21 Beauty Trends Dominating 2021

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21 Beauty Trends Dominating 2021
Photo: Instagram

The global pandemic has played a major role in how we approach beauty these days.

Last year, many of us opted for more natural-looking, low-maintenance looks while some went for super creative and bold hair colors.

And after what has felt like the longest and most unprecedented year of our lives — we are officially ready for spring 2021! So what better way to celebrate than with some fun and vibrant beauty looks?

Here, we spoke with a few beauty experts who broke down some of the season's trends we can look forward to trying. From matte skin to colorful graphic eyeliner, here are a few beauty trends to show off on your next socially distanced picnic or outdoor dining date.

Graphic Eyeliner

Color is coming back this season and in a big way.

"With the eyes becoming the focus, we are getting creative on how to express [ourselves] with pops of color," celebrity makeup artist and founder of Around The World Beauty, Stephanie Flor tells InStyle. "I love seeing bright graphic liners that go above the crease giving the eye an artistic twist. This spring it's about expanding the palette and reinventing yourself, and that includes breaking your makeup boundaries with color." To create the perfect graphic liner, Flor recommends using Reina Rebelde Blue Liquid Eyeliner.

Matte Skin

While dewy skin isn't going anywhere, matte complexions will be making a comeback this season for the ladies who don't mind wearing a little foundation underneath their masks.

"You want a good moisturizer, but you don't want your makeup to transfer onto your mask. Matte skin is less likely to transfer," says celebrity makeup artist Delina Medhin. "Dewy highlighter formulas are being used in more concentrated areas — like around the eye."

Look for a long-wear and lightweight matte foundation formula, like Bobbi Brown's Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 and a dewy highlighter formula that easy to apply to the eye area like Tarte's Shape Tape Glow Wand.

High Blush

We're not sure if mask-wearing inspired this latest trend, but this season when it comes to blush, it's all about the placement.

"Placement of blush is higher on the temples and blurred onto the cheekbones and around the eyelids," says celebrity and editorial makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who is a huge fan of this trend herself.

Jumbo Box Braids

jumbo box braids
Courtesy of Ro Morgan

For textured hair, protective styles like braids will be back in full force. But jumbo box braids in particular, are expected to be really popular this season.

"I've been seeing a lot of jumbo box braids all over social media. People are skipping the time it takes to create tiny braids, and choosing to wear 30 braids or less," says celebrity hairstylist Ro Morgan. "Feed in braids have been increasing in popularity. So many people are trying bolder colors with their braids such as pinks, blues, and blondes. I think everyone should try wearing box braids in their lifetime, but try not to keep them in for longer than six weeks."

Multicolored French Tips

Just when we thought we've tried every modern take on French nails — a bright and bolder style decides to surface this spring. Multi-French tips will be all the rage this season and for good reason.

"This look is easy-breezy to choose colors for," says Julie Kandalec, celebrity manicurist and founder of Julie K Nail Artelier, an exclusive, by appointment only nail studio in NYC. "Just select five shades from any brand's spring collection and they're pre-designed to work together perfectly."

Bold Eyes

"Eyes have become the creative canvas for beauty enthusiasts and professionals alike and I am here for it," says celebrity makeup artist Jalessa Jaikaran. "I would recommend selecting eye palettes with a beautiful and versatile range of colors and finishes like Pat McGrath Mothership Divine VII or Rare Beauty Magnetic Spirit Shadow Palette to create a bold, vibrant eye."

For simplistic or elaborate graphic lines, Jaikaran recommends using a product with a creamy or wet makeup consistency like Danessa Myricks Color Fix 24-Hour Cream Color or The Creative Makeup's 12 Cream Color Palette.

Round Afros

For wavy and curly textured hair, it's all about volume-boosting airy, rounded cuts this season.

"Highest point of the fringe is the center — almost creating a slight frown to open up the forehead area," says curly hair expert and stylist Ona Diaz-Santin. "Instead of keeping the shape dense, the trend now is creating space for the curls to live in, which provides a more frothy approach."

Natural-Looking Brows

Full, natural-looking brows, à la Brooke Shields, have been back for quite some time now and it looks like they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. But it's less about perfectly done brows and more about keeping them looking as close to your childhood brows as possible.

"[Full] brows help to shape your face and they can also make you look super healthy," says makeup artist and founder of The Joy in Beauty, Joy Fennell. "Just a caveat, I'm not referring to hard, dark-colored-in brows but rather brows that look like you were born this way. Adding flicks of color to match your brow color into your brows can help make them look natural. This gives the illusion of a natural, fuller brow."

Goddess Locs

Goddess Locs
Courtesy of Nikell Lyles

For women with naturally curly or coily textured hair, goddess locs are in and a great way to protect strands during the warmer seasons.

"Goddess locs have a bohemian essence created by using an assortment of different locs, textures, and loose hair pieces to create that nice flow and beauty look," says hairstylist Nikell Lyles. "Goddess locs can also be done as a crochet and used as a protective style. I love this trend so much, I actually did his hairstyle myself adding some fun colors with it."

Dolphin Skin

Yes, this trend is basically what it sounds like. In fact, you've probably heard of the luminous, fresh-out-the-water trend from Tik Tok or Instagram. Think dewy or glass-looking skin for days!

"While the name might sound a bit unusual — this reflective, smooth, glistening skin trend is here to stay," says makeup artist Sara Ajdahim, who suggests exfoliating intensively to achieve the look. She likes the Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment to help buff away dead skin cells and leave skin smooth, and polished.

