The year 2019, if anything, has been the year we all learned that tortoiseshell patterns are not to be limited to glasses. Hand-painted tortoiseshell nail art starting popping up on various nail techs’ Instagram feeds earlier this year, and it rapidly sparked a trend that, frankly, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, any time soon. Months down the line, you’ll be hard-pressed to take a quick scroll through your feed without encountering some new version of tortoiseshell nails.
But in a delightfully interesting turn of events, some of the Internet’s most creative beauty minds have transformed the beloved nail fad into an eye-makeup challenge of sorts. Though the hashtag for the burgeoning trend has fewer than 100 posts thus far, something tells me it’s going to take off just as quickly as its nail-art sibling.
This clean-cut tortoiseshell wing is one of the first-ever takes on the trend.
Multiple Instagram users credit this look by 20-year-old user Alexandria (@alexirmua) as the inspiration for their own interpretations, and it’s clear to see why, thanks to the sharp lines, intense detail, and mile-long false eyelashes. She tells Allure that her boyfriend suggested trying to adapt tortoiseshell into a makeup look and that he’s now very proud of it because it’s Alexandria’s most popular post to date. “I used some nail-art brushes to get the most precise application of the color and went over with a bigger fluffy brush to blend everything together,” she says.
Some adaptations, like this one, are designed specifically to match tortoiseshell hair accessories.
This look from Marija Mišković (@touchedbymishkova), a certified makeup artist based in Munich, Germany, is one of the handful inspired by Alexandria’s, but it has a personal touch. “I changed the colors a bit so it matches a hair clip that my grandma gave to me a few years ago,” she tells Allure. “It has the exact same pattern and colors, and I love to match eye-catching accessories with my eye makeup.”
If you’re going to attempt an imitation, she advises using “different shades of warm and dark colors instead of just putting black spots all over the eyelid.” (Sorry to disappoint, fellow impatient people.)
Patience and multiple neutral eye shadow shades are the key to achieving this look’s multi-dimensional effect.
Debasree Banerjee (@debasreee), on the other hand, derived her look straight from the nail-art trend and the patterns she frequently sees on glasses and other accessories. “I used a light-brown shadow all over, then a darker one to create the [base] shapes, and then black to outline,” she says.
But there are quicker, more subtle approaches to tortoiseshell eyes, like this one.
Alisha (@anhface) takes a subtle and more everyday approach to tortoiseshell eye trend. According to her caption, she used the Jaclyn Hill Morphe palette to create the caramel-colored wing on glossy skin. She wears tortoiseshell glasses every day and wanted to create a look to match. “I started off with a yellow base, adding the black layout, and slowly blending the design out with a warm orange-brown,” she explains.