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Fall 2012 Color Preview: The Fantasy of Fall

The Pantone Fall 2012 Color Guide—This information was compiled from Pantone's Fall 2012 Fashion Color Report, which can be found at www.pantone.com. Pantone is a global company that standardizes the language of color. The Pantone Color Institute studies the psychological and physiological aspect of color and forecasts color needs.


  • Bright Chartreuse for Autumn

    Bright Chartreuse for Autumn

    Bright Chartreuse—a vivid yellow-green— pays homage to a typical spring shade and create a bridge into the cooler days of fall.

    Photo courtesy of makeup artist Donna Mee; photographer: David Nguyen; model: Aarika Wolf

    A model wears chartreuse eye shadow to display fall 2012 color trends
  • Total Titanium

    Total Titanium

    One of the hottest colors this fall season, Titanium, is featured with a soft smoky eye, and a natural cheek and lip color that doesn't compete with the stunning eyes.

    Photo courtesy of makeup artist Teresa Paquin; photographer: Maria Nicolet; model: Stephanie Gale; hair: Robyn Watson

    Smoky eyed-model
  • Autumnal Glow

    Autumnal Glow

    Pink Flambe combined with Honey Gold around the eyes offers warmth and heat in one vibrant fall look.

    Photo courtesy of makeup artist Donna Mee; photographer: DAvid Nguyen; model: Lauren Calaway

    Model with windblown air and autumnally hued eyes
  • Cool Look

    Cool Look

    Titanium can be used as an eyeliner or eye shadow, and can be layered over other colors for a smoky eye.

    Photo courtesy of makeup artist Donna Mee; photographer: Gary Lyons; model: Katarina Vargas

    Model with smoky eye makeup wearing a gray knit hat
  • Metallic Edges

    Metallic Edges

    "Smoked up with a dark metallized brown on the eyes, Ultramarine Green looks utterly enchanting and captivating," says Katz.

    Photo courtesy of makeup artist Donna Mee; photographer: Rob Polgar; hair: Eugene Conde; model: Korrina Rico

    Green and gold accentuate the eyes of a model
By: Sara Mason
Posted: August 31, 2012

This is an edited version of an article that originally ran in the September 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine. All rights reserved.

This fall, the Pantone color palette is about the magic of color. Fantasy and illusion are inspiring designers and makeup artists alike, with an unexpected mix of darks, brights and neutrals, cleverly manipulating reality into enchantment through fashion and cosmetics.

“Usually fall is limited to a few color palettes, but this fall runs the gamut,” says Michael Marcus, CEO of Michael Marcus Cosmetics. “Like a breath of fresh air, this fall is about finding your own individuality.” And color is what Michael Marcus Cosmetics is about. “We’ve always had bold colors in the line,” says Marcus. “It’s exciting to find the fashion world catching up with what we’ve always believed in.”

“One color ... that’s all it takes,” says celebrity makeup artist Kevin James (KJ) Bennett. “You can use these colors on eyes and cheeks—make it multipurpose if you want.” The popularity of multipurpose products has risen with the recession, allowing consumers to update their looks for fall while staying budget-conscious.


Skin is always in. “Well-cared for skin with a glow and a blot to keep down shine is always au courant,” says celebrity makeup artist Emily Katz. In winter, there is often more matting down of the skin with powder, but too much foundation and powder looks evident, and can age the look. “Strive for flawless-but-alive skin that is the perfect canvas for whatever color looks you may execute,” she says.

It’s important to educate yourself on skin color in order to share information with your customers. “Once they understand their own colorations, it makes it much easier for them to choose makeup that works,” says Katz.


Vivid and vibrant or mellow and muted, the eyes and lips are definitely drawing attention this fall. Bold, smoky eyes with long lashes this season continue to be an emphasis, often featuring bright jewel-toned shadows in colors ranging from purple to green. According to Marcus, the easiest way to wear bright colors is by using them all over the eye lid, hugging the lash line. On the fashion runways, this look is being demonstrated primarily with a naked lip that is flesh-toned or very nude. Paquin loves to play up the eyes, and make the vibrant colors wearable and age-defying for any woman.

“The colors are revolving around purple, browns and charcoal,” she explains. “I am seeing a really strong smoky eye with everything else neutral because the colors are so vivid.”

According to Katz, navy is a new neutral, providing yet another option for meeting customers’ needs. It works well as a sophisticated complement to the fall Pantone colors—particularly Titanium or Bright Chartreuse—as a liner or mascara.

Customers are also pairing a vibrant eye with paler lips. For those older than 20, Katz recommends some color on the lips. “Older consumers require some color on the mouth to enliven the skin; otherwise, it eradicates the lip colorations, which ages the face,” she explains.

The same goes for eyeliner. Although thicker, winged-out eyeliner is still on trend, how old the customer is dictates how bold she can be, according to Katz. Brows are very groomed, but full. “What’s inspiring me personally is the 1960s: an architectural brow with winged-out eyeliner,” enthuses Katz. “Beautiful!”


Bold lips with neutral bases are also great options this autumn. Lipstick can be one of the best buys for a seasonal change. Katz loves the smoky eye, but also prefers a look that’s sheer and almost naked—with a little bit of powder or tinted moisturizer on the rest of the face, paired with a deep lip. “The right color of lipstick literally will light up someone’s face,” she explains. “It will just make a client’s face glow from within.”

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