The best makeup trends you’ll be trying in 2021

What are the best makeup trends you’ll be trying in 2021? For us early 2000s queens, the first makeup trends we really took part in consisted of super narrow eyebrows, chunky eye glitter, and unmistakably sticky lip gloss. The look was playful, a smidge tacky, and all the rage, so we were obsessed. But cut to a couple years later, and the popular makeup trends were heavily contoured skin, clean-cut eyebrows, and a wing-tipped eyeliner sharper than a knife.

Makeup trends have continued to evolve with time, and it seems like many of the looks that we gravitate towards reflect where we are as a society. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the makeup trends that you’ll be trying in 2021 will be dewy skin, untamed brows, and natural lashes. Given that many of us barely left our houses in 2020, a move closer to the “no makeup” look makes a lot of sense.

So if you’re looking to update your makeup bag, prioritize your Sephora spending, and stay up-to-date with the latest in makeup trends, look no further. Here are the best makeup trends you’ll be trying in 2021.

Dewy skin will be in, so focus on your skin care in 2021

This is good news for all us skin care lovers: natural skin will be the thing in 2021. Given that many of us haven’t put on a full face of makeup in months, this is great. According to Harper’s Bazaar, the natural skin look was all the rage at the spring 2021 fashion shows, where models could be seen with “subtly perfected skin and relaxed eyeshadow.” YSL’s beauty national makeup artist, Nour Agha, explained that the “shift to effortless makeup” will be the trend in the new year, and honestly, thank god. 

Designers including Victoria Beckham and Jason Wu featured looks complemented by the perfect, glowing skin that we all aspire to have, setting the stage for the makeup trend. Worried that your skin needs a new skincare routine? Try clean products like this gentle face cleanser from First Aid, and a Vitamin C serum — like this one from Origins — that will help with brightness and scarring. Staying home is giving us the perfect opportunity to improve our skin anyway, and just in time, given that this trend will be one of the best in 2021.

The reimagined cat eye makeup trend will be big in 2021

A cat eye has been a staple trend in the makeup world for decades, and rightly so. If done well, it looks effortless, chic, and sophisticated. But the cat eye has been done so many times that it was in need of a reboot. Thanks to iconic makeup artist Pat McGrath, the look has been completely revamped. 

During the Paco Rabanne spring 2021 show, the redefined cat eye was all the rage — though instead of the sharp and highly-pigmented trend we’re used to, the new look featured blurred lines, giving off a subtle yet rocker chic vibe, as noted by Marie Claire

So why has the cat eye stuck around for so long? Well according to Vogue, it dates back to Ancient Egypt, as legendary ruler Cleopatra would wrap dark liner around her eye. The reason?  “Eyeliner was a form of protection from the evil eye just as much as it was a beauty statement.” So take it from Vogue – practice your eyeliner skills and try out this new cat eye trend for 2021 to protect you from the evils of the world.

Lash extensions will be one of the best makeup trends in 2021

It’s probably safe to say that most of us makeup gurus have been looking for the perfect mascara since the dawn of time. But thanks to the best makeup trends coming up in 2021, our search may be coming to an end; natural lashes are the next big thing, thanks in part to the dewy skin look that’s taking hold. YSL’s beauty national makeup artist, Nour Agha, told Harper’s Bazaar that the “no-makeup, natural glam” trend is only going to get more hot, with one specific, permanent makeup option taking hold — eyelash extensions. 

Instead of opting for the clumpy mascara look of the early 2000s, or the dramatic addition of false eyelashes, “fluttery lashes” with a more natural finish will be all the rage. The option will complement the natural skin look nicely, Agha said, and will keep the overall aesthetic of the 2021 makeup trends “clean and sweet.” 

Agha also predicts that eyeliner and a touch of mascara will continue to be a constant in everyone’s makeup routine, but be prepared to invest in some eyelash extensions before the new year.

In 2021, the Parisian look will be one of the best makeup trends

The Parisian look has always had a place in the world of makeup trends — we’ve all tried to master the red lipstick and the effortless cat eye. Thanks to the Hermès spring 2021 runway show, the makeup look might be its best yet, thanks to less eye makeup, less foundation, and a heavier focus on the lips. 

Think about this scenario as you get ready for the day — instead of spending half an hour on foundation and contouring, you instead throw on a BB cream and a hint of mascara. Then, spend the rest of your time in front of the mirror perfecting an effortless red lip. Don’t think that your lips have to look like Kylie Jenner’s either — the Hermès model’s look was casual and dewy, which is attainable for us all. 

According to Vogue, French makeup artist Violette said that red lips are a “beauty accessory,” and are best when worn without much else on the face. So pair that look with a pair of your favorite jeans and a t-shirt, and you’ll be the trendiest person in the room.

