Everyone knows that makeup trends come and go like the seasons; for a quick moment in time, spider lashes are all the rage. In another quick trend promoted on social media, everyone is shaving their eyebrows. The fads that kept the makeup industry fresh and exciting in 2020 included a wide variety of looks, some of them ten out of ten, others not so much.
The makeup trends in 2020 had some people really embracing dramatic contouring and spending hours perfecting the Kylie Jenner-like winged eyeliner. Others fully leaned into quarantined life at home and went months without even looking at their makeup brushes. Some found the middle ground with CC creams and mascara, and others are still trying to figure out if a beauty blender or a foundation brush is better.
But with 2021 fast approaching, it has makeup gurus and Sephora fans alike wondering what 2020 trends won’t make the jump to the new year. What makeup looks did designers put together for their 2021 collections? Will the natural look reign supreme over the matte finish? So many questions, but we have the answers. Here are the makeup trends everyone will be ditching in 2021.
The once ‘have to have’ lip kit look won’t be coming into 2021
Kylie Jenner sure made an impact when she introduced her lip kits. The matte liquid lipstick and lip liner duo is a favorite and must have for many, as a lot of people love them for their intense pigmentation. But makeup artists and fashion designers put forward a lip look for 2021 that is far different from the overdrawn, nude colored matte lipstick that Jenner is so known for.
For example, the Hermès 2021 runway show featured makeup looks with "bold, classic French-girl style," with dewy red lips and a natural shape, as noted by Marie Claire. Giorgio Armani also brought a more natural look to the lips, featuring models with a "coral pout" look that was effortless and flattering.
So if you’re looking to be on trend in the new year, opt for a lip look that is less dried out and doesn’t blend in with skin tone. Need some pointers as to what products will get you the desired look? Try this lipstick balm in shade Red Cassandre by Yves Saint Laurent or this hydrating lipstick in shade Berry Rose by Charlotte Tilbury. You’ll be drop dead gorgeous in both.
Harsh contouring was all the rage, but 2021 is going to see a softer look
Makeup artists have made a name for themselves in part due to their contouring skills. These artists can literally shape shift with precise flicks of their brushes, and the end results are often jaw dropping. But harsh contouring and the trend of changing the shape of your face with bronzers and highlighters will be out the door come 2021 — don’t tell James Charles, he’ll be devastated.
New makeup designers have made it known with their 2020 makeup line drops that softer looks and cream blushes will be all the rage in the new year. For instance, the Rare Beauty collection from Selena Gomez made the impression when it was released, and instead of prioritizing looks with unobtainable noses and chiseled cheekbones, the line opted for natural beauty. As noted by Vogue, Rare Beauty has a great selection of liquid blushes that are "juicy" and "face-warming." In other words, perfect for the 2021 trend.
"[It gives you] the most natural, non-cosmetic effect, adding an awoken quality to the skin," makeup artist Romy Soleimani said. So you heard it here first: lightly contour with blush in the new year and you can’t go wrong.
Matte makeup has been in since 2018, but the new year will be serving a new look
We know that a full coverage matte foundation has been in your makeup bag lately. It’s ok, we’ve all fallen to the "have to cover every single pore" mentality ourselves. Luckily, that trend of chalky, fully covered skin is no more. As noted by Glamour, the matte foundation look made a comeback in 2019 thanks in part to Tom Ford and Fendi, and if full coverage is your thing and you know that it always will be, stick to it. But if you want to be on trend, switch that foundation out for a CC cream or well-placed concealer.
During the 2021 fashion shows, designers like Eudon Choi, Jason Wu, and Victoria Beckham all featured looks that "gave lessons in the power of a well-placed glow," as noted by Harper’s Bazaar. The skin was dewy and healthy looking, with freckles and natural beauty markings shining through (and if your skin quality is worrying you, try this skin care set from First Aid and you’ll be good to go). Honestly, we love this trend, because with the COVID-19 pandemic having us inside for so long, we haven’t touched our foundation brushes in months.
Chunky spider-leg mascara will be out the door in 2021
We’re typically not the kind to judge, but for the love of all that is good, leave chunky spider lashes in 2020. The very 1960s Twiggy-like look made a resurgence in 2020 and it was not pleasing. Chunky lashes that give off the icon’s look can bode well in editorial photo shoots and period makeup looks, but no one needs to be clumping their eyelashes together with layer upon layer of mascara just to make a trip to the grocery store.
As noted by Glamour, brands including Gucci, Pat McGrath, and Roen jumped onto the trend and specifically made mascaras that were meant to be put on top of each other in order to get that spider-leg look. They even gave tips on how to create the look yourself. We couldn’t be more horrified. Luckily, the 2021 runway shows completely deviated from the clumpy mascara trend and instead gave us natural, fluttery lash looks (via Marie Claire). If you’re looking for the perfect mascara to bring your look into the new year, opt for the They’re Real mascara from Benefit or even the Lash Extending mascara from E.L.F. (only $4 too).
