Although the weather outside is starting to cool down, the makeup world’s autumn color trends are just beginning to sizzle. The onset of fall’s crisp weather doesn’t just mean color changes for leaves—deep, dramatic cosmetic hues are popping up just as summer is winding down.
“Being as it’s fall, you get colors reflecting the season’s change,” says Darrell Redleaf, celebrity beauty expert. “They are much cozier and are showing more golds and coppers. They’re warm and toasty as we wind into the holidays.”
And even with sleeves getting longer and strappy sandals getting packed away for another year, the colder weather doesn’t mean less fashion fun. Rich hues can easily spice up a cold weather wardrobe, and color for the face is equally enchanting, setting up for an elegant, vibrant season.
“There is an interesting combination of colors, such as chili pepper red, which suggests a multicultural influence this season,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of More Alive With Color (Capital Books, 2006). And due to this influence, autumn’s hot hues for the eyes, lips and complexion include a mix ranging from charcoal gray, midnight sky blue and gray-green to rich red, dusty rose and deep purple wine.
Giving the season’s colors an extra bit of flare is a touch of metallic glimmer. “Metallics and grays in various colors—silver, pewter, even into bronze and copper—are very popular for fall,” says Todd Taubman-Walker, professional makeup artist and national educator with Iredale Mineral Cosmetics. “A lot of these are shades almost anyone can wear, and they have accents with lots of shine.”
Where There’s Smoke …
Mirroring the dramatic change in the season’s weather, a dark, smoky, smudged look is popular for the eye this autumn. This makeup technique, typically done with blacks and deep grays to help draw attention toward the eyes, is surprisingly versatile this season, allowing for a range of shades to be used. “The sexy, smoky-eyed look can include copper, blue and green, and has a gray, slightly glittery look,” says Eiseman.
This look can be achieved by starting off with a velvety soft, smooth light brown base shade, then selecting a darker, bolder, shimmery hue in blue, green, purple, brown, gray or black to highlight the upper lid. A liner made of the same eye shadow shade mixed with water can bring the color below the eyes, along the lash line, giving a definitive, intense outline. The dark makeup makes the whites of the eyes appear bright and gives the iris color a lift as well.
And for those who are seeking something lighter than the traditional black coloring, the other options help greatly. “The metallic, smoky eye shadows are fun, but can be hard to wear if you’re not a young starlet,” says Alphonse Wiebelt, makeup artist, and co-founder and vice president of development and education for TRUE Cosmetics. “Hues in purple or rich topaz help create the smoky eye without the weight or harshness. The softer, earthier metallic shades can be worn by any woman, any age.” Taubman-Walker also recommends easing up on the look’s smudged edges for a cleaner, simpler take on the sexy technique.
For those seeking to sidestep this look altogether, nature’s influence brings organic shades to the eyes this season, as well. Toned-down teals and tan-tinged gray-greens with the smallest hint of sheen offer subtle alternatives for the eye to achieve a simplistic grace. Bronzed browns and rich pinks also can be applied for an appealing look. “Eye quads and shadows in browns and russets are big,” says Redleaf.
Whether you decide to go with dramatic smoky coloring or laid-back earth tones, Wiebelt says finishing touches such as well-shaped eyebrows and simple coats of black mascara on curled eyelashes are perfect for this autumn’s eyes.
A Kiss of Color
Not to be outdone, the lips are also featuring vibrant, bold looks this fall. The season’s deep hues can easily be suited to coordinate with the powerful eye cosmetics, and a heavier look helps give lips added weight. “Because gray is going to be dominating the eyes this fall, some of the only bright color you’ll see is on the lips—red, anywhere from crimson to a deep ox blood,” says Taubman-Walker.
Deep plum and wine shades are also gracing the mouth, giving lips a lush, berry-stained look. Additionally, Eiseman says, there is a heavy mica influence in hues, creating a very painted-on lip with super sparkle. “Trends in deep currants, plums and reds are growing in lips,” says Wiebelt. He adds, “The fall is seeing the return of the lipstick. With the weight of fall clothing, you need the weight of lipstick for balance.” To get the right technique for a dark, pretty pout, begin by applying lip liner in a shade close to the lipstick color. This gives the mouth definition and helps set it off from the rest of the face. However, be careful not to go overboard on the liner, creating the dreaded “ring around the mouth.” A light, easy touch creates a great frame. Liner can also be used to fill in the lips for continuous color. Lipstick should then be applied with a firm hand, creating a full, plump appearance. A slight glisten of gloss can be applied for extra effect, and focusing a bit of shimmer on the middle of the lower lip adds a sensual touch.
