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4 Look-at-Me Palettes for Spring/Summer 2017

Contact Author Leslie Harrington Ph.D., Executive Director of the Color Association of the United States, and Kelly A. Dobos M.S., Cosmetics Technical Manager at Sun Chemical Performance Pigments
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Women are beginning to feel comfortable experimenting with a brighter palette for their cosmetics, thus color continues to be top of mind in the beauty industry. As a result, the Color Association of the United States expects to see high-intensity hues adorning lids and lips in spring/summer 2017, with a “look-at-me” approach. (Read our Fall/Winter 2015-16 color trend report here.)

Palette 1: Feminine, with an Edge

As women continue to soar in all professional fields, an overriding message has become clear—women today are powerful, unapologetic and in control. These trailblazing women are definitive about what they want and are not afraid to show it off to the world. As such, the color palette has evolved to retain a feminine quality, but with an edge, a look we’re calling eFEMeral.

The emergence of this trend was evident in the literal splashes of color around the eyes of models for Issey Miyake and the rainbow rimmed eyes at Manish Arora’s spring 2016 collections.

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eFEMeral is defined by smoky undertones that add sophistication to pastel tints. There is an undercurrent of nostalgia with a nod to ’50s shades—a reminder of a time when women did not have the same freedoms as today. eFEMeral also encompasses a palette of retro-modern hues—pretty with a (dirty) edge—in which pinks evolve into warm corals and red-based purples provide a pop.

SunSHINE synthetic micas (INCI: fluorophlogophite) in shades of Silver Dust, Royal Violet and Imperial Green allow for a palette of colors for eye shadows and provide a complement to the pink and warm coral lip color. SunSHINE Midnight Silver can also provide a unique twist for a unique take on the smoky eye.

Palette 2: Night Crawler

Women are eager to take more risks and so have embraced bold lips, energetic eyes and a rainbow assortment of nails for big nights out on the town. Inspired by colorful evening looks, saturated styles have started to creep into daytime. Unafraid to be noticed, the modern woman is confident enough to call attention to herself, including her cosmetics.

Dark lips have started to make an appearance at brunch and in the workplace, paving the way for more night-to-day crossover looks. Traditional après sundown smoky eyes now move into the daylight, creating dramatic focal points on the face. Light neutrals are added to soften the sharpness of dark hues and cool tones to help relax and transition from daylight to nightlight. Butter yellow provides an accent like a morning sunrise or evening sunset.

Makeup becomes an outlet for the rustic finishes created by natural materials, referencing nature’s debris—from churned clay to rocky, weathered gravel.

Proving the color isn’t just for colder months, Miu Miu recently featured a moody, deep purple lip stain on Paris runways. Libertine Spring 2016 featured nails with bright, wild patterns, and Daniel Silverstain’s models sported reflective, metallic silver nails with pops of bold yellow at New York Fashion Week.

The bold hues in the INTENZA* line of pigments, for example, allow formulators to achieve these bright, bold colors. Two recent additions to the line, alumina-based Poppy Red and Blue Hyacinth, can be combined to create the perfect matte shade of deep purple lip color.

Palette 3: Natural Rugged

It comes as no surprise that our natural environment continues to inspire. Currently, those surroundings are in a less-than-perfect state, from water to air to food supplies. As such, focus has shifted to the rugged, exposed side of nature.

This palette takes inspiration from the impact brought about by “aftermath,” be it from drought, flood or earthquake. Exposed earth and sediment produce a striking mix of colors.

Makeup becomes an outlet for the rustic finishes created by natural materials, referencing nature’s debris—from churned clay to rocky, weathered gravel. Unexpected color pairings of honey, clay and citron create a modern palette anchored in nature with classic white and charcoal to balance the more trend-forward hues.

Cosmetics gain a sense of humor this season, with a palette of candy-coated colors. As Generation Z enters the market with some serious purchasing power, its influence is felt across the category.

Makeup artist Jeanine Lobell played with bright green shadow with a hint of yellow to brighten the inner corners of the eye for Diane Von Furtsenberg’s latest spring collection, while looks at Ellie Saab featured a play on the smoky eye with a pop of yellowy-green on the center of the lid. SunSHINE Summer Green and INTENZA Firefly effect pigments provide shades that match these looks.

The use of pale and darker nude shades in lipstick continues to surge as contouring, spurred by trendsetter Kylie Jenner, now plays out on the lips to make them appear larger and fuller. Continued experimentation with texture also comes into play as matte finishes continue trending. SunCROMA and SunPURO Iron Oxides can help bring these muted shades to life.

Palette 4: Sugar-coated

Cosmetics gain a sense of humor this season, with a palette of candy-coated colors. As Generation Z enters the market with some serious purchasing power, its influence is felt across the category. This youthful segment gravitates to bright, light-hearted tones, which serve as a possible antidote to the damaged world they will inherit. This trend signals a shift toward an anti-austerity aesthetic.

Explosive, seemingly psychedelic colors provide an offbeat trend, encouraging artistic and creative experimentation in makeup and creating a theatrical representation of the individual. Exaggerated makeup in rainbow hues emphasizes a less than serious outlook and brings the fun back to beauty. Bright hues are used in combination with one another, or singularly for a more subtle effect.

The emergence of this trend was evident in the literal splashes of color around the eyes of models for Issey Miyake and the rainbow rimmed eyes at Manish Arora’s spring 2016 collections. INTENZA effect pigments exemplify this eye-popping color trend with intense shades like Aqua Splash, Nitro Pink and Electric Coral. 

Leslie Harrington Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Color Association of the United States. Kelly A. Dobos M.S. is the Cosmetics Technical Manager at Sun Chemical Performance Pigments; kelly.​dobos AT ​sunchemical.​com.

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