The face of 2011 isn’t shy. Colorful lips, bright or smoky eyes, and hues that never occurred in nature were everywhere on Fall/Winter runways. Unlike past bold-makeup trends, though, the modern face is also practical; a sweep of chartreuse eyeshadow may not be appropriate for a suited-up CEO, but the monochromatic concept is definitely one worth stealing.
Wispy, heavily plucked brows worked fine for the fresh-scrubbed minimalist faces populating runways a couple of years ago, but a new emphasis on eyes means defined brows to go with them. Think of Mad Men’s Joan Holloway, though, and not full-on Joan Crawford; the 2011 trend for brows is refined and defined, not drawn-on. Naturally thick brows need only minor shaping, but thinner brows benefit from a brow kit to add definition. Good brow kits are easy to find in any price range from drugstore staple Wet ‘N’ Wild to high-end icon Chanel.
Fendi, Prada, and Christian Dior all showcased models wearing bold autumnal eye colors. What makes the look fresh for 2011 is its purity–only one shade per look. Similar to a classic smoky eye, variation comes not from multiple hues on the lid, but from expert application. Maroons, taupes, and fawn-like browns lean more toward a day face or office-appropriate style, but don’t shy away from teals, deep blues, and even sunset hues of bright orange and coral for evening. These bold bright shades work best with classic black eyeliner; when your shadow is this vivid, basic black lets it take the spotlight as it should.
Emphasis on Inner Eyelids
From a hit of highlighter just at the inner corner of the eye to heavily drawn triangles of color just below the inner eyebrow area, playing up the surfaces of the eyelids nearest the nose looks coolly contemporary. It’s a surprisingly versatile technique for visually widening the eyes or drawing them closer together. If your eyes are wide-set, using light metallics on your inner eyelids will make them look even wider apart and emphasize their doe-like quality. Darker shadow smudged under the inner brows de-emphasizes widely-spaced eyes.
This look translates well to more mature faces, too, but be careful with sparkly highlighters. When applying anything with shimmer on the inner corners of your eyelids, keep a tissue under your eye to avoid sparkle falling on your under-eye area where it can highlight surface variations you may prefer to downplay.
Light or Nonexistent Blush
Barely-there blush in natural shades was the rule on almost every runway; 2011 looks like it’s going to be all about the eyes and lips. Sheer gel and matte cream blushes that impart a natural-looking flush rather than sparkly disco-ball cheeks look to be the go-to items for early 2011.
The love affair with look-at-me lipsticks seems as torrid as ever in next year’s collections. Wine, coral, fuchsia, poppy, classic red–whatever your favorite shade, it’s huge right now as long as it’s bold. One color that made a splash was the Peter Som’s deep, almost blacked-out violets. Not everyone can pull off such a dramatic look, but opting for a sheer violet-tinged red is a wearable translation.
Bright colors not for you? Take heart–brights are huge for 2011, but super-neutral lips also had a strong showing. At Chanel’s and Prada’s Fall/Winter 2011 show, models appeared to be wearing little more than lip balm. Don’t assume that neutral lips mean a conservative look, though. A softer, more neutral mouth paired with bold eyes plays well into both the retro trend (think Twiggy) and the mania for anime styles.