The fall 2020 makeup trends maybe have been a little more restrained than in previous seasons, but they still had a lot of charm. We’ve closely examined the makeup looks from the fashion weeks of New York, London, Milan, and Paris to predict which trends will trickle down to film, TV, red carpets, our Instagram feed, and day-to-day lives.
When it came to complexion trends, we noticed that there was a lot of room to play around, with artists showing both camouflage-based techniques to really perfect the base and others celebrating a barer complexion.
The eye makeup this season wasn’t extravagant, for the most part, but there was still a lot of creativity, especially when it came to the use of eyeliner or pops of color. There wasn’t too much emphasis on specific colors or finishes, so most of us will be able to make do with the same staple palettes we already have in our makeup collection!
At most, the fall/ winter 2020-2021 makeup trends might inspire you to pick up some low-investment items: an aubergine lipstick or a blue eyeshadow, for instance. We’re sure you already have some golds and reds in your arsenal, after all!
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Beauty Trends: Complexion
#1. No Foundation
On many of the runways, many makeup artists continued the trend of skipping foundation altogether and keeping the complexion as bare as possible. This is nothing new, of course, with the “Glossier” aesthetic being common on the runways for a few seasons in a row now.
At Salvatore Ferragamo, makeup artist Fara Homidi went for a look she described as “strong” with bare faces and just a bit of natural lip color to allow the clothes to really speak for themselves. There were more bare-faced makeup looks at Christopher Kane, Rochas, and Matty Bovan.
#2. Dewy Complexion
We were worried for a bit, but it looks like a dewy complexion isn’t going anywhere, with glossy highlights coming back for the fall 2020 beauty trends. In some instances, dewy skin was an extension of the bare-faced trend, while in others, it was just a way of making made-up skin look less made up.
The dewy effect at Marine Serre was achieved by subbing traditional highlighter with a face gloss, which made the face look naturally healthy. At Balmain, a dewy complexion was achieved with a combination of lots of moisturizer and just a hint of powder highlighter, and, of course, minimal-to-no setting powder.
We also saw luminescent and glowy skin at The Row, Loewe, Victoria Beckham, and Gucci.
#3. Made-Up Complexion
Ethereal and barely made-up skin mostly dominated the runways, so it was interesting to see a few makeup artists get a little more heavy-handed with products like foundation, contour, and highlight. We’re not talking about Instagram “baddie” levels of makeup, but still more than the “bare face” trend.
At Brandon Maxwell, Tom Pecheux focused on creating glamorous looks, which meant perfect but not cakey skin, a hint of warm bronzer, and some glow thanks to strobe cream. The skin was also properly bronzed and contoured at Alberta Ferretti, especially below the cheekbones and along the temples.
We also saw slightly heavier face makeup at Marc Jacobs, Richard Malone, and Versace.
#4. Classic No-Makeup Makeup
You really can’t go wrong with a natural makeup look. Perfected and enhanced, but not visibly made up – it’s flattering for everyone and totally timeless.
Naturally, the look at Burberry relied on Burberry brand makeup for a natural look. Foundation was applied in a very thin layer to appear invisible, along with a nude lipstick and just mascara for the eyes.
Most of the models at Chanel also wore a true no-makeup makeup look, with barely-there foundation, a touch of mascara, and a wash of soft, rosy blush. At Alexander McQueen, the focus was on making the face look fresh, with a hint of blush but minimal foundation or eye makeup.
A hint of neutral pink on the cheeks or lids is a quick and easy way of making the complexion look more youthful and livelier, which is perfect for countering the cold weather. This was one of the more adorable twists on light or bare fall/ winter 2020 makeup trends.
At Michael Kors, blush was applied generously to the cheeks, while the rest of the makeup remained very soft and natural.
The look at Missoni was a bronzed rose smokey eye with matching lips and no mascara. To give it an artsy twist, a few models also had an elongated line of eyeliner drawn on beneath their lower lash line.
A combination of pink and orange eyeshadow at Bora Aksu had a playful effect since from a distance, the two bright shades work together to appear softer even though they’re quite vivid individually.
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Beauty Trends: Eye Makeup
#6. Grungy and Smokey Eye Makeup
The grungy looks for the fall 2020 makeup trends were as dark and smudgy as any reformed goth or punk would like, but with a little less of those ‘90s vibes we noticed in the last couple of seasons.
The “fatigue-chic” take on grunge makeup at Dries van Noten was a colorful one, with a smudgy and smokey yellow-green eyeshadow that was applied in a rectangular shape to add that much-needed purposeful effect.
The black smokey eye at Max Mara was extra smudgy and messy, almost to the point where it appeared tear-stained. If you’re not a blending pro, this look should be pretty easy to achieve.
