Makeup is many things for spring/summer 2016, but one thing’s for sure; it ain’t perfect. Throw away the rule book, minimise that online tutorial and quit contouring by numbers; in the words of MAC’s director of makeup artistry Terry Barber , ‘it’s about rejecting the idea that beauty can be a ‘recipe’’. A rebellion against everything from overfiltered, overexposed “social media makeup” (as coined by makeup artist Val Garland) to cookie cutter, one size fits all trends, the makeup forecast is extreme, unpredictable and unique to the individual. As the catwalks demonstrated, it could be ‘all’, ‘nothing’ or ‘both on the same day’. Pick your camp or dabble in both, but whatever you do, don’t overthink it. ‘Barely there’ is as valid and impactful a beauty choice as bold, brash and bright, and consider writing makeup artist Gordon Espinet ’s take on trends on post-its next to mirrors in your house:
“The face is still more important than the makeup.”
Instead of playing it safe in the middle ground, follow makeup artist Tom Pecheux’s lead and experiment with ‘either doing what looks like nothing or a strong something’. Either extreme is fresh, intriguing and by definition, personal, as your ‘strong something’ won’t be the same as anyone else’s, and your ‘natural’ will immediately convey your individuality and bring your features to the fore, as they are (no faux lip lines or overdrawn eyebrows here). Here are a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to completely ignore me and go your own way. That’s your prerogative.
The ‘Nothing’ Edit
As ever in fashion, a naked face is rarely totally thus (see Tom’s ‘something that looks like nothing’ comment above). What was different about this coming season’s progression of the ‘no makeup makeup’ movement was that actually, it was indeed lighter on makeup, rather than ironically heavy on the base front. Skincare on the other hand…
Terry underlined that a prevailing aesthetic was to create ‘makeup that looked like skincare’; think plump, hydrated, well cared for complexions. Makeup, it seems, is moving in a similarly holistic direction to the current health and wellness precedent, as emphasised by Val:
“This is gym skin with an athletic, not cosmetic, health to it.”
Makeup artists working backstage prioritised prep over paint in some cases, with countless lotions and potions in action and just a lick of concealer in evidence in some cases. This might involve some realigning of beauty budgets in the real world; think facials over fake tan, modern, innovative textures over highly pigmented, not necessarily ‘real’ colours and a blurring of boundaries between skin treatments and traditional makeup. Deep bronzes are out (unless they blend in seamlessly with your skintone), taupes and peaches are go, eyebrows act as full, natural anchors and while skin is lit up and lightly perfected, it’s high time to stop carving your face up and sculpting to death. It’s telling that fitness has penetrated more than just the wellbeing scene; skater girls, gym bunnies and surfers were all points of reference at SS16 shows. Looking like you take care of your face is decidedly cool, and if you need a hand with that all of the following ‘keep it real’...
A light reflecting highlighter
Models practically bathed in MAC Strobe Cream , £24.50, before many a show. Mix it with moisturiser, layer it over a light foundation (more on that next) to create luminous contrast with more matte areas of the face or strobe until the cows come home. It’s up to you how you use it, but be mindful of the fact that a little goes a long way. Keep your eyes peeled for new Strobe Cream shades coming at you this spring; there are golds, silvers, reds...beam me to the launch date please.
Some cunning coverage
Heavy powder and claggy pan sticks have no place in the ‘nothing’ camp, but that doesn’t mean that you have you to resign yourself yourself to going teetotal in the base stakes either (there’s enough detoxing going on around here thanks). Upgrade lacklustre BBs and the like to something seriously high tech that blurs out blotchiness and general ‘blahness’ while giving you a seamless, supple glow and convincing, confidence boosting coverage where you require it.
There are quite a few of these clever tinty/balmy/foundation-y creations cropping up of late; if you’re one for a hit of hydration and a bit of crepey-line hiding, you’re likely to love Givenchy Teint Couture Balm , £29, while if you prefer a slightly more matte, yet still natural, finish, Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tints will be hitting our shores imminently. Non-dewy but not dead has been a challenge for since the dawn of time (well...makeup) and this quite honestly ups the ante for the semi-matte category. Finally, if tinted moisturisers and other light bases look slick on your skin and slide away by lunchtime, La Roche Posay Effaclar BB Blur , £11, helps to keep oil at bay, is non-comedogenic and will improve the texture and tone of the skin almost imperceptibly. Pigmentation wise it can’t rival a heavier foundation, and the shade range is limited, but it somehow manages to veil fine lines, obvious pores and small blemishes without either caking or giving your skin a fetching grey pallor (I’ve found this to be the case in the past with ‘blurring’ products).
A light diffusing concealer
You’ll notice that playing with the light is a big feature here; for skin to look raw (in a non painful way) and real, a smidgen of optical trickery comes in handy, and formulas that sink into the skin rather than sit on top of it make troubleshooting smooth, quick and easy. Wave bareMinerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer , £22, in the general vicinity of dark circles and more stubborn spots and they’ll recede with minor blending, staying incognito all day.
