Early-morning workouts notwithstanding, faded makeup and unkempt hair are usually more closely associated with sluggishness than sex appeal. But at the spring 2006 shows in New York, Milan, and Paris, underdone beauty made a memorable appearance on virtually every runway. The effect: a confident, self-assured woman whose seeming spontaneity only adds to her allure. Fortunately, this season’s take on au natural isn’t for flawlessly skinned supermodels only; the following ten trends are sprinkled with enough flattering twists that any woman can pull them off with aplomb.
In the Nude
Underscoring fashion’s return to minimalism, spring makeup was decidedly more discreet than any we’d seen for seasons. “The goal is to create an ‘is she or isn’t she?’ look,” says makeup artist Viviane Hidalgo of Miami’s Primal Studio. “For most women, that means using a concealer, a primer, and a moisturizer mixed with foundation to achieve good coverage.” In real life, a look completely devoid of color can run the risk of looking deadly, so Hidalgo urges women to use a subtle shade to emphasize their best feature. “If you’ve got great eyes, for example, add a little definition in the corner,” she suggests.
On the Runway: At Chloé, models wore only a smidge of liner along the top lash line; at Balenciaga, freshly scrubbed faces were enhanced with hints of carefully chosen color; and at BCBG Max Azria and Christian Dior, makeup was barely there at all.
Best Bets: Maybelline New York Revitalizing Concealer, Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation, Olay Complete Moisturizer, M.A.C. Prep + Prime Skin
Each season seems to spawn a signature hairstyle, and for spring, braids were the models’ crowning glory. If you haven’t worn them since the sixth grade, however, you may want to look before you leap. “It’s a very young look,” says Kim Lépine of the Lépine New York salon. “If you’re young and funky, you should do them everywhere, allover,” she recommends. For older or more sophisticated ladies, Lépine suggests “a single braid toward the back of the head as an elegant detail for a bun or an updo.”
On the Runway: Funky cornrows ruled the L.A.M.B. runways; at Rochas, hair was plaited into skinny, princess-worthy halos; Viktor & Rolf’s stylists opted for ropey, oversize versions; and at Calvin Klein, strands were swept into a single loose, low-maintenance braid.
Best Bets: Goody Exquisite Rat Tail Comb, Mason-Pearson Brush, Biosilk Silk Therapy, Sebastian Shaper Hairspray
In a season of understatement, some makeup artists relied on ruby lips to add a dose of drama–a classic, glamorous look that makeup artist Troy Surratt loves. “A bold, sexy red lip is especially perfect for winter,” he maintains. What’s more, “you don’t need to be scared of it. If you’re using a red lip, just remember to play down the rest of your face.”
On the Runway: Lips were a matte cherry at Alessandro Dell’Acqua, a glossy rich scarlet at Costume National, and a warmer tomato shade at Emanuel Ungaro.
Best Bets: Maybelline New York Moisture Extreme in Royal Red, Chanel Le Crayon Gloss in Grenadine, Urban Decay Pleather Pencil in Kink, Nars Lipstick in Heat Wave
Sparkly shadows in shades of gold, silver, and bronze made a strong showing on virtually every runway. According to Surratt, “shimmer can play up anyone’s eyes, and golden shades tend to be the most flattering.” The key, he emphasizes, is dolling out the dazzle in small doses: “Be sure to keep the shadow on the lid, and use only a tiny bit to highlight your brow bone.”
On the Runway: At Alberta Ferretti, golden shadows highlighted the eyes’ inner corners, darkening to bronze at the browbone; Anna Sui used just a hint of sheen on the lids and lower lash lines; Chanel opted for a futuristic silvery shade; and John Galliano’s metallics (in keeping with the couture) took a Felliniesque turn.
Best Bets: Maybelline New York Roller Color in In-Line Ice, Bare Escentuals Foiling Glimmers, Girlactik Beauty Sparkle Eye Liner Set, Benefit Show Offs
Spring’s mink, sienna, and sable eye shadows proved that browns are anything but boring. “It’s a nice balance between nude and made-up, and there are a bazillion browns to choose from,” says Bobbe Joy of the Bobbe Joy Makeup Studio in Beverly Hills. “To amp up a neutral shadow, add a line of gold or iridescent shadow from the lashes to the crease, right down the center of the lid,” she says. “It’s still a natural look, but it really opens up the eye.”
On the Runway: At Andrew Gn, eyes were enhanced with a warm walnut; at Celine, makeup artists opted for an offbeat ochre shade; Moschino’s chocolate shadows were coated with glitter across the crease; and at Vera Wang, eyes were swept with a more unassuming ecru.