We also saw some grunge-inspired makeup looks at Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Olivier Theyskens, and Emilio Pucci.
#7. Gold Glam
Metallics ruled on the runways for the fall/ winter 2020-2021 makeup trends, with gold as the king.
Gold was used at Tory Burch to enhance a soft and pretty makeup look. A thin layer of gold eyeshadow was applied to the lid and inner corner of the eye, while the crease was contoured with a neutral brown.
We saw a similar but slightly smokier look at Tom Ford, with a more saturated gold on the lid, a slightly metallic brown in the crease, and a healthy layer of smudged black eyeliner all around the eye.
For Christian Cowan, makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench used gold to create glamorous eyeshadow looks paired with metallic lips, as well as more conceptual face paint. We saw more high-concept makeup looks at Lutz Huelle, and The Blonds.
#8. Jewel-Tone Eyes
Jewel tones are a perfect way to play with color in your fall 2020 makeup looks without taking away any sophistication from your look. They are more interesting than earth tones, but they are still more mature than intense vivids.
Everyone was talking about the metallic two-tone eyeshadow wings at Altuzarra. Tom Pecheux first designed the wing with a liner and then topped it with an amethyst shadow in the inner half and an emerald shadow in the outer half.
It was all about the two-tone metallics at Prada as well, although they were drawn over the crease in a more conceptual block shape. At Anna Sui, grungy emerald eyes were paired with dark berry lips for a “more is more” look.
#9. Glitter Eyes
A touch of glitter was a major trend in the spring, and a few makeup artists decided to keep it going for the fall 2020 makeup looks. This wasn’t the glitziest season of all, but it still had a bit of playful shine.
The glitter-enhanced look was as subtle as can be at Christopher Kane. A gloss with silvery bits of glitter embedded in it was applied to the lids, adding a hint of shimmer that could only be identified from up-close.
The second subtler glitter look was at Gabriela Hearst, where gold shimmer was packed neatly over the lid. Silver glitter was loaded up under the eyes at Vivetta in a style that reminded us of a few looks from last season.
The only way to describe the use of glitter at Marni is over-the-top and absurd. The models looked as though they had been drenched with a glitter, which covered their dampened hair and was also splattered over their forehead, nose, and cheeks.
For the fall 2020 makeup looks, makeup artists focused on the eyes when it came to three-dimensional appliqués.
The two most memorable appliqué looks were at Giambattista Valli and Halpern. For the Valli show, crystals were glued in a circle shape around models’ eyes, covering their brows like oversized glasses.
Jewel appliqués were similarly applied around the eyes at Halpern, although here, only one eye was adorned, and the crystals used came in a few different shades.
There were other examples of appliqués, like the looped string at Antonio Marras or little crystals dotted to enhance the winged eye makeup at Valentino. The Dion Lee, Rixo, and Paula Knorr runways also featured some appliqués.
#11. The Outer Wing
The most interesting eyeliner trend to inspire your fall 2020 makeup ideas was what we’re calling an outer wing. Instead of that upward pointing winged eyeliner that’s only applied to the top lash line, makeup artists instead brought the wing a hint lower to connect it to the underliner, and in general, made sure to emphasize the outer corner of the eye.
The most classic and wearable example came from the otherwise outrageous Richard Quinn runway. We saw a thicker and slightly smudged example of this eyeliner look at Christian Dior.
At Miu Miu and Moschino, the outer corner wing was more elongated and dramatic, which you can get inspired by for those nights when you want to get creative.
#12. Winged Liner
Winged eyeliner is here to stay. The eyeliner technique has incredible longevity, and for the fall/ winter 2020-2021 makeup trends, it showed up mostly in the form of larger-than-normal wings.
On the classic side of things, we had the beauty look at Dolce & Gabbana, which included thin and sharp winged eyeliner along with either nude, dark, or red lips. The winged eyeliner at Rag & Bone was extra-long and dramatic. It was exactly the kind of intense wing that looked so sharp it could cut.
Finally, we spotted some elegant, retro-inspired wings at the time-traveling Marc Jacobs show.
#13. Floating Crease Liner
Sure, there were some hippie and mod fashions on the runways, but ‘60-inspired fall 2020 makeup trends were even more common. What we noticed a lot of was the floating crease liner, which works as a modern, theatrical interpretation of ‘60s eyeshadow.
The interpretation of ‘60s liner was very conceptual at Valentino, and perhaps also inspired by eyeliner wings à la Black Swan. There was a minimalist take on the crease liner at Stella McCartney, with delicate floating eyeliner applied along the outer half of the crease and then winged out.
Lastly, at Celine, a few models rocked Twiggy-inspired eye makeup, with a smoked-out line in the crease paired with a healthy layer of mascara on the bottom lashes.