This eyeliner look belongs in the editorial photographs, not in your everyday look come 2021
Artists and music videos can give us makeup inspiration for days, and that was certainly the case when the song "Rain on Me" by Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga was released. The music video had such a specific aesthetic, and with it, a very original makeup look. People specifically tried to replicate the eyeliner shape from the music video, and as noted by Glamour, the trend took a significant hold during the fall 2020 looks.
But the scribble white eyeliner isn’t a makeup look that is going to last through the ages, so instead of trying to swipe eyeliner across your face and hoping that it works out ok, opt for a simple, but just as effective look in 2021. Makeup artist Tom Sapin used MAC Cosmetics on models for the Lutz Huelle 2021 runway show to create an effortless, but bold eyeliner look that will have everyone jumping in the new year (via Marie Claire). He used some glitzy eyeliner to create "a bold, silver cat eye" that gave off a "vibrant 3D vibe" that is easy to replicate at home, and we’re completely here for it.
This racially insensitive eye makeup look will definitely not be making its way into the new year
Things got messy when the fox eye trend took hold in 2020, and not because a palette was dropped on the floor or eyeliner spilled. As noted by CNN, the tactics used to create a "lifted, so-called ‘almond shape’" eye got some celebrities — including Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid — in trouble, but not before the trend had made its way to social media.
To get the look, people combined shadows, eyeliner, and eyelashes to create the almond aesthetic. Some even pulled their hair into a tight, high ponytail to further angle their eyes upward — the look was sultry, some makeup artists were saying. But Asian Americans were quick to point out that the look was very racially insensitive, especially given how some people modeling the look were cradling the sides of their head with their hands.
"The ‘migraine pose’ that sometimes accompanies these images — using one or two hands to pull the eyes up by the temples to exaggerate the result — is far too similar to the action used to demean [Asian Americans] in the past," CNN reported. One thing is for sure, leave this trend in 2020.
Freckles are a cute look, but the henna freckles look has got to go
Early 2000s kids will tell you that if you had freckles, you did everything you could to cover them. But thanks to TikTok and the 2020 trend of giving yourself freckles, it seems like times have changed. But as noted by Allure, the specific trend of using henna to create artificial freckles has got to go.
The attraction to using henna isn’t hard to understand; many people use henna on their bodies, and unlike using an eye pencil to create the look that will just wash off at the end of the day, henna has a semi-permanent quality. But as noted by dermatologist Melanie Palm, many henna formulas are not designed for the face and can have serious side effects if not used correctly.
"Black henna can cause severe skin problems if used for tattooing," Palm told Allure. "These are intended for use on the hair, and not for cosmetic use on the skin." She then pointed out that some henna formulas regulated by the FDA are illegal to use on your skin. Freckles are cute, but not worth the risk, so we can ditch this trend in 2021.
Move over classic cat eye, because 2021 is ditching the overdone eyeliner look
If the whole world can agree on just one thing, it’s this: the cat eye is overdone. The winged eyeliner trend has been with us for years; the look is tired and deserves to take a break in 2021. Instead of trying to get the perfect cat eye, dedicate your time to practicing floating eyeliner. Yes, you read that correctly.
As noted by Bustle, artist and goddess Ariana Grande made the floating eyeliner look the latest thing, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s fresh and new, bold and exciting — the complete opposite of the cat eye. "People are really exploring and having fun with funky styles," makeup artist Jenna Kristina told the website. "I think people are in need of things that bring them joy, and makeup is always going to do just that."
So how do you get this look? Kristina laid it all out. First, outline the shape of where you want the floating eyeliner to go with a pencil similar to your skin color. Then, use a bold liner (Kristina recommended liquid) to go over the outline. This is going to be a trend that’s with us for a while, so get practicing.
Black eyeshadow looks were celebrated once, but ditch the look for this instead
We’re sorry to anyone out there that is a fan of all black everything — eyeshadow included. Alas, the dark, dreary look of heavy black eye makeup will not be coming into 2021 with us. We can all admit that 2020 was a rough year, but it needs no more darkness added to it, even if that dark pigment comes from your makeup palette. So instead of returning to the black eyeshadow and ridiculously pigmented black liquid liner for the millionth time, ditch the trend and opt for a natural, shimmery look instead.
And if you don’t want to take our advice, maybe you’ll listen to Christy Coleman, a celebrity makeup artist and the chief artist officer at Beautycounter. She told Bustle that eyes will be popping in 2021 for reasons having nothing to do with black eye makeup. "The makeup focus will be on bright and awakened eyes with a bit of shimmer and mascara to make the eyes pop," she said. Coleman recommended eyeshadow palettes with shimmer — like the Rose Gold palette from E.L.F — to brighten up your look. Take it from the expert, black eyeshadow is a no-no.