Best Bets: Cargo Eye Shadow in Cocoa Beach; Cover Girl Eye Enhancers in Mink; Too Faced Eyeshadow Duo in Full Frontal; and Afterglow Multitasking Eye Shadows in Champagne Shimmer, Dune, and Coco
Despite its gangster associations, slicked-back strands looked surprisingly fresh and pretty on the runways. In real life–without a team of stylists at your disposal–“the look is best suited to those with thin, fine, or straight hair,” says hairstylist Lindsay Rider of the Bang Salon in Washington, D.C. Assuming you have the appropriate hair type, start by coating freshly washed strands with a smoothing cream, then blow-dry and finish with a shine spray. To ensure an end result that’s sleek, not slimy, “use less product in the beginning,” Rider suggests; “you can always add more later on if you need to.”
On the Runway: Hair was swept into shiny ponys at Chloe and Prada; Narciso Rodriguez used glossy strands to create an ultramodern French twist; and Alexander McQueen split the difference, slicking back strands in front and leaving them loose in the back.
Best Bets: Tigi Bedhead After-Party Smoothing Cream, Frédéric Fekkai Glossing Cream, Redken Vinyl Glam 02 Mega Shine Spray, Citre Shine Mist Anti-Frizz Spray Laminator
Continuing a trend that began last fall, makeup artists relied on rosy blushes to give the models a fresh, pretty glow. For a convincing flush, rather than’80s-style racing streaks, selecting the right product is key. “You want to avoid pigments that are too heavy for your skin tone,” Hildago explains. “Creams and stains tend to work better on skin without enlarged pores, while powders tend to complement less-perfect complexions.” In either case, “you should use a round motion to get good blending, and remove any excess with a tissue,” she adds.
On the Runway: Carolina Herrera’s models got a healthy pale-pink flush, while Zac Posen’s and Anna Molinari’s were treated to a more intense rosy shade.
Best Bets: Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Rose Bronze, Nars Orgasm Blush, Fresh Blush Powder in Charm School, Cargo Blush in Topeka
Thin is eternally in on the catwalk, but at the spring shows, makeup artists eschewed skinny sweeps of liner in favor of thick, more imprecise spoltches. According to Hildago, blurring the lines beautifully is largely a matter of choosing the right the product. “To achieve a diffused look, use a soft kohl pencil to rim the eye,” she says. “Black can be very intense, so depending on your coloring, you may want to try a neutral brown or taupe instead.”
On the Runway: At Donna Karen, eyes were enhanced with a smudge of black liner on the inner corners and an abridged cat’s-eye on top; at Givenchy, the lines were thicker and more intense, continuing around the entire eye; and at Louis Vuitton, dark lines were seamlessly blended with progressively lighter shadows on the lids and brow bones.
Best Bets: Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black, M.A.C. Eye Kohl Liner in Smolder, Benefit Bad Gal Liner, Estee Lauder Artist’s Eye Pencil in Softsmudge Black
Wet ‘n’ Mild
On many runways, makeup artists used lip glosses to give neutral palettes a dewy sheen. To give your gloss more staying power, “first prep your lips with a bit of foundation,” Surratt says. “Then line them with a shade very close to your natural lip color, and fill in with a light gloss.” The liner, Surratt explains, will “prevent the gloss from bleeding on to the rest of your face.” And if you opt for a nude, lustrous lip, “play up your eyes, and add a little highlighter to your cheeks,” he suggests.
On the Runway: Pouts got a pale-pink polish at Behnaz Sarafpour, a rosy sheen at J. Mendel, and a coral-colored glaze at MaxMara.
Best Bets: Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer Foundation, Clinique Sheer Shaper for Lips in Blushy, Stila Lip Polish in Glisten, Smashbox Lip Gloss in Shoot
For years now, makeup artists have used self-tanners and bronzers to give porcelain-skinned models a faux glow. But for the past few seasons, we’ve seen the fad evolve into a subtler, more believable bake–a trend that continued on the spring runways. “Self-tanners and bronzers can give nice color,” Joy says, “but they tend to have a lot of orangey tones, so you need to choose the right one. One size definitely does not fit all, especially if you’re pale.” For a more realistic glow, “use a blush on the apples of the cheeks, too,” she suggests. And remember, “your head is sitting on your neck, so don’t forget to apply these products to your neck, shoulders, and décolletage.”
On the Runway: Skin was tawny Michael Kors, a rosier glow at Oscar de la Renta, and glowing bronze at Versace.
Best Bets: Jergens Natural Glow, Clarins Liquid Bronze, Bobbi Brown Bronzer and Blush Duo, Stephane Marais Bronzing Powder
A Fine Mess
Deliberately disheveled manes provided a chic contrast to slick strands and cascading curls at the spring shows. According to Lépine, getting a sexy just-rolled-out-of-bed look requires a careful balance between chaos and control. “Use soft-hold products, like light gels, waxes, and pomades, to give the mess some order,” she says. “At that point, you can leave it loose or secure the hair discreetly with pins for a casual updo.”
On the Runway: Strands were messy and sexed-up at Libertine; pulled into haphazard updo’s at Luca Luca; and left loose and wavy at Roberto Cavalli and Missoni.
Best Bets: Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Sea Waves, Aveda Purefume Brillant Humectant Pomade, Matrix Biolage Shaping Crème Wax
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