This seemingly easy makeup trend will challenge your at-home skills in 2021

Given that the summer of 2020 consisted more of staying indoors and entertaining ourselves rather than going to the beach in Cabo, it’s no wonder that our skin is looking a little pasty. And it’s clear that designers and makeup artists have picked up on that, because the makeup trend of rosy cheeks is taking hold, and will be one of the best in 2021. 

According to Vogue, makeup artist Romy Soleimani said that dewy, color-popped cheeks will be the latest look for face makeup in the new year. But instead of a powder blush that typically dries out the skin, Soleimani said that a creamy rouge will be the way to go. “[It gives you] the most natural, non-cosmetic effect, adding an awoken quality to the skin,” she said. Honestly? We needed to hear that, because 2020 has robbed us of both sleep and sunlight — and rouge might be just the thing we need. That’s why everyone should be using blush!

Soleimani also recommended using rouge as an alternative to contouring, as it will still sculpt the face, but will give your skin a more natural look.

You'll want to thank the resurgence of rock for '80s lips coming back in 2021

Thanks to the minds of great makeup artists, the ’80s bold lip is coming back in a big way in 2021. Despite wearing a mask, you’ll still be able to rock this look at home, or distanced among friends — and we’re 100 percent ready for it. YSL’s beauty national makeup artist, Nour Agha, told Harper’s Bazaar that even though nude shades will be the biggest lip trend in 2021, “there will also be a mixture of bright and bold shades.” 

The resurgence of the ’80s bold lip is thanks to the bright pink, glossy finished lips at the Tom Ford 2021 show, and should be celebrated. Additionally, the return of this makeup trend that was initially made iconic among the likes of David Bowie can be credited to rockers like Miley Cyrus — who’s undergone a stunning transformation — and who’s once again pushing the envelope of music, fashion, and makeup aesthetics (via PopSugar).

Bold colors will be one of 2021's best makeup trends

When it comes to makeup, bold colors are often known to exist solely in eyeshadow pallets. When you think Kylie Jenner’s eyeshadow looks or James Charles’ insane eyeshadow pallet, it seems like color really only belongs on our eyelids and nowhere else. But thanks to the ingenious mind of designer Kunihiko Morinaga, 2021 will bring bold, unusual coloring to our lips, thanks to his 2021 spring collection. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Morinaga had to present his show remotely — but the situation led him to create a gorgeous display of fashion and makeup against the backdrop of Mt. Fuji, as noted by Vogue. The setting, the clothes, and the makeup really just screamed forward-thinking, and we noticed. The fashion world noticed too, as the look was subsequently seen on catwalks around the world, including Copenhagen Fashion Week. 

So for 2021, trade out that tired, dusty pink lipstick and go for a bright blue or green on your lips. The look will certainly turn heads — and before you say “I could never pull that off,” just remember that it’s confidence that serves trend-setting looks.

In 2021, cartoon-inspired eye makeup will be one of the best makeup trends

When we think of bold, cartoon-inspired eye makeup, the first person who comes to mind is Twiggy. Known for her large, animated eyes and distinct mascara/eyeliner look, Twiggy became synonymous with bold eye makeup. But as trends have evolved, so too has cartoon-inspired eye makeup, and 2021 will bring the latest mix-up to the forefront. 

According to Marie Claire, makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench was the creative vision behind the animated eye look that dominated the Giambattista Valli 2021 fashion show, which added such a huge dimension to the overall aesthetic. A similar eyeliner look was also sported by models during Paris Fashion Week. 

So if you’re handy with the eyeliner and are down to experiment with this bold eye design, listen up: you’ll want a trusted black eye pencil, a lot of makeup wipes for your eyeliner mistakes, and most likely a pigmented black eyeshadow to create the look. Opt for simple lips and natural skin, as the eye design should be what stands out. This reimagined look will definitely be one of the best makeup trends in 2021!

Campy, androgynous makeup trends will be at the forefront in 2021

Designer Giambattista Valli not only included daring eyeliner looks into his spring 2021 collection, but working with makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench, the makeup trends he served up verged into the androgynous arena — and we’re completely here for it. Valli told Vogue that the aesthetic he created was a result of “introspection,” and that he was mindful of “taking care of one’s soul and psyche” while putting together the looks. 

Valli wasn’t the only designer with gender non-conforming looks in mind; Prada opted for very androgynous outfits on their 2021 catwalk. According to Vogue, they also incorporated very simple makeup looks in their collection. Additionally, makeup artist Pat McGrath opted for perfecting foundation and a hint of taupe eyeshadow for the designer label’s look. 

If you want to adopt this makeup trend for the coming year, you’ll want to think less is more. Select a foundation with a matte finish, use concealer only when necessary, and give your brows a sculpted look. The lines of masculine and feminine makeup looks are only merging, so this trend definitely the best of 2021.

