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I Test-Drove 10 of Spring 2020's Biggest Makeup Trends IRL

2020 has already been a year that evokes creativity, inspiration, and unique dimensions on the beauty front. From the softer approach of everyday makeup to the high impact and undeniable artistry seen on catwalks, we’re leaving last year’s no-makeup makeup behind in favor of metallic, jewel-toned eyeshadow at the likes of LaQuan Smith to pastel eyeliner at Jonathan Simkhai. But as much as these makeup trends leave us awe-inspired on the runways, how do they really translate IRL? I decided to find out.

Trend #1: Less is More

less is more
Nateisha Scott

This look is all about fresh, hydrated, glowing skin—like you’re starting every morning with some one-on-one time with your facialist. From Chanel to Rouland Mouret, models debuted dewy, glossy skin with minimal pores in sight. The secret? Mixing skincare products with makeup. I achieved this look by first cleansing my skin with Deviant Skin’s Cleansing Concentrate; it removes dirt and impurities without stripping the skin and leaves me with a perfectly balanced canvass. I love Dr. Dennis Gross for exfoliation and have used his daily peels in the past, but the Dr. Dennis Gross Professional Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel is my new favorite. I then pressed 111SKIN Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask into my skin with an Omorovicza Rose Quartz Face Roller to further stimulate blood flow around the face, which gives you that post-gym flush. For days when just my skincare isn’t enough, I like to finish off this look with a lightweight bronzer that gives the illusion of a sun-kissed look in all the right places; Nars Laguna Liquid Bronzer will fake a week in post-Tulum glow in just a few seconds.

Trend #2: Flushed Lips

blush lip
Nateisha Scott 

If I could commit to a trend this season, it would be this. Comfortable, rosy, and hydrated, this lip trend merges your favorite lip balm and a suede lipstick for that that “your lips but better” look. Think soft and smudged; models at Oscar De La Renta had bold pigments smudged on their lips then gently buffed out to soften the color, taking a cue from K-beauty. I used a satin-finish lipstick Marena Beaute Rouge Tarou Nude in the shade Toffee, which left a soft finish on the lips that doesn’t need much touching up. I lightly pressed it into the lip with my finger, which creates the color without drawing away from the moisture. If I were to attempt a bolder take on the flushed lip, I would apply lipstick to the center of the lips and then smudge outwards, but I’ll save that when the occasion really calls for it.  

Trend #3: Bright Eyes

pastel eyes
Nateisha Scott 

Color is coming in hot with painted pinks at Jason Wu and more subtle pastels at Jonathan Simkhai. For a bolder look, dip into Fenty Beauty’s Snap Shadows; the customizable eyeshadow palette lets you experiment to your heart's desire. I’ll be honest—I’m afraid of color or anything bright, so I tread lightly with a more subtle look for this pastel trend. If you’re anything like me, try incorporating a swipe of white liner across the eyes for a subtle step up from your classic cat-eye (and to save yourself from giving yourself a mini heart attack every time you see yourself in a mirror).  

Trend #4: Metallic Eyeshadow


metallic eye
Nateisha Scott 

Dramatic and eye-catching, metallic eyeshadow caught the focus on the runways this season. Whether it’s a solid shadow, loose glitter, or a finely milled pigment over the eye shadow, a twinkle on the eye is instantly show-stopping. For extravagance that won’t disappoint, I recommend Pat McGrath Labs’ Mothership V Bronze Seduction Palette; it’s saturated with pigment, and the colors are intense and perfectly metallic. If creating a smoky eye limits your time in the morning, and like me, you find too much sheen frightening, then applying a wash of color over the eyes before applying a MAC Cosmetics Eyeshadow Pigment that matches in color is an easier (and more subtle) way to pull off the trend. I found that when I started lightly with a wash of the pigment, I wasn’t as afraid of the result, and the buildable finish can make it the perfect day-to-night eye look.

