The face of spring – this season’s big beauty trends

Cherwell's new Beauty Correspondent Beth Brand talks us through this season's best beauty trends from the runway

Spring is officially (and finally) here and the grey days of Hilary are behind us. Once again, the catwalks have delivered up a bevy of makeup inspiration for spring and summer, with prominent running themes including effortless natural skin, smudgy eyes, 80s inspired looks, bold applications of colour, and a continuing love of glitter.

In fact, the definitive beauty takeaway from the shows seemed to echo political feelings of the last few months—anything and everything goes. Here is our round-up of the best looks and current beauty trends fresh from the runways of Paris, Milan, London and New York.

‘Sporty skin’ (as it was referred to backstage) seems to be the complexion du jour for this season, with glowy and radiant complexions all the rage on the catwalks. With celebrities like Alicia Keys embracing the #NoMakeup movement throughout 2016, many designers have taken note and chosen to showcase natural looks where skin is left clearer and more breathable. While the ‘no make-up’ look is by no means a revolutionary one, it will certainly provide a refreshing departure from the recent popular trend for baking and heavy contour, which leave the skin with an intensely matte finish. This was put into full affect at Prada, with models skipping powder and wearing only light (if any) foundation.

Similarly, at Isabel Marant and Michael Kors make up was used only to cover minor marks or blemishes. While most of us are sadly not blessed with flawless skin, this look can still be quite easily recreated. Exchange foundation for the use of carefully applied concealer, and then buff liquid or cream highlighter into the high points of the face to emulate the sought-after sheeny finish.

As one of the most classic makeup looks, you can always spot some form of a smoky eye on the catwalk. However, this season looks like it will be more about the ‘smudgy’ eye, with less attention paid to precise lines. At Balmain, Tom Pecheux created greasy black eyes that were meant to evoke post-swim glamour, and at Rag & Bone messy kohl was applied to give a “late night, early morning” feel. This comes as very welcome news for those of us yet to master the liquid liner! Instead of agonising over the accuracy of the perfect wing, just use your fingers or a q-tip to blend and smudge shades of black and grey across the lids and along the lower waterline.

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Designers paid homage to one decade in particular this season: the 1980s. From subtle iterations to all-out retro throwbacks, the rave culture and colour obsession of this vibrant decade was a standout trend on the runways in all four fashion capitals. While designers brought back shoulder pads and ruffles, the 80s also made a noticeable stamp on SS17 beauty. This was seen most clearly in the Marc Jacobs show, from the controversial rainbow crimped dreadlocks to metallic electric shadow that was diffused around the entire eye area, courtesy of make-up artist Francois Nars.

The 80s revival was also seen in colour’s triumphant return to catwalk beauty; bursts of pigment appeared everywhere, adorning lips, eyes and even ears (which were tinted yellow at Proenza Schouler)! For every show that stripped models of all traces of makeup, there were as many others that made colour the focal point of the entire look. At Victoria Beckham, free flowing shapes in cobalt blue and emerald green were painted onto eye lids, creating a striking and energetic effect.

Blush was another product clearly present on the spring runways, applied with a heavier hand than we’ve seen recently. A favourite handy trick employed by makeup artists was to use lipstick as blush, with Nar’s new Kiss Me Stupid shade applied to the cheeks at Erdem and JW Anderson, giving a glossy finish.

As well as texture, the placement of blush was also played with. At Kenzo and Chanel, electric pink blush was applied high on the cheekbones and extended onto the temples and even the eyelid, in a technique known as draping, pioneered by makeup artist Way Bandy in the 80s. The key to ensuring that any of these retro looks stay fresh rather than reminiscent of fancy-dress, is to keep the rest of the face pared back and relatively clean in order to avoid overdoing it.

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A last perusal of the SS17 shows suggests our love affair with glitter is far from over, in part thanks to Pat McGrath’s eponymous product line which recently took the beauty world by storm. At DKNY, McGrath created what she called a “crescendo of glitter”, with each model appearing with more glitter than the last until the final few, who rocked McGrath’s trademark sparkle-loaded pout.

Glitter shapes were stencilled onto models’ faces at Giamba, and at Maison Martin Margiela models’ lips were covered in fine silver glitter to mimic sci-fi beings. Fendi showcased perhaps the most wearable version of this style, with just a hint of gold shimmer applied in the cupid’s bow in the centre of otherwise maroon lips, creating an almost 3D effect – a surprisingly easy look to recreate, just swipe on gloss over your chosen lip colour and pat on fine glitter.

If sparkly lips aren’t your thing, accents of glitter can also be worn to embellish nails, and the glitter cuticles seen at Rodarte are admittedly much more tutorial-attire-friendly. However you decide to incorporate these new trends into your make up routine, it’s clear that glitter is now no longer just for Christmas!