Cosmetics have a colorful history. As early as 7,000 years ago, red mineral pigments were applied as ritualistic body art. Ancient Egyptians darkened eyes with kohl; in China, members of the dynastic class stained fingernails with a concoction of gelatin, beeswax and egg whites–the precursor to modern polish.
From the iconic flapper eyebrows of the 1920s to morale-boosting swipes of lipstick during World War II, it’s clear that makeup does more than simply brighten or accentuate facial features. The cosmetics your customers apply to their faces say something about who they are. At this exciting and dynamic time for beauty, we bring you the top makeup trends making a splash on runways and elsewhere–and let the experts weigh in.
Eyes are windows to the soul, perhaps now more than ever, with extra attention being paid to peepers. Cleopatra’s signature kohl-lined look is undergoing a modern evolution expressed in two different ways. The first is soft. Instead of contouring with bold strokes that culminate in an ultra sharp, upturned wing, “thumbprint” liner calls for a gentler smudge of charcoal near the outer crease.
“Geometric shapes are progressing to softer, easier-to-apply styles,” says Charlotte Libby, global beauty and personal care analyst at market research firm Mintel. Both Hadid sisters boasted this subtle look during 2018 runway shows: Bella at Jason Wu and Gigi at Tom Ford.
The second cat-eye iteration is dramatic. Black lines were brought down into sharp points at the inner-eye corners, mirroring the striking lines drawn around outer edges. Then liner moved lower. Instead of tracing above models’ top lashes, Jill Stuart flipped the pattern. Pencils drew beneath bottom rims, flicking upward for a jaunty finish. “The standard cut crease and smoky eye are being replaced with a focus on different areas of the eyes,” Libby says.
“Inner-eye strobing using multiple hues has become a popular trend to make eyes pop brighter and wider.”
—Charlotte Libby, global beauty and personal care analyst, Mintel
Further, today’s hot looks aren’t monochromatic; they’re multicolored. Electric blue under-eye shadow on Chromat’s spring New York Fashion Week runway (see top middle). Lime green sweetened lids at Byblos (see top left), while Fenty and Novis ladies shone with streaks of sunny yellow. “Inner-eye strobing using multiple hues has become a popular trend to make eyes pop brighter and wider,” Libby explains. Brow bones are likewise experiencing their moment in the spotlight–a single swath of neon tangerine or green are all it takes to make a startling statement.
Libby adds, “Pigment under eyebrows is the freshest way to wear bold shades, and consumers will soon be searching for the tools and products to perfect application on these new zones.”
Ditto for brows themselves. According to Helen Phillips, Sephora Collection national makeup artist, “To no surprise, brows are still–and may always be–a prime makeup essential.” Customers are scooping up Sephora’s Beau Brow because it lends sheer, buildable coverage that’s a breeze to apply.
ALL THAT GLITTERS
It’s unfair to say glitter is making a comeback since this craze never fully faded. But shimmery offerings are certainly entering a new phase. “Look for bigger particles applied to unusual sections of the face and body,” Libby says. Sparkly sequins, crystals, rhinestones and even dried flowers will increasingly bedazzle visages with the help of lash glue. Giambattista Valli took this expression to its extreme, showcasing full-face holographic glitter at his autumn/winter 2018–19 runway show (shown below). “Appliqué makeup was most commonly associated with nail art, but it’s now moving into face, lip and eye designs,” Libby notes. “In the U.S., 20 percent of cosmetics users ages 18 to 34 are interested in adhesive innovations that incorporate 3D effects.”
Singer-turned-entrepreneur Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty launched her eponymous Fenty Beauty line last year to fill an industry void for products that work on all skin tones. Her fan-favorite Trophy Wife highlighter continues to sell like liquid gold. The gilt glitter shines on every complexion, from ebony to ivory. “I believe we’ll soon also see bold festival looks translated into everyday makeup, with items like Fenty’s Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Duo, which brings a vivid yet subtle
shimmer to eyes and cheeks,” Phillips says.
“People want the full look, decorated with highlights and contours.”
—Nicole Faulkner, director of global artistry, Morphe
In March, MAC Cosmetics announced the addition of three new glitter shades to its collections–ahead of the summer concert season. Makeup guru Pat McGrath forged glistening metallic tears from MAC’s Glitter in Reflects Pearl and Reflects Gold for Anna Sui’s catwalk show. “The average girl or guy is way more makeup savvy these days,” says Nicole Faulkner (also known as influencer LipstickNick), director of global artistry for Morphe. “People want the full look, decorated with highlights and contours.”
The same holds true for lips, which are flashy and reflective. Everyone’s favorite ’90s lip gloss has been revamped into a “liquid” gloss/stick hybrid. “Incredible ingredient advancements are improving wearability, which means metallic pucker-ups like Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain are having a major moment,” Phillips says.