#14. Artsy Black Liner
The talented makeup artists of the fashion world don’t need fancy cosmetics to get creative. Black eyeliner provided the perfect tool for stretching the imagination and designing unique fall 2020 makeup looks.
Things got really creative at Yohji Yamamoto, where Pat McGrath drew sketchy and evocative black designs around the eyes that even went up into the forehead and temples. The black liner stood out even more because the face was made pale with a white foundation.
One of the more striking eye makeup looks at Gucci relied on heavy, smudgy eyeliner that ran down the cheeks to make the face look tear-streaked. We also saw unique, extra-thick eyeliner shapes at Marco de Vincenzo, Toga, and Vera Wang (where black feathers were attached at the outer corner to replace wings).
#15. Brown Smokey Eyes
A brown smokey eye has the same sultry effect as a black one, but it’s not as dark or intense, which makes it more suitable in nearly all circumstances.
The brown eyeshadow at Givenchy was applied in varying levels of intensity from model to model, but the overall shape was extremely classy, with the shadow blended into the crease, the outer corner of the eye, and under the lash line (in lieu of liner) in a smokey and eye-elongating shape.
A gentle and diffused taupe smokey eye added a hint of depth to the eyes of quite a few of the models at Chanel, helping to break up the very soft and natural beauty look of most models. Lastly, at Longchamp, we saw a slightly deeper brown smokey eye paired with a healthy layer of black pencil liner.
#16. Gold Leaf
A few makeup artists seemed to be on the same wavelength when it came to avant-garde but not over-the-top looks. The most common non-makeup material for the fall 2020 beauty trends was gold leaf, or rather, metallic leaf since it came in a few colors.
Gold leaf added a hint of luxury at Adeam, where it was applied over the top lash line like an eyeliner appliqué. The use of gold leaf was a little wilder at Preen, where it was applied in larger strips over the forehead, sides of the face, and even the ears.
At Erdem, a silver-colored gold leaf-like material was glued over the lids in lieu of eyeshadow, giving a new meaning to the word “foil eyeshadow.” Lastly, at Simone Rocha, reflective foil in red, black, or pink was applied over the eyes in patches to echo the fall 2020 jewels models were wearing.
#17. Neon Brights
Colorful eyeshadows can help add a bit of brightness to a cold day, so it was nice to see so many vivid fall 2020 makeup ideas. The shadows were definitely used in a more artistic way, with a few purposefully smudgy options.
The makeup at Matty Bovan was probably the most memorable, with heavy circles of shadow in shades like bright pink, drawn and filled in all around the eyes.
We also loved the makeup at Ashish, which had to compete with a totally sequined collection of bright dresses. Each model rocked a slightly different multi-colored cut-crease, with vivid shades like neon blue, pink, and purple all used.
There were lots more colorful makeup looks at Charlotte Knowles, Self-Portrait, Tadashi Shoji, Chromat, and Ulla Johnson.
#18. Classic Blue Eyeshadow
Admittedly, we don’t think blue eyeshadow could ever be described as “classy,” but since classic blue was this year’s Pantone Color of the Year, we’re not surprised that blue eyeshadow became one of the fall 2020 makeup trends.
Vivid, matte blue eyeshadow was applied across the lids and up into the crease at Tadashi Shoji in a look that should have been childish, but thanks to the clean lines in the outer corners and very mature use of bronzer and nude lipstick, the look ended up being quite sophisticated.
A few of the models at Prabal Gurung sported what felt to us like a corrupted ‘60s eye, with light blue shadow on the lid paired with exaggerated and elongated winged eyeliner. Bella Hadid sported a similar makeup look at Miu Miu, and while otherwise, there wasn’t a lot of blue used, when one of the Hadid sisters wears something, we can’t help but notice.
#19. Colorful Mascara
If you still have a tube of colorful mascara sitting around from last season – well, throw it out, it’s been too long, but then go out and buy a new one! Makeup artists had fun with colorful mascara almost as much as they did with eyeshadow.
We spotted quite a few models sporting hot pink mascara at Off-White, along with an otherwise very clean face. At Ulla Johnson, the eye makeup look consisted of blue lashes and brown eyeshadow, a color combination that is reminiscent of the earth and sky.
#20. Spiky Lashes
Spiky lashes are dramatic and wonderfully effective for opening up the eye, giving a doll eye effect that is not overly sweet. They worked well with the ‘60s theme on the runway, but truthfully they could work with most fall 2020 makeup ideas.
For a few models at Rodarte, dark lips and pale skin weren’t enough, so a few extra-long individual false lashes at the center and outer corner of the eye added some flutter.
