The Spring/Summer 2021 Runway Beauty Trends You Can Actually Wear

Break out of your makeup rut with the perfect lip, a sultry eye and velvet-smooth skin
Courtesy Chanel

We love the Spring/Summer runways for the small pivots that help us hit refresh on our makeup. This time around, subtle beauty reigned supreme for the most part, as velvet skin and healthy glows point to a mood that’s both low-touch and utterly flattering.

Pretty Tough

bold eye look
(Credit: Courtesy Dior)

Beauty is all about balance: when you play up one feature, pull back on another. At Dior, makeup artist Peter Philips circled models’ eyes with pitch-black liner, while everything else was fresh and pared back. Models at Giambattista Valli walked a similar tightrope, with kohl-rimmed eyes paired with schoolgirl bows. 

Dior Eyeliner

Dior Diorshow 24H Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner in 091 Matte Black; $45;

Black Smoke

Lids were blanketed in black at Chanel, where global creative makeup and colour designer Lucia Pica buffed shadow at the edges to soften the look and kept under-eyes super clean for a modern spin on classic smoke. Pair with pearl jewellery for the ultimate Chanel statement.

Chanel Spring Summer 2021 makeup smoky eye
Courtesy Chanel
Dior EyeShadow

CHANEL Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in Blurry Grey; $100;

Seeing Red

red lipstick
(Credit: Gaspar J. Ruiz)

We love it when a trend sends us only as far as our beauty cabinet. This season, high-pigment matte red lips were paired with lightly touched lashes and skin. At Hermès, models rocked a magenta shade called Rouge Bleu, while Max Mara pouts were fire-engine perfection. For best results, prep lips with balm for a smooth canvas and to prevent dry patches, then define by etching your Cupid’s bow in liner before swiping on colour.

Hermes Red Lipstick

Hermès Rouge Hermès Matte Lipstick in Rouge Bleu; $94

Healthy Glow

glowing skin backstage zimmerman
Courtesy Eudon Choi

Looking well is always a treasured commodity, and on the runways for 2021 were bare faces and dewy skin at Zimmermann, Theory and Sandy Liang. Another opting for low-fuss beauty, Eudon Choi let each model’s natural radiance take centre stage, with a wet-look highlight placed well up on the cheekbones.

Gucci Face Glow

Gucci Éclat De Beauté Effet Lumière Gel Face Gloss; $48;

Chick Flicks

winged eyeliner look
(Credit: Go Runway)

Dramatic wings took flight across runways in black and plum shades. The look – gently touched skin, nude lids and a hint of mascara – requires skill with a liner. Rather than a steady hand from lash-line to end-point, add your flick as the final step. If there’s a wiggle, just drag a cotton bud with makeup remover along the lower edge.

shiseido liner

Shiseido ArchLiner Ink Eyeliner, $38;

mecca max liner

Mecca Max Zoom Liner Eyeliner in Wine; $16;

Edge Of Reason

gradient lips
(Credit: Go Runway)

Models at Acne Studios showed off a subtle gradient pout, reminding us that less is often more. Makeup artist Peter Philips traced lips in a burgundy liner a shade darker than each model’s natural tone, then coloured in slightly towards the centre of the mouth. He buffed the colour a little and added a nude balm.

Chanel Rouge Gloss

CHANEL Rouge Allure Laque in Still, $56;

Rosy Outlook

Pink Eye shadow
(Credit: Go Runway)

Shimmering pink shadow across the lids and beyond captured the dreamy escapism we sometimes need from makeup. Pick a rosy shade with just a touch of sparkle to keep it grown-up, swipe across lids and then frame eyes with lashings of black mascara. As seen at Coperni, a matching pink wash on the cheeks gives the skin a flattering flush.

rimmel london eyeshadow

Rimmel London Magnif’eyes Eyeshadow palette in Crimson, $23.95;

Nude Run

nude nail polish
(Credit: Courtesy Zimmermann)

Manicurist Deborah Lippmann set a minimal tone at Jason Wu, opting for nude nails with a short, squared-off oval shape. Models at Zimmermann also balanced heavily accessorised wrists with flesh/nude tips. There was a time when one nude had to suit every skin tone, but now the options are endless, from sheer pink to deep brown.

sally hansen Re Nude nail polish

Sally Hansen Colour Therapy Nail Polish in Re-Nude, $16.95;

Lash Flow

feathery eyelash
(Credit: Courtesy NARS / Rodarte)

The return of long, feathery lashes is a welcome one, after seasons of adornment and sparkle. At Rodarte, models’ doll-like lashes were coated in Nars’ latest formula, which thickens and lengthens with a conditioning, richly pigmented complex. Even better, after a few coats it still feels feather-light.

Nars Mascara

NARS Climax Extreme Mascara, $38;


(Credit: Getty Images)

It’s time to make friends with your freckles. In a nod to celebrating all complexions, Erin Parsons, global makeup artist for Maybelline New York, dotted a smattering of fake freckles onto models using a lip stain and flat-bristle brush at Jason Wu.

maybelline lip stain

Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Chai Genius; $21.95;

Silver Linings

glitter eyeshadow
(Credit: Getty Images)

Take inspiration from Etam’s glittering halo over the eyes and swipe a sparkle-dense shadow along your lids, extending up towards the brows when you really want to catch the light. Keep it delicate on lips and lashes for an ethereal yet distinctly modern finish.

Stila Glitter Eyeshadow

Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Diamond Dust, $38;

This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of marie claire.

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