Yet in response to mounting concerns regarding the harmful pollutant effects of tiny plastic particles such as microbeads, festivals and carnivals in the U.K. and Brazil have launched “glitter is litter” campaigns to ban the use of plastic sparklers. “Conceptualizing environmentally friendly glitter will be key for brands moving forward. We can expect consumers to demand biodegradable glitter as awareness grows around plastic pollution,” Libby predicts.
MOTHER EARTH REBIRTH
Plastic bans are only the beginning. Evolving customer concerns coupled with global climate shifts mean the personal care industry’s approach to harvesting ingredients will likewise have to adapt. Mintel reports that 56 percent of U.S. shoppers have stopped purchasing from retailers they suspect to be unethical. In ever greater numbers, consumers are also thinking small: locally sourced, regionally produced, microbatch products. Such efforts make buyers feel proud for doing their part to guard the planet. Case in point: Ajali Handmade Naturals, a Nigeria-based brand with a moral ethos that sets a strong example. Their 100 percent eco-friendly beauty items use ingredients indigenous to West Africa–such as unrefined cocoa butter and virgin coconut oil– farmed from neighboring plantations. They vocally encourage consumers to embrace differences and individuality.
“From ingredients to packaging to branding, over the next three years companies will be challenged to focus on safety and purity, to clearly communicate product benefits and to turn to technology in order to take a local and ethical stance,” Libby says.
“It’s no surprise that some of beauty’s biggest brands are also top fashion and beauty influencers. Look for Pat McGrath, Natasha Denona and Huda Beauty crafting must-haves for the style-obsessed.”
—Helen Phillips, Sephora Collection
Smartphone apps such as Detox Me are making it ever easier for users to nix chemicals from their daily lives by offering simple, fact-based tips on reducing exposure to potentially harmful contaminants. In the future, science may further salvage biodiversity by replacing wild-ingredient sourcing with pure, toxin-free compounds made sustainably in labs.
FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
Deeply pigmented products pack a powerfully pleasing saturation punch, yet sheer makeup holds its own appeal. Today’s offerings let skin’s inherent undertones shine through the shade, which aligns with a universal call for increased color diversity. Roughly 40 percent of American makeup users between the ages of 25 and 34 are frustrated by a lack of products that match their own skin tones, according to Mintel. Brands are noting this dissatisfaction–and responding. Jequiti Ellas Pin-Up Base Primer Color Adapt calls on advanced technology to adjust saturation based on specific skin hue. Elizabeth Little Lady Luxe All in One Rouge detects dermal moisture levels, then reacts accordingly with the appropriate pop of color. And the Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lip & Cheek Universal Tinted Gel comes in a single shade: It interacts with each individual’s pH level to produce a pink glow that mimics naturally flushed skin.
“Whereas makeup fads were once determined by societal beauty standards of the day, a universal norm no longer exists,” Phillips says. “Each user’s connection and approach to beauty is now based on personal interests and tastes.” To thrive, retailers should embrace brands that demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity by being blind to gender, age, body type and sexuality. Shoppers can no longer be distilled into simplistic demo- graphic categories–the experience of being human is far too complex. Individual behavior will take over as the benchmark by which beauty is expressed.
This movement is already in motion thanks to groups such as Toun28, a South Korean startup that creates personalized skincare formulas. “The chemical-free, bespoke products are crafted based on facial analysis for different parts of the face, with each batch lasting 28 days,” Libby reports. Another trendsetter
making news is 70-year-old Park Makrye, otherwise known as Korea Grandma, who’s won over hundreds of thousands of fans on YouTube with her unique, tongue-in-cheek approach to fashion and beauty. “As we continue to draw inspiration from each other, especially on social media, we’ll keep watching makeup trends evolve,” Phillips says. “Consumers want to discover the latest must-have products, then incorporate them into their lives to stand out as individuals.”
5 Trends to Watch in 2019
- AR Apps: Smashbox partnered with ModiFace to launch technology that tracks eye movements and gauges users’ stimulation levels, and then prompts the purchase of products that they appear most interested in.
- Shopping on Instagram: Sephora and Ulta were among 20 companies chosen to initiate Instagram’s shoppable platform, which turns browsers into buyers. Users tap purchasable posts to reveal a product’s name and price; three more clicks seal the deal. “Looking ahead, the days of social media being purely social will pass, as brands blur lines between platforms and online retail,” says Charlotte Libby of Mintel.
- Analytical Technology: “Heart rate, body language and speech will be important biometric indicators for a more complete assessment of consumer preferences and personality in 2018 and beyond,” Libby says.
- Influencers on the Rise: “Jeffree Star, Laura Lee and James Charles are the hot names to keep in mind,” says Nicole Faulkner of Morphe. “All have exciting surprises up their sleeves for the next season.”
- Makeup Artist Brands: “It’s no surprise that some of beauty’s biggest brands are also top fashion and beauty influencers,” says Helen Phillips of Sephora Collection. “Look for Pat McGrath, Natasha Denona and Huda Beauty crafting must-haves for the style-obsessed.”
[Photo by Alessandro Viero/IMAXTREE.COM, Pietro D'aprano/gettyimages.com and Catwalking/gettyimages.com]