If you’re looking to create a sharper contrast with the eyes through the coloring of the mouth, however, a nude, glossy lip is also a popular way to go this fall. Shades of extra pale pink or even a light khaki provide a minimalist look, while gloss helps them not completely fade into the rest of the face. Again with this lighter coloring, an easy, light touch should be utilized when applying a very soft shade of lip liner to give a definitive edge. Blend it well into the lips, then fill in with color to help create a look of fullness. Gloss, applied on top of the lip color, should give the mouth a wet sheen with a hint of bronzed glimmer.
With a bright pop of color, the lips can help balance the dramatic eyes and definitely draw their own attention. The variation of lip colors for fall—a bright, vibrant red; a deep, berry-stained purple; or an ultra-shiny nude—do need to be matched with the eye makeup, however. Both Redleaf and Wiebelt recommend making sure both of the face’s dominant features are wearing colors that are part of the same scheme. Don’t mix cool blues and greens with warm reds and russets. If one color is dominant in either the eye or mouth, a shade in a similar palette or a monochromatic is best.
Allowing the rich, elegant shades of the mouth and eyes to provide their best and brightest color this season, the complexion is being downplayed for the autumn look. “In the fall, people have lost some color, some of their tan, so a bit more can be added to the face through makeup,” says Eiseman.
A paler, softer, barely blushing complexion is best in letting the darker shades of the face pop. “With more color on the eyes and lips, cheeks should be kept more neutral, yet coordinated with undertones to the eyes and cheeks,” says Wiebelt.
The simple, unadorned complexion helps gives a sculptural, translucent quality, resulting in sophistication and grace. To create this look, only simple shades of very light blush in warm golds and soft pinks with silvery sheens should be applied to the cheekbones for height and definition. A reflective powder can be added along highlight points, such as the cheekbones, to provide a luminous quality.
For a more attention-grabbing cheek color, the cooler weather can also inspire a rich, flushed look. In an application with more neutral shades on the eyes and mouth, a blush in a sangria hue, creamy rose or brickish russet can be dabbed onto the apples of the cheeks and swept back toward the temples for a fresh-from-the-outdoors appearance. However, an easy touch is recommended.
Redleaf suggests using the pad of the ring finger for a light, fine application, and Taubman-Walker says, “Cheeks should be understated. Complexion is going back to a matte look—soft, pretty, natural.” Blush should primarily be used to give definition.
And skin should be well-prepared in order to get the greatest effect of the makeup. Freshly cleansed skin accepts cosmetics well, and complexions look best when they are well-hydrated, so moisturizer should be incorporated into skin care routines. Also, extra steps may need to be taken in order to create the best facial skin for this season’s colors. “With the more matte look, there is definitely a need to prepare the skin with proper exfoliation, or it can look dull,” says Taubman-Walker.
Go Your Own Way
Even with the myriad of bold, brilliant hues begging for attention this fall, it is always important to remember that color should be customized for each individual. Factors such as age and eye, hair and skin color, as well as personal style, should all be considered when applying makeup of any shade or hue, no matter the season or trend.
For example, even though some of the season’s darker colors can be extreme, there are ways for everyone to wear them. “Women who are more mature can still go with the same tones, just scaled back for a demure look with a softer edge,” says Taubman-Walker. “The eyes may not be as smudged, but these women still look great in the red lipstick.”
Often it just takes bit of advice from a professional for a woman to hit upon her signature colors. “A woman will generally keep the same style of makeup her whole life until an artist or someone intervenes to help her revamp it,” says Redleaf. Work with clients to discover their likes and dislikes in cosmetics, as well as how much time their schedule allows for creating their look. “Multipurpose items such as doubled-sided eye pencils are great. They add convenience and versatility,” suggests Redleaf.
Personal makeup preferences should also be matched with personal coloring, especially the eyes, hair and skin. “The dark shades on paler skin can look harsh,” says Taubman-Walker.
Wiebelt adds, “Fresh color is great, color that is not muddied with a lot of brown or gray pigments. For fair skin, tans and taupes can wash you out, and for darker skin, the deeper colors can start to look monochromatic. You should go with a look that is complementary, or opposite, to your natural color with tonality and touches of shimmer for added dimension.”
To further the idea of getting the most from makeup hues, Wiebelt also suggests, “Coordinate, enhance and define the features, and choose colors that you feel most comfortable with. Play up one feature in particular, or, at the most, two.”
Making makeup your own is really what completes a good look. If you are uncomfortable in the makeup, it will likely show. However, that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of the rich, vibrant colors this season has to offer. From the deep, sensual look of the smoky eye to the brilliant, bold hue of the red lips to the pale, sculptural aspect of the complexion, makeup is there to enhance beauty, not hide it, and a proper application will do just that.