A believable blusher
As per the sporting allusions at shows such as Preen and MSGM, not to mention desert adventurer vibes at Rag & Bone and Alberta Ferretti, a dusky glow is definitely on the cards. Embrace 90s taupes and muted pinks but leave the strongly structured application out of the equation; a healthy flush, rather than razor sharp bone structure, is the end goal. The beige-pink MAC Powder Blush in Blushbaby , £18.50, does the job beautifully, and was buffed into the apples of models’ cheeks at Carolina Herrera and Zac Posen.
A natural (not nude) lip
Lips should look hydrated and full of life, rather than blotted out and ashen, and the best way to achieve this is with a top quality balm that shows off your natural colouring while conditioning at the same time. Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tint , £25, comes in at the same price as a premium lipstick, which may seem steep, but the lightly stained effect and softening, natural oil based formula is streets ahead of bog standard balms. The words ‘moist’ and ‘succulent’ make me shiver, but that’s essentially what’s going on here. As lipcare and lipstick bases go, it’s a good investment.
A brow rehab programme
There’s no getting around it; lived in brows bring low key looks into the future; too skinny and you’re a 90s throwback, too blocky and drawn on and you’re in the ‘try hard’ zone. Fake it until you make it with artful pencils, waxes, thickeners and powders, or a tint if you so please , but don’t forget to play the long game by taking care of them. Blink brow conditioning duo , £26, fills the skincare gap for eyebrows, with sweet almond oil to keep skin smooth and comfortable and rosemary to give hair growth a chivvy on, which is especially helpful if your brows are thinning with age.
The ‘All Edit
Using colour as an accessory, in the manner of one of those solo, statement earrings that are oh-so-popular at the moment , makes neon, primary and glitter incarnations not only infinitely more wearable, but also a bit edgy and less matchy matchy. Makeup as irreverent warpaint skirts trends and isn’t prescriptive, so anything goes, but focusing on one feature and combining creative colour with a ‘nothing’ base is a good place to start. Refreshingly colour and placement on the catwalk was more often than not tailored to models’ skintone, features and personality, with ‘All’ and ‘Nothing’ on display at both Burberry and Anthony Vaccarello in different guises; a new kind of variety show if you will, and about time too.
Watercolours are all very lovely, but if you really want to make an impact in the art department, loud pigment should be your medium. Paint the rainbow, or for sartorial kudos, splash on some bright blue. MAC Hi Def Cyan Pigment , £16, was overwhelmingly the backstage blue of choice; it was incarnated as liner at Monique Lhuillier, taken up to the brows at Missoni and manifested as very abstract artistry at Issey Miyake (‘an opening orchid’ was Alex Box’s inspiration).
A bright, offbeat lipstick
Instead of allowing yourself to be seduced by a classic scarlet, dip your toe in electric orange, brighter pink-reds or just something slightly off kilter. According to the glam squad at MAC, a red based lip is moving on from its ladylike connotations, and tweaking the formula ever so slightly means that you reap maximum mouthy rewards:
“What subtly updates a red lip for now is that they are easy and youth-based as opposed to grounded in grown-up glamour.”
MDM Flow V Dutch Lipstick , £18, is your ideal ‘statement’ weapon; a bright orange bullet with quirky roots (the shade is inspired by the national colour of the Netherlands; if that’s not niche I don’t know what is), it channels street style straight to your lips, while also remaining flattering on most skin colours.
A clutch of irregular false lashes
Neat, femme fatale-esque lash strips were noticeably absent from SS16 catwalks; lashes were amped up, but in unpredictable, tougher guises. From upside down application at Marni and Thomas Tait to clumpy, spiky, irregularly applied mascara at Daks and Sonia Rykiel, pretty flutters bowed out. For a less extreme, DIY version, be selective when using individual lashes, or load on MAC False Lashes Mascara , £19, combing until lashes go spidery or focusing on the middle or lower lashes in particular for a devil-may-care finish. This is possible one for the more extreme envelope pushes among you.
As product names go, Illamasqua’s The Corruptor, £20, launching 18th February, gives me the tingles, and far from being sinister, it gives you scope to transform the texture, finish and effect of almost any product, but is especially effective when employed to ‘dishevel’ eyeliner, add gloss to an intense powder shadow or smoke up and smudge liner to your heart’s delight. Created with Illamasqua’s creative director Alex Box to quite literally make you think outside the box, the clear nifty gel can be dabbed, brushed or dragged over everything from eye makeup to foundation, adding sheen, transparency and the kind of je ne sais quoi that you get from professional grade products. It fits perfectly with the individualistic ideals of SS16 runways, and if you’re partial to a ‘slept in’ look, you’ll be ‘corrupted’ in no time.
Pat McGrath Labs
If you can break into Pat’s likely Willy Wonka style labs at the dead of night on the sly, you might just get your hands on the kind of loud and proud makeup that sets imaginations, hearts and designer collections alight, before it sells out. Good luck and godspeed; this stuff is literal gold dust.
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