Trend #5: Water Tint Foundation

water tint
 Nateisha Scott

While we go waterless with our skincare products, SS20 introduces the water tint into our foundation routines. Think thin layers, barely-there complexion bases, and letting your skin have its moment. The “water” effect gives the idea of a healthy, hydrated, and flushed complexion using either a tinted moisturizer or lightweight foundation. To create the perfect light but dewy finish, I usually use Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation; it has a beautiful finish and is lightweight enough so that it’s almost invisible on the skin. Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation is also a treat for your skin, leaving you with soft glowing skin and a surprising amount of coverage without veering into heavy-duty full-coverage territory. Since I’m more on the oily side, I spritz Caudalie Beauty Elixir as a final touch to enhance the dew and balance the skin (plus, it’s a refreshing mid-day deskside pick-me-up).

Trend #6: Rosebud Lip

red lip
 Nateisha Scott

Like an LBD, leather jacket, or black blazer, some things will never go out of style—a red lip falls in that category. On the runway, it made a comeback too at shows like Helmut Lang and Emilia Wickstead. I applied the classic MAC Lip Liner in Cherry and the MAC Lip Liner in Chestnut all over my lip as a base; this created the perfect base for my red lipstick. MAC’s cult classic Ruby Woo looks good on all skin tones, but if you’re looking for something more impactful, I also recommend Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint in the shade Uncensored.

Trend #7: Glazed-Skin Glow

pre highlight
Nateisha Scott 

For the ultimate glow (think glass skin goals), highlighting after your face makeup is applied just won’t cut it. The secret is in the pre- and post-highlight—basically, layering your highlighter. Pre-highlighting involves applying either a luminizer or a liquid highlighter after moisturizing and before foundation, as your final step after your face makeup is done; this is the key to mastering the perfect glow. I tried this technique and highly recommend Nars Cosmetics Tinted Glow Booster; it’s a customizable complexion enhancer that melts seamlessly into my skin without any kickback, offering the perfect amount of radiance without overdoing it. It’s perfect, and you can use it any way you’d like—plus, it’s lightweight, doesn’t transfer, and gives you a glow that lasts all day.

Trend #8: Pop of Neon

neon eye shadow
 Nateisha Scott

Neon isn’t going anywhere. With Venetian stained-glass windows at Salvatore Ferragamo by makeup artist Fara Homidi and colorful eyeshadow at both Natasha Zinko and Tibi, it’s no surprise that this trend allows everyone’s inner artist out to play. For a full-blown artistic canvas, dipping into Melt Cosmetics Radioactive Palette is the perfect option because it combines zesty greens, vibrant yellows, and stark oranges to play with until your heart is content. I tried a more subtle approach to this trend, sweeping a neon orange eyeshadow across my eyes to instantly wake up my face. 

Trend #9: Eyeliner With Attitude

 Nateisha Scott

Classic eyeliner went punk for the SS 20 runways. A dramatic wing was showcased at Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Missoni, where the inky black line took XXL proportions. Whether you’re exaggerating your wing or covering your entire lid, no ordinary pencil liner will do. I recommend Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Liner; it’s the perfect inky, high-pigment true black and is good for creating both whisper-thin flicks and dramatic lines. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted—and I can’t wait to wear it again.

Trend #10: Feathered Brows

feathered brow
 Nateisha Scott

My eyebrows are supremely sparse, so the idea of naturally bushy brows is pretty much non-existent. However, I’m obsessed with the feathered brows seen at Mugler, Haider Ackermann, and Balenciaga and donned by models such as Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Luckily, I’ve been able to find a way to fake the bushy brow look. I brush my brows upwards with a spoolie, focusing on the center of the brow, then angle the ends out; this gives an illusion of a fuller brow. I found that a skinny, sharp eyebrow brush is best; I like Browjam’s Multitask Brush, which helps create those sharp upward strokes sparsely through the brow. I also used it to apply Anastasia Beverly Hills' DipBrow Pomade, which gives the most natural, hair-like finish. Beware: apply with a light hand because a little goes a long way.




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