoria makeup experience to be able to have both physically in your hands.
How was creating makeup looks for Euphoria very different than the products you are sharing in your line?
It is funny because the Euphoria makeup has become my life. I’m thinking about that all the time. Obviously, shooting was a nine-month process for season two. I think it was around eight months for season one. I get into this Euphoria world and I am in there for a while and so the brand was incubating and being put together well before season two. So I’m always kind of in that makeup mindset now. Most experiences I have done of ‘fun makeup’ are on the set of Euphoria. I’m super keyed in now to what I’m looking for in products — light-reflecting products, the kind of shimmer, the density of the shimmer, the pigments and the glitter and how bright I want it to be. For example, if it’s a mid-tone blue, I know I need to make sure it’s bright enough so that in the shadows it still shows onscreen as this beautiful blue and doesn’t shift into a black.
What is the spirit behind the brand’s name Half Magic Beauty?
This line is all-embracing of natural skin texture and this sense of realism, which kind of comes into the name: Half Magic. The makeup is the magic. You are the rest of the magic. You’re playing with bold colors and glitter and maybe a fantasy-kind-of-makeup look, so to speak, it doesn’t mean, the look has to be perfect by any means. It’s self-expression through makeup. It’s also a sense of personal evolution, it’s therapy.
Makeup can be used as a tool to really figure stuff out about yourself by trying on different ways of being you. I wanted to really hit this specific elevated level of part-whimsical, part-practical and creating a place where makeup newbies and Euphoria makeup fans can play around and enjoy the line.
What was one of the touchstones that you really wanted to make obvious when consumers experience your products?
You don’t have to have a whole collection of makeup brushes. You don’t need to be a pro at all. My fantasy is for this line to be somebody’s first makeup line that they ever play with. For the makeup pros, I want them to really appreciate the high-end formulas. I really wanted to lead with products that I feel are more universal and are geared towards giving someone who maybe isn’t into wearing brighter colors. Giving them this elevated experience to start playing with magical, elevated makeup.
What is the go-to makeup tool that you can never leave the house without?
I would have a little baggy of extra rhinestones, just in case they fall off. Lash glue, which I can glue rhinestones on with, but Half Magic Beauty’s rhinestones have adhesive on the back of them. They’re medical-grade adhesive. Still, you never know if you’re going to be accidentally knocking one off.
What was your most memorable showstopper makeup moment on the Euphoria season two set that comes instantly to mind?
Cassie [Sydney Sweeney] had a lot of awesome makeup moments that I loved doing on her. What I loved about her looks was you could feel her stress and anxiety. Those emotions burned through her looks. She always had a slushy cheek look. Her lip color was always around the outside of her lips, looking kind of like she was just making out with Nate.
The season absolutely embodies what I’m all about and what my relationship with designing the makeup on Euphoria has been. It’s all about bringing the emotion into the glam so you can really feel it burning through the glam. Cassie’s looks were coming from a more desperate place to get attention. My favorite look was when Cassie showed up to school looking like Maddy, but with a wing with rhinestones on it.
What impact are you aiming for Half Magic Beauty to have in the beauty industry?
Truly providing all of the makeup tools in one place. Making the experience of using makeup a sort of embracing experience, where you create your own fantasy, where you can try on different facets of your own personality and just truly make makeup a very welcoming place. The products are very wearable and they provide this elevated sort of sparkle experience. You are officially welcomed into this line with such fantastical packaging.
What about the application of makeup that has been so specifically liberating for you as a new mom?
In a way, I feel like I’ve never felt more myself as a new mom, and simultaneously, I am wearing more fun makeup looks. I started wearing more fun makeup and doing Euphoria makeup looks on myself during quarantine in 2020 after season one aired. I hadn’t really used my own face as a way to explore looks. At that time, I was sort of exploring what I wanted to do for season two. I worked out a lot of ideas on my own, on my own face, and felt how therapeutic and uplifting the practice of doing that was for me.
I was kind of in my own private world at home. I posted these looks on Instagram. There is this interesting part about this practice of wearing cool looks and just doing them at home and posting them online. It is similar to wearing them out, but it feels less scary than wearing them out. I kind of fell in love with makeup even more and wanted to really bring it into my personal life. Then, having my baby has definitely made me have less social anxiety. I feel like I can just be myself more now.
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