This color blocking trend probably won’t make its way into the new year
The summer months almost always give us a makeup trend that is bold, fun, and different and the summer of 2020 was no exception. As noted by The Zoe Report, the summer delivered on the makeup front and had mismatched, color-blocked eyeshadow looks trending.
Not familiar with the look? Well it’s exactly what it sounds like. Artists and makeup gurus alike were using completely different eyeshadows and eye makeup products on their eyes to give head-turning, mismatched looks. Many of the eye makeup designs were bold in color, and some even inverted the colors to give an even more dramatic look.
But if the 2021 runways showed us anything, it’s that the new year will not be carrying this trend along for the ride. Bold eyeshadow pigmentation will still be a thing, but symmetry and consistency within your designs will be key. Consider the blue look designed for Zero + Maria Cornejo that Marie Claire called "bold enough to draw attention" or the completely flawless, angular look designed for Giambattista Valli. Sometimes when it comes to eye makeup, less is more.
The brief resurgence of thin brows is not coming into 2021 with us
Beware the thin eyebrow. Seriously. Us 1990s girlies will tell you that the moment we plucked our eyebrows into nonexistence was the day our lives started going downhill. To the shock of so many, thinner eyebrows saw a brief resurgence in 2020. As noted by Pure Wow, the trend wasn’t nearly as bad as the early years of razor thin brows, but the more slender look alone was enough to put us in shock.
Luckily, thin brows will have zero place in 2021. Beautycounter’s chief artistic officer, Christy Coleman, told Bustle that the brows will continue to have a bold place on the face and as such are not going anywhere. "While [Coleman] does see the eyes as a focus for the season, she specifically points to bold brows as a way to emphasize them," Bustle noted. Coleman also told the website that the brow "’frames the face and creates a finished and polished look." So you heard it here, do not pluck your eyebrows. Do not shave them, do not replace them with an eyebrow pencil. Leave them alone, take it from a generation of ladies who had to wait years for their eyebrows to grow back.
Everyone will be trading the classic smokey eye trend with this reimagined look in the new year
There was a very distinct time in history when we were all saving photos of smokey eye makeup looks, chunky high heels, and infinity scarves to our Pinterest boards. And although the heels and infinity scarves made a much needed exit, the smokey eye has lingered around and we think it’s time for it to go. The smokey eye is tired, it needs a revamp, so for 2021 opt for bold metallics and interesting designs rather than the classic silver and dark grey palette.
Darah Tanno, the global artistry director of Haus Labs, told Bustle that metallics really could be the next big thing. "Try shades you wouldn’t normally wear together," Tanno said. "The bright purple and metallic gold is perfect for feeling sexy and powerful, and is also a more modern take on holiday glam." So while you’re perfecting your cut crease and ordering a metallic eyeshadow palette from Sephora, remember Tanno’s words of encouragement. "Do what makes you feel good, powerful, and sexy." Amen.
The quick trend of animal print eyeshadow has got to go
Phase one of coronavirus quarantine feels like a lifetime ago. We had gotten the stimulus check and Tiger King was all the rage. Who honestly would have predicted that the show would’ve saved us during April 2020? But due in part to the show and the resurgence of animal print everything, the animal print look made its way into the makeup world. As noted by Makeup.com, "Animal print has been absolutely everywhere in 2020, so why not apply it as makeup, too?" And they were completely right.
Leopard print eye makeup started popping up on social media, giving "a whole new meaning to ‘cat eye.’" And while a cheetah print here and a leopard print there isn’t going to harm anyone, this trend really needs to be left in 2020. A lot of things need to be left in 2020, really, but add this to the list. Not only is the look a little tired (it honestly just reminds us of The Cheetah Girls), but it’s not the most universally flattering. And with gorgeous eyeshadow palettes out in the wild, no one needs to be rocking animal print.
We love a blush moment, but this overdone 2020 trend won’t be joining us in 2021
The power of social media, specifically of TikTok, should not be underestimated. The video sharing app boosted a lot of makeup looks into the trending arena in 2020, and the overdone blush look was one of them. Makeup artists and fans of a dewey, pinky look really started going for it and used blush on their cheeks, temples, foreheads, and even on the tips of their noses.
Now we love a blush moment, and as previously noted, soft blush contouring will be all the rage in 2021. But there’s a big difference between rocking that sun-kissed, glowing moment and using blush as literal face paint. And as many makeup wearers will tell you, once you’ve put your blush on, it’s almost impossible to take it off (unless you’re willing to bust out the micellar water and start all over again).
So don’t make one of the most common blush mistakes in 2021; apply your blush in complementary places based on your face shape, don’t cake it on, remember to prime, and bust out that beauty sponge because blending will be your best friend.