Over the past year, the global pandemic has had a seismic impact on the way we approach beauty, and the trends that have emerged are a reflection of just that. On the runways, mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols translated to an array of face-covering-minded makeup statements and extra-long quarantine hair—both acknowledging and offering inspiration for the times we are living in.
But there were also showings of transportive escapism; the kind that sparks the imagination and encourages bold self-expression as a powerful coping tool. As we look ahead to spring, here are the biggest beauty trends permeating the runways, our screens, and the real world alike.
Designer Simone Rocha can always be relied upon for Jane Austen heroine-worthy beauty. For spring, the British designer put forth lids washed in iridescent gold and soft ringlets topped off with crystal-encrusted period headpieces. The look was an early precursor to the Regency-era revival spurred by Netflix’s Bridgerton with its twinkly and frilly Marie Antoinette–rivaling costumes. Nod to the era with an ornamental hair accessory, wash of rouge, and/or a subtle gilded eye statement.
As models came down the runway at Jason Wu, smatterings of trompe-l'œil freckles decorated cheeks to sun-kissed effect. A cheery solution to the lack of vitamin D in lockdown, “fleckles,” as makeup artist Erin Parsons likes to call them, have also taken off on TikTok and can be easily achieved with a special freckle tool or by dotting on pigment and tapping a Q-tip over it to blend it out.
In the early days of lockdown, British colorist Alex Brownsell coined the term “self-dye-solation,” a tongue-in-cheek term to describe the brilliant dye jobs individuals were giving themselves at home. At Collina Strada, technicolor, tie-dyed wigs were a vital part of the rainbow beauty equation, while on the Valentino runway, individuality was the reigning beauty code with two icy blue manes making the case for wash-out fantasy color. Since then, stars from Ciara to Madonna have also taken the plunge and relished the transformative results.
At first, wearing a face mask seemed like it was in total contradiction to bold makeup. But as evidenced by shows like Zero + Maria, where there was a trio of bold, painterly lid looks in white, fuchsia, and cobalt blue, or Ferragamo, where a classic cat-eye got a colorful twist, face coverings can also serve as an excuse to get creative with your eye makeup. But it isn’t just the eyes that have it. Thanks to long-wear lip formulas and more lived-in application techniques (blurred edges, it is!), you can wear a bold lip too, as evidenced by the vivid pouts at Bora Aksu and Versace.
To cut DIY bangs or not to cut DIY bangs? That was the question that bedeviled many when hair salons first closed. At Prada, hair legend Guido Paulo made the case for letting your fringe grow out, giving many models choppy cuts with long bangs that hit right at the cheekbones, while at Paco Rabanne, the notion was taken to the extreme with models sporting curtain bangs that quite literally covered their eyes. The low-maintenance look has never been more alluring.
There was a bevy of floral beauty statements throughout fashion month, from the daisies watercolored on faces at Anna Sui to the loose, wispy hairstyles topped off with whimsical, silk wreaths at Rodarte. Proving that fresh blooms will continue to be a welcome reminder of a season anew, bohemian brides wore an array of dreamy flower crowns at Chanel Couture too. Whether a kitschy daffodil doodle drawn along the temples or a fresh flower garland worn upon a low-slung knot, there’s nothing wrong with a little spring romance.
At Valentino Couture, quarantine hair was taken to a whole other level with hip-grazing manes crafted with ultra-long hair extensions. “I wanted it to feel very light at the ends—you know, like when you see a child’s hair?” posed Palau. “It’s very flat, floaty, and airy.” The look not only has the runway tick of approval, but that of hairstylists too. The silver lining of this strange time is that you can take the health of your hair seriously. In fact you might even consider a full hair reset.
As reported by The New York Times, new research from the data provider Semrush indicates blush is the third-most searched beauty product in the U.S., and online sales are on the rise. It’s no secret that a wash of blush is an instant mood booster, and there was plenty of inspiration at the spring shows, from the cheeks draped in hot fuchsia blush at Tom Ford to the gazes encased in whisper-light washes of petal pink pigment at Valentino.
The dreamiest, most imaginative styles came in the form of gravity-defying, suspended braid “flying hair” styles at Christopher John Rogers. Forwarding the momentum was the Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2, where models like Nazanin Mandi Pimentel had lengths braided and wound into ceiling-bound updos, as well as beauty chameleon Karrueche Tran, who joined forces with hairstylist Fesa Nu to craft sculptural looks accented by artfully laid baby hairs.
Much like quarantine made room for more diligent hair care, skin care has also received renewed enthusiasm. As such, almost-bare complexions ruled at shows like Burberry, Victoria Beckham, and Chloé. You can’t go wrong tending to skin with Paris Fashion Week backstage mainstays, such as Embryolisse moisturizer and Bioderma’s Hydrabio mist. When you want to enhance your complexion, keep it as minimal as possible. Two pro techniques from Isamaya Ffrench: Use just enough foundation to cover spots or darkness, and blend gloss on the high planes of the face for naturally strobed definition.
At Dries Van Noten, lengths were molded into shiny finger waves (inspired by the bold, graphic line work of American artist Tony Viramontes) and punctuated by stacks of bobby pins. Then, at Fendi couture, glossy ripples were formed along the hairline as lengths were twisted into chignons (and topped off with Venetian glass accessories, no less). Suffice to say, sculptural hair has been everywhere. Next time you step out of the shower, consider slicking and shaping your hair with help from a few well-placed clips and a surplus of setting product.