Dark lips and smokey eyes will be making a comeback in 2021

The goth era was truly one for the books, so lovers of dark eye makeup and lips to match will be happy to know that 2021 is heralding a resurgence of the look. Thanks in part to designer Olivier Theyskens and makeup artist Jenneke Croubels, Theyskens’s 2021 collection featured a whole slew of goth-inspired makeup looks, including dark lipstick hues, smokey eyes, and gothic clothing to match. As noted by Vogue, the collection itself consisted of bodices, long skirts, and Madonna-inspired costume pieces from the ’80s. 

Additionally, the era of COVID-19 prompted many creators to draw inspiration from the fashion eras that originally sparked their passions, and Theyskens was no exception. The looks were daring, the makeup was bold, and as a result, goth makeup is one of the best trends of 2021.

Wanting to go for the goth look? You’ll need a great black eye pencil like this one from Smashbox and a dark hued eyeshadow pallet like this one from Pat McGrath Labs. If natural isn’t really your vibe, this trend might be the best for you in 2021.

In 2021, the split eyebrow will be one of the best makeup trends

What do teenagers do when there’s nothing to do? Make daring, permanent decisions with their aesthetic, of course. That can come in the form of a tattoo, a new piercing, or shaving their head (as we’ve seen a lot of teenage girls do on TikTok). Indeed, idle time made some fashion and makeup trends stand out in 2020. But none have been more consequential to late 2020 than the eyebrow slit, which gained popularity that will only carry through to 2021. 

Eyebrow trends are known for evolving in the makeup world, and this semi-permanent change has a lot of people excited. It’s edgy, unexpected, and surprising — we can’t help but feel that a lot of teens shocked their reserved parents with the boldness that the trend brings. 

But according to Buzzfeed, eyebrow slits have been around for a long time. Coming onto the scene during the hip-hop era, eyebrow slits are indicative of a rebellious youth culture. So as far as 2021 is concerned, the timing of this trend coming back into the spotlight couldn’t be better.

Euphoria made this makeup trend one of the best in 2021

The makeup queens of the early 2000s know that chunky glitter was all the rage back then. And luckily for us, the makeup trend has come back in a much more refined way, in part due to the success of the HBO show Euphoria. Doniella Davy, Euphoria’s makeup department head, told The Hollywood Reporter that she drew inspiration for the show’s makeup looks from Gen Z social media account, and makeup icons like Twiggy. “Gen Z is completely redefining what makeup can and should be used to do, by embracing a total freedom in expression and defying beauty and makeup norms,” she proclaimed. “I love seeing how these young artists and humans are flipping the whole idea of beauty and makeup on its ass.” 

The bold, glittery looks were on full display during all of the 2021 fashion weeks, with designers including Etam opting for a stunning, sparkling eye look. So bust out your wallet and head over to your local craft store, because glitter, sequins, and sparkle (with a hint of moodiness, courtesy of Euphoria’s characters) will be one of the best makeup trends in 2021.

Untamed brows will be your new best friend in 2021

Let’s be honest, things kind of went down hill in 2020 — including some of our self-care habits, grooming schedules, and lipstick routines. But honestly, designers may have picked up on this, because untamed brows will be a makeup trend in 2021. That’s good news for those of us who haven’t been able to get our eyebrows threaded since March of 2020. 

According to Elle, designers like Bluemarine opted for their models to have a very wild, untamed brow look on the 2021 fashion runways — and we’re kind of here for it. Think Frida Kahlo meets glam, and that’s the look that they went for. 

Makeup artist Isamaya French shared a very similar untamed brow look she did on herself on her Instagram page as well, solidifying that big brows will be one of the best makeup trends in 2021. So don’t worry if you can’t make it to that eyebrow appointment, or think that your natural eyebrow shape is too crazy for this world. Help bring this trend to the forefront, and you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks to face masks, this will be a makeup trend in 2021

Wearing face masks to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 is the new normal, and makeup trends have changed to accommodate it. Some people are just putting makeup on the top halves of their faces, while others are focusing strictly on eye makeup — and some are saying goodbye to makeup altogether. 

But if you’re looking for a way to keep your makeup look on point, follow the lead of designer Anna Sui and go for this look she put together. In her 2021 collection, the models had small, delicate floral designs painted around their temple and forehead area, as well as around their eyes. The subtle brush work turned out beautifully, and since a lot of us have more time on our hands than ever before, you can definitely practice your skills before rocking this new makeup trend.

All in all, 2021 is about being bold in your looks and embodying the confidence to pull off a blue lipstick, an untamed brow, or a face painting. It’ll be the year to push the envelope in a way that hasn’t been done before, so just go for it!

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