"Next apply a serum like Glossier Super Bounce layered with the Tula Face Filter Primer to hydrate, smooth and blur the complexion," Ajdahim adds. "Follow up by layering highlighter in a cream or liquid formula to the high points of the face. Saie's Dew Balm Bouncy Marshmallow Highlighter in Rosy Gold is one of my top choices for universal skin tones. Polish off the look by saturating the lips with the Perfecting Lip Balm by Joanna Czech. Remember, this trend is all about showing off bright, succulent, radiant-looking skin."

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No Makeup Makeup

The truth is, this fresh faced look will probably always stick around. But the trick to achieving this look is healthy, hydrated and luminous skin.

"My favorite makeup look is the no-makeup look because it's the technique of keeping your eyes, lips, and cheeks as natural as possible," says celebrity makeup artist Keila Rivera. To achieve this look, Rivera first applies B3 Lillie Luxury Facial Oil to the face using the B3 Beauty Wand.

"I love the Lillie Oil because it's a quick-absorbing oil," Rivera says. She suggests the Dior Forever Matte Foundation for a smooth complexion, followed by the Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer under eyes, nose and around lips. She finishes the looks with an eye palette with warm, neutral shades, a few coats of a lengthening mascara, a mineral matte powder to lock the look, and a soft touch of blush to the cheeks.

Soft Cat-Eye

soft cat eye
Holly Caputo/IG@hollycaputo

The soft-cat eye is a modern and fresh take on a timeless, but retro, look.

"I love the use of a dark brown powder to recreate the line instead of a bold black liquid or gel," says makeup artist Saray Barbosa, who suggests using the Mino shade in the Juvia's Place The Warrior Eyeshadow Palette. "It's romantic," the makeup artist shares. "Try creating it using an angled brush."

Technicolor Lids

technicolor lids
Ojo de Paz/@almostlikefisheye

If there's one spring trend that's predicted to dominate 2021, it's technicolor eyes. It's bright, bold and a lot more wearable than you'd think.

"Using one color on our lids is a good way to show up, have fun and experiment," says celebrity makeup artist Marianne Vegas Brandt. "You can use as much color as you feel comfortable with — applying it along your lids or just using it as a liner."

To create this look, Vegas Brandt recommends Danessa Myricks Waterproof Cream Palettes in Primary and Vivid.

Faux Freckles

"For our non-freckled ladies, we've seen a high demand for tutorials on how to achieve this natural, sun-kissed finish that makes everything appear just a little Kawaii — which means cute in Japanese," says Flor. "Freckles just add a little extra fun to a look. But no freckle is created equal, so adding a little dot here and there along the bridge of the nose adds a little personality to your face. Pop artist Doja Cat is known to add freckles to her looks as a way to glam up her style."

Textured Shaggy Mullet

Shaggy Mullet
Courtesy of Ro Morgan

So, it looks like Miley Cyrus was on to something when she decided to opt for a 80s-inspired shaggy mullet cut. And if your hair has some natural texture — even better.

"The mullet is back with a shaggy spin and it brought more texture with it this time," says Morgan. "I love seeing all the wavy and curly shaggy mullets hitting the streets. If the texture is wavy and fine, I like to use R+ Co Sail Soft Wave Spray because it can be used on dry and wet textured hair. If the texture is curly, I suggest finger combing Design Essentials Almond and Avocado Curling Crème throughout your hair and letting it air dry or diffusing hair on the cool temperature setting to lock in the style."

Natural Lips

natural looking lips
Joy Fennell

We're not just talking nude lips though. This season's natural-colored lips feature a touch of gloss. Think Jennifer Lopez's signature lip look — the one that's played a role in her famous J.Lo glow. The comeback is in part due to the fact, that this look can survive even after hours of being behind a face mask.

"You don't have to worry about the lipstick traveling across your face and making you look like an abstract painting when you take your mask off," says Fennell. "Natural colors will help guard against this and will make you look and feel naturally beautiful. Add a little lip balm, clear gloss or natural lipstick and you're ready to go!"

Groovy '60s-Inspired Manicures

We're not referring to 60s inspired hair but instead to a retro nail art look. "The '60s and '70s are back in a major way in fashion and this includes retro, wavy nail art looks," says Kandalec. "Negative space or full coverage, brights or warm tones, or just a few lines all the way across or on the full nail. There's a variation sure to fit your mood."

Roaring '20s Makeup

Retro-inspired makeup looks might have taken a break during 2020, but it appears that they are going to be making their way back this spring. "I think we're going to see a lot of bold and impactful makeup," says Hughes. "People are going to embrace bold, '20s-inspired makeup — think a bold red lip — as we begin to shed our masks."

Box Braid Buns

Box braids will be taking a fun and refreshing twist this season. So don't expect to only see them worn in the traditional sense.

"Box braids have been such a trend favorite but the buns are such a compliment to this look," says Lyles. "I've seen the bun look a lot lately and I love how it can be curated in many different ways. I highly recommend if you're going to get box braids, have some fun with it and add a bun!"

3D Chrome Nails

Chrome nails were a pretty big deal four, five years back, but took a pause for quite a while. This spring it will be back in full force.

"I can't get enough of this 3D chrome I'm seeing lately. They really seem to be alien-like and just are begging to be touched," says Kandalec. "This is a look that's done in the salon, so ask your nail pro for chrome pigment that goes between layers of special gel top coat."

The Classic Bob

Fresh hair cuts are going to be something a lot of folks look forward to this season, so expect a revival of the classic bob.

"One thing about the bob trend is it will always be a staple," says Morgan. "Maybe it's the fresh smell of spring that has people wanting the chin-hugging classic bob in varying textures. As a texture specialist, if you are taking your strands from wavy/curly to straight, I recommend using Design Essentials Agave and Lavender Blow Dry & Silk Press Collection to make sure your hair bounces back to wavy/curly, and also to protect your hair from heat damage."

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