The Watercolour Makeup Trend Will Transform Your Winter Look

Looking at the makeup on the models walking the autumn/winter runways, you could have been forgiven for thinking that you were seeing a show from the wrong season. Pops of blue, flashes of orange and pink, dustings of yellow, green and lilac… the painterly palettes chosen by makeup artists backstage at shows such as Dries Van Noten, Gucci, Maison Margiela and Missoni were decidedly springlike. And so, too, was their application, which was as important as the spectrum of colour itself. Sheer watercolour washes gave the look a very accessible appeal.

Missoni autumn/winter 2020. 

“Transparency automatically makes colour more beautifying on the face,” explains Terry Barber, director of makeup artistry for MAC Cosmetics. “It takes away the fear of looking garish or retro, and it’s those fresh, plump washes of colour that allow you to be more playful.” Be it a halo around the eye, a new or unusual experimentation in lip colour, or a gentle tonal clash on both eyes and lips, using products in this way gives an end result that is much softer – and this is, according to Barber, the easiest and most flattering in-road to exploring technicolour choices. “Veils of colour that bring out the features rather than enclose them are the unsung heroes of makeup,” he says.

So what to make of this more romantic approach? “It’s a good time to break the seasonal rules and not resort to the classic earthiness of autumnal beauty,” says Barber. “Instead celebrate the colours of optimism and freshness. Can we say spring/summer is the new autumn/winter?” It’s a resounding yes.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint in Big Blue

£18.50; available at LookFantastic

Glossier Lidstar in Lily

£15; available at Glossier

MAC Cosmetics Powder Kiss Liquid Lipcolour in Crossfade

£19; available at LookFantastic

Byredo Colour Stick in Ultramagnetic

£26; available at Selfridges

Chanel Rouge Coco Flash Lipstick in Freeze

£32; available at Selfridges

Dolce & Gabbana Solar Glow Universal Illuminating Drops

£38; available at Harrods

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic blush in Ecstasy

£30; available at Feel Unique

Lancôme Hypnôse Eyeshadow Palette in Bleu Hypnôtique

£42.50; available at LookFantastic

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in Rose Gold

£36; available at Selfridges

MAC Cosmetics Powder Kiss Soft Matte Eyeshadow in Ripened

£17.50; available at LookFantastic

VOGUE article

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