The easiest expert-approved makeup looks to try all year.
After a year with beauty on most people’s back burner, predicting which makeup trends will take the stage in 2021 is no easy task. “It’s kind of hard to say with makeup trends—they’re so unpredictable,” says Jackie Aina, a Nigerian-American beauty content creator, activist, and social media sensation. “I think we could go either way. People could be so comfortable and used to where we are now and keep moving forward in the ‘less is more’ lane. Or, there could be a resurgence in doing full heavy glam.”
But while both options are on the table—and you can always choose your own makeup adventure on any given day—there are some predictions from the pros who keep their finger on the industry’s pulse. Below, we got the 2021 makeup trend scoop from Aina, makeup mogul and Artist Couture founder Angel Merino, and Fenty Beauty global makeup artist Hector Espinal.
As long as face masks continue to remain incredibly important to wear, beauty fans will adapt by pulling out all the stops with eye makeup. “We’ve all been forced to really use our eyes to show off our personality and emotions—even the way we communicate!—and it has been fun [to] experiment with colorful liners and textured shadows and slick lashes,” notes Espinal.
It might be time to finally master the art of popping on a pair of false eyelashes, too. “We’ll still play up whatever is visible and can still show off,” says Merino regarding above-mask makeup. “I see eyes and lashes having a major moment in a fun and creative way.”
“Soft, pale pink has been popular for quite some time now, but I feel like we’re now moving into more muted colors like tans, sage greens, pistachios, and baby blues. Everything is also really nostalgic right now, so I’m seeing a lot of graphic liner looks, white eyeliner, and baby blue eyeliner,” says Aina. “People are also moving away from shimmers, too. They’re amping up mattes and making everything look like an ode to the ’90s.”
But don’t count out other throwback decades such as the ’60s, and the return of its lid-hugging cut crease. “I see a nod to the ’60s being a major trend. Look at Ariana Grande’s new ’60s-inspired era happening right now,” adds Merino. “Creating graphic shapes with eyeshadow and liner are a great way to make you like bright-eyed and fresh.”
You heard it here first: “Full-coverage foundation is not going anywhere,” says Aina. How you apply it might change, though, as a natural-looking complexion—with varied tones, freckles, and moles—takes the wheel. “As long as there are people who don’t always have the most perfect skin, someone out there is going to be looking for coverage and that’s okay; those products are still going to do well.”
So, how does glass skin and dewy highlighter play into a natural base? Meet demi-matte, a dewy and semi-matte combo, which Aina calls the best of both worlds. “You get beautiful, enhanced texture in the skin, but you get the benefits of a matte foundation that’s long wearing and oil-controlling,” she explains. “I feel like people are looking for products that kind of do both.”
“I think next year we’ll see a lot of complexion that’s not simply matte or dewy—instead it will be all about a natural, skin-like finish,” adds Espinal. “When Rihanna creates Fenty Beauty’s complexion products, she wants products that allow skin to still look like skin. Soft matte, radiant and not shiny—that’s what it’s about.”