A is for… AI
Forget Chat GPT writing your essays for you: AI has entered the world of beauty. See Estée Lauder’s VMA app, powered by artificial intelligence, that helps the visually impaired to apply their make-up, or Perfect Corp’s Skin Emulation program that predicts how effective a skin treatment will be, based on an image of the customer. This year also saw the first ever Metaverse Beauty Week, confirming phygital beauty is here to stay.
B is for… balms
While the industry can’t reinvent the color wheel (hard as it might try), it can invent new ways to wear it. The latest innovations are buttery balms, developed to give us the freshest second-skin finish on cheeks, complexion and lids.
Animal testing for cosmetics was banned in the UK in 1998, but separate regulations that cover the safe use of chemicals means that some ingredients may actually still have been tested on animals. If you want to be totally sure, look for Cruelty Free International’s ‘Leaping Bunny’ mark which guarantees no animal testing.
Meanwhile, brands are using their lobbying power. ‘We’re working with our partners to establish how we can best use our business and influence to urge the UK and EU governments to commit to bringing a full ban back,’ says Chris Davis, director of activism and sustainability for The Body Shop.
When Louboutin launched its £70 lipsticks almost 10 years ago, many of us rolled our eyes. But they were onto something: customers who coveted the iconic red-soled shoes could buy into the brand at a lower price-point, and the launch was an instant sell out. In the decade since, others, such as Carolina Herrera and Hermès have followed suit. Watch this space for more of your favorite handbag brands entering the beauty hall in 2024…
E is for… expressive lashes
From Prada’s pastel feathers to Chet Lo’s spiky accents, AW23 did a U-turn on classic black mascara, embracing loud, spidery and maximalist lashes.
F is for… French fantasies
French girl beauty has never been more fashionable. Check out the UK’s latest Parisian import, Oh My Cream! for the ultimate chic-product edit, channel your inner Charlotte Gainsbourg with the new Les Filles en Rouje bronzer, and book a Eurostar ticket for a trip to Sézane, to snap up their debut beauty line, aptly named ‘La Beauté Parfaite’ (Perfect Beauty).
G is for… galaxy-core
AW23 is all about the celestial. From galactic metallic face art at Rodarte and Thom Browne, to both Anastasia Beverly Hills and Chantecaille taking inspiration from the cosmos for their latest releases, make-up this season is just other-worldly.
With graphic, brow-scraping bat wings and windows of negative space, this villain-ready eyeliner mask has transcended Men’s Fashion Week to become an AW23 make-up must-try.
I is for… invisi-blush
This season’s It blush shade is…completely clear, actually. PH-reactive technology in Espressoh’s dewy cheek tint transforms the transparent jelly into a gentle rosy hue that’s bespoke to you.
J is for…just bitten
These innovative blurs and stains give your lips a realistic, lived-in color that lasts. Think cloud-like textures with a comfortable, emollient feel and soft-focus, blotted finish.
K is for… knots (tied in)
Cute just got turned up to 11 courtesy of AW23’s obsession with bows, bows and more bows. Place high under your waterline for Simone Rocha-esque ribbon tears, sprinkle throughout your hair à la Sandy Liang or pair with a schoolgirl hairband, Dior style, to add a dash of kawaii.
L is for… loose powder 2.0
Ultra-clear particles help maintain a weightless, perfectly translucent finish in MAC’s blurring powder, which sets make-up without telltale signs of cakiness. Meanwhile, Jones Road’s tinted versions provide colour-correcting benefits.
M is for… micro pencils
It’s no secret that hair-fine pencil lines are the make-up artist cheat for faux fullness
in eyebrows. These ultra-precise new releases are the must-have tools for mastering those hyper-realistic foolproof strands.
N is for… nostalgia
TikTok’s obsession with all things 1990s and Y2K has led to the comeback of iconic products such as the Dior Rosy Glow Blush and Clinique’s Black Honey lipstick. The former returns with four new shades, while Black Honey is now available as a gloss and eye palette.
O is for… offline shopping
With Sephora returning to our shores and SpaceNK set to double the size of its Duke of York Square store in London, the days of arm swatching and adding to an IRL cart are back and better than ever.
P is for… pore patrol
When it comes to reducing the appearance of your pores, skincare is king. But new make-up offerings can be the refining, blurring icing on the cake. Benefit, the OGs of pore-minimizing make-up, now has a range dedicated to the task, from an ultra-light version of their original The PoreFessional cream to a setting spray.
Q is for… quiet luxury
Shhhh, it’s not really a post-facial glow, it’s our new foundation. The past decade has seen the rise of those heavy, looks-flawless-on-camera bases, which, outside Instagram, all too often translate to tide marks and over-applied product settling in pores. Thankfully, a new generation is going back to basics, with futuristic pigments that reflect light and textures that look like, well, skin.
R is for… refills
Whether you’re looking for a luxe, customizable compact or an accessible way to cut down on plastic, refillable beauty is no longer limited to your moisturiser, bubble bath and lipstick. From high end to high street, giving your make-up wardrobe a stylish second life has never been easier.
S is for…silver
A flash of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it silver is the minimalist take on metallics, as seen at Off-White, Chloé and Shiatzy Chen.
T is for… tool time
Many people, including those with restricted mobility, find beauty tools impossible to use. Kohl Kreatives are leading the charge with an entire range designed for people with motor disability. And coming soon is Lancôme’s ‘Hapta’, a motorized hand-held lipstick applicator with smart motion controls and magnetic attachments.
U is for…unpretty
It’s time to embrace your ‘unpretty’ era. Make-up anarchist Isamaya Ffrench’s looks included lavender monobrows at Vivienne Westwood, lollipop-painted tongues at Chet Lo and fish-scale foreheads at Dion Lee.
V is for… vamp-tastic
The angsty goth is all grown up and elevating her game face with artfully smudged smoky eyes and an impeccable midnight-hour lip. All on a complexion that appears (moon)lit from within.
W is for… winter bronzer
When it comes to tan, there’s a fine line between gorgeous and garish. To help, on the horizon are cream sticks and velvet powders designed to mimic what skin does in the sun, using pigments in skin-flush finishes to warm our faces.
X is for…XS vs. XL
Proving that brands are listening, they’ve started producing our faves in both mini versions (useful for hand-luggage rules)and whopper sizes for those of us who can’t get enough, from Chanel’s iconic bronzing cream made pocket-sized to enough Milk Make-up Primer to bathe in.
Y is for… yellow
We love a color trend that says you can wear whatever you like – as long as it’s yellow. From Post-it primrose to Colman’s Mustard, AW23 is accepting any shade of yellow, worn any which way – as a wash, dot or liner below or above the lash lines. We adore the interpretations at Chloé and Victoria Beckham, but would love it most if you went rogue.
Z is for… (Gen) Z
Gen Z’s experimental attitude to beauty has officially benched the Millennial make-up rulebook. Whether it’s eradicating matte finishes in the name of all things glazed, or veering between ‘ooh la la’ coquette blush and dishevelled 1990s grunge, next-gen creators are doing everyone a favor and making make-up fun again.