The spiky lashes at Molly Goddard were achieved with mascara that was applied to look intentionally clumpy. On the lower lashes, this still opened up the eye well but also gave some grunge vibes. We also spotted spiky lashes at Celine, and Lanvin.
#21. Oddly Defined Brows
No one wants those skinny, rounded ‘20s brows to come back in fashion, but we didn’t mind the theatrical touch of emphasizing existing brows along the top with a dark shade.
A few of the models at Prabal Gurung had the top of their brow defined with a dark brown pencil, while the eyes were heavily lined and smoked out in a definite reference to the Jazz Age.
The models on the runway of NYFW newcomer Tia Adeola actually had their brows blocked and then drawn on in a thin line above where they would have naturally been, for a more face-changing effect.
At Anrealage, some models had their brows bleached completely, while others got the thin line for emphasis.
#22. No Brows
On other runways, artists decided to forego brows altogether for that creepy-chic look.
In some instances, it was simply that a model already came with bleached brows, which artists decided not to interfere with, which was the case for Yilan Hua, who walked on 35 runways this season, including Giambattista Valli, Erdem, and many others.
There were a few different beauty looks at Gucci, from soft and natural to dark and dramatic, but on a few models who wore lighter makeup, the brows had also been bleached for a truly nude effect.
There were alien vibes at Haider Ackermann, thanks to the oddly spherical hair, and bleached brows along with a high, choppy hairline certainly helped emphasize the otherworldliness.
#23. Bushy Brows
Models with bushy brows have always been iconic, and for the fall 2020 makeup trends, makeup artists celebrated them with feathery brow-filling techniques and lots of upward brushing.
Makeup artist Lucia Pieroni was definitely going for “bushy” and “feathery” at Rochas, where the brows weren’t darkened but just strengthened with a bit of product, serving as the main point of focus. Brows were also emphasized and fluffed up at Victoria Beckham, where they complemented a very natural beauty look.
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Beauty Trends: Lip Makeup
#24. Bitten Lips
The bitten or freshly kissed lipstick look has become really popular on the runways in recent seasons, possibly thanks to K-beauty trends. The fashion week makeup artists inspired by it took it to a whole new place, where bitten lips showed up in all kinds of colors.
We saw a vampy take on messy, bitten lips at Fendi, where makeup artist Peter Phillips used a matte lipstick in a deep plum tone without lip liner. The lip line was slightly smudged to give that diffused effect, but it wasn’t overly messy.
Most models at Chloé were bare-lipped, but a few sported a reverse ombre-style lip, with a deep brick-brown applied to the center of the lips and then blended out into a warm, rosy shade.
Lastly, at 16Arlington, we saw the softest take on bitten lips, with a bit of a peachy lipstick applied in a dab right at the center of the lips and then minimally faded out.
#25. Hot Red Lips
On the runways, red lips make perfect sense. They stand out, even from a distance, they add glamour but will never look dated, and they can help punctuate or add differentiation on runways where most of the makeup is more natural.
About half of the models at Jason Wu wore the same cool, bright red shade. It was a great example of how one color can look very different (but still flattering) from skin tone to skin tone.
Models looked like retro movie stars at MSGM, thanks to overdrawn lips filled in with a glossy, neutral red. The effect was retro-glam at Marc Jacobs as well, where a few models also sported red lips.
We saw a more restrained red lip at Jil Sander. The matte lipstick was a little deeper, but not so deep as to appear vampy, with a hint of brown pigment that brought it down to earth.
We saw more red lips at Brock Collection, Dolce & Gabbana, and Dries van Noten.
#26. Dark Lips
Dark lipstick was a very important part of the vampy fall 2020 makeup looks. Most darker lipstick shades leaned towards the cool, eggplant side, and makeup artists gave the option of leaving them matte or topping them with some gloss.
Models at Rodarte had a striking appearance, with extremely clean skin, minimal eye makeup, and a deep aubergine lipstick with a satin finish. Dark lips were given a sexy, glossy look on the LaQuan Smith runway. The burgundy shade was topped with a very reflective gloss, and the overall look paired well with just slightly defined eyes.
Models also wore dark lipstick at Chocheng, Anna Sui, and Emilio Pucci.
#27. Glossy Lips
Glossy, lush lips are back to enhance your fall 2020 makeup ideas. Whether applied over bare lips or over lipstick, gloss adds a sexy dimension to any makeup look.
At Off-White and Lanvin, lip gloss was applied over bare (or at-least, bare-looking) lips, for that naturally sheened look. The subtle makeup look at Christopher Kane featured that same gloss that was used on the eyes also on the lips.
The deep rose lips at Badgley Mischka would have been stunning with any finish, but gloss helped them really stand out under the runway lights. We also noticed glossy lips at Chanel and Simone Rocha.
Photos via Vogue, Livingly