As the age-old saying goes, the eyes are the window to the makeup product trends of 2021. OK, we might have taken some creative liberties there, but the fact of the matter is the pandemic continues to impact several aspects of our lives, including the products we grab from our makeup bags on a daily basis.
Our lips and cheeks are cloaked under masks while out and about, so several of our favorite pre-COVID-19 products are going untouched while our eye makeup has never felt more appreciated — especially those vibrant, shimmery hues we typically shy away from in favor of bold lipstick and contoured cheeks. "These times have given people the opportunity to explore makeup and venture a bit outside the box because why not?" New York City-based makeup artist Rommy Najor tells Allure.
Beauty brands are definitely taking note of this as they plan their 2021 launches, and we, as well, as professional makeup artists, got a sneak peek at some and noticed some major makeup product trends happening. Here's what to look forward to stocking up on and playing around with in 2021.
Mask wear and sheltering in place have made us less attached to full-coverage foundations and more into letting our true skin texture shine. "We are going to see a departure from contouring and complexion products," predicts makeup artist Vincent Oquendo, who works with the likes of Naomi Osaka, Jurnee Smollett, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
As we focus more on our skin-care routines as a form of self-care, dewy skin tints are rising to the occasion. They're like 2021's iteration of tinted moisturizers and BB creams. With their glowing, barely-there finish, water-like texture, and nourishing ingredients, they are the ultimate cross between skin care and complexion products that we'll be seeking out in the new year, Oquendo says.
The L'Oréal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Moisturizer and Revlon ColorStay Light Cover Foundation just hit the market, but a handful of dewy skin tints from other drugstore brands (and prestige ones) are in the pipeline that we can't reveal just yet. Get ready to scoop up one inspired by a liquid highlighter and a revamped, refillable version of a beloved clean foundation.
However, if you prefer shine-free skin with a subtle glow, makeup artist Nick Barose forecasts finishing powders to take over for mattifying oily complexions. Like setting powders, they are transluscent but act as the last veil of blurring, setting, illuminating, and color correcting for your base makeup. Plus, they'll make sure your foundation doesn't rub off onto your mask.
The shade ranges of eyeliners have slowly but surely become more unconventional and veering away from traditional brown and black, but the adventurousness is sure to pick up in 2021, according to British makeup artist Mona Leanne. “I'm excited to switch up my usual black feline flick for something a bit cooler,” she adds.
Not only are eyeliner hues going to get brighter, but the formulas will also be longer-lasting, Oquendo predicts. "Products need to wear better because we are out in these streets, honey," he adds. "We can't be touching up our makeup because we're not supposed to be touching our faces." Expect more formulas like that of the brand-new Be A 10 Be Magnetic Eyeliner.
For those who are unsure of what eyeliner shades to gravitate toward, Los Angeles-based makeup artist Mai Quynh foresees people pairing primary colors with their masks. Barose, on the other hand, recommends stacking a fun color above black liquid liner for a two-toned look. “This is an easy way to go a bit extra but still sophisticated,” he explains. You can get a head start on these 2021 looks with Freck's Lid Lick and the Lethal Cosmetics SIDE FX Gel Liner.
Although they may seem intimidating, Oquendo points out embellishments, like gems, are just about the easiest way to go all out with your eye makeup in 2021. All you have to do is glue and go. He predicts we'll see a lot more kinds of appliqués with simple applications in the form of stamps while Quynh mentions foils.
Face Lace's elaborate sticker offerings are the ultimate introduction to this trend, and we have a feeling the brand is going to release even more dreamy options in the new year.
Another eye makeup innovation Oquendo anticipates is gentler mascaras. Several formulas with all-natural-yet-effective pigments are on the horizon. We also recently saw the debut of the CoverGirl Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara, which is free of irritants, like parabens, sulfates, talc, and mineral oil. Trust us when we say more clean mascara options like this one are on their way.
In the meantime, you can also check out Ilia's Limitless Lash Mascara, the Kosas The Big Clean Volumizing + Lash Care Mascara, and the W3LL People Expressionist Volumizing Mascara, which won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award.
In 2020, Pat McGrath Labs expanded the realm of metallic, prismatic shadows with Sextraterrestrial in the Divine Rose II palette. With a single swipe from that one pan, you can instantly create an absolutely memorizing (and foolproof) look. Several beauty brands are following suit to give us all more ways to embrace audacious eye makeup for our next Zoom call or grocery store run. A few new multi-chromatic shadows we have our eye on for 2021 are the Danessa Myricks Beauty Twin Flames and Ciaté London's Shadow Flip.
Najor loves sweeping one shimmering shade all over the lid and fading it upward toward the brow bone. His favorite product at the moment is the hypnotizing hues of Cosette Beauty's Crystal Cream Shadows.
We should all be fully aware by now that one shade of nude lipstick does not fit all. Beauty brands are finally taking note and dropping their most expansive ranges of neutral hues yet in 2021, so no one is left out.
The same sentiment applies to red lipstick. In January 2021, Poundcake Cosmetics is proving just that with five red lipsticks suit for every different lip tone. Yes, lip tone — not skin tone. You'll be able to pick a classic candy-apple red liquid lipstick based on the color of your lips, so the blend of pigments perfectly complements your complexion.
Wearing red lipstick may not seem like the most practical move for 2021, but, “You can wear your favorite bold lip color just for yourself," Barose reminds us. "It’s an instant pick me up.”
Just as skin-care products have become more streamlined —combining essence, toner, and moisturizer in one convenient bottle — makeup is taking the same shortcut in 2021. This new crop of products will be your go-to fast fixes for a last-minute Zoom call.
Some honorable mentions include base products that do it all. The Monika Blunder Beauty Blunder Cover just kicked things off with its clean foundation-concealer hybrid, but a drugstore brand is about to launch a transfer-resistant primer-foundation-concealer in 21 shades, too.
Also, with monochromatic being a standout makeup vibe for 2021, according to Najor, a roster of color sticks are on their way. They aren't your standard multipurpose sticks, like the iconic Multiple from Nars, or even a lip-and-cheek balm. Instead, they're fun pigments in unexpected, new textures that can be drawn onto your lids, cheeks, and lips à la the Best of Beauty Award-winning Live Tinted Huesticks. (Allure's editorial assistant Gabi Thorne even color corrects with the pumpkin shade, Rise.)
Mona Leanne can't wait to reach for this 2021 product innovation because they “allow me to be experimental and free thinking with my work,” she explains. “The new Byredo Colour Sticks are an incredible product for exactly that, as they have no rules and can be applied absolutely anywhere on the face, which I love.”
The Axiology Balmies also just hit shelves at Ulta Beauty, but those sustainable crayon-like sticks are just the beginning of the color innovations were about to see in the new year.
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