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2021 Makeup Trends That Will Dominate This Fall

Find out how to copy this season's best makeup looks.
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Now that fall is underway, it's the perfect time to attempt all the makeup trends you've been meaning to try. While a full face of makeup can feel out of place during summer — or at least more likely to melt off — there's nothing to hold you back once September rolls around.

If you've been itching to get more adventurous with your makeup lately, you're not alone. "After almost two years of lockdowns, restrictions, and varying degrees of confinement, we are shifting our focus to the light, grabbing every opportunity to escape from our current reality, coloring our world vibrantly and taking risks more than ever before," says Danessa Myricks, makeup artist and founder of Danessa Myricks Beauty. Runway beauty looks at the most recent fashion week and search trends on Instagram and TikTok "have shown clear indications that we're living for bold expression of color, we're taking more makeup risks, are unapologetic about self-expression, and want to bring in a little light and sparkle to our world," she says. Now, doesn't that sound like the kind of vibe you can get behind?

Whether you're game to take some risks or want to try one of this season's subtler looks, these are the makeup trends of 2021 you should bookmark in your brain now.

Plum Lips

You likely already associate fall with deeper lip shades, and this year, plum is particularly taking off. "This trend super easy to execute at home," says Myricks. "Lean into your favorite finish, and explore deeper expressions of Plum." Pairing deep plum lips with a nude eye look can feel more approachable and daytime-friendly while glossy lids and false lashes can lend to a more intense look, she notes. Choose from options such as Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Mysterious Plum or Huda Beauty Power Bullet Cream Glow Hydrating Lipstick in Amore.

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Kitten Eyeliner

Cat eyeliner has been around, but "kitten eyeliner," a variation on the technique, is one of the top makeup trends right now, according to makeup artist Cara Lovello. Rather than drawing a line that extends well past the outer corner of your eye toward the tail of your brow, you create a mini flick. Grab a liquid eyeliner such as Haus Laboratories Liquid Eye-Lie-Ner or a gel formula such as Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel. Then, "instead of lining your entire upper lid, just try drawing a small flick from your lower lash line out and back to the outer part of the top lid," suggests Lovello. (Related: Fall 2021 Haircut Trends You're About to See Everywhere)

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Neon Pigment

If your makeup looks like you used a highlighter (as in the office supply, not the makeup product), you're right on the money with this fall makeup trend. Myricks has been noticing neon shades and other bold colors making the rounds on the runway and on the internet. "Even if you are not quite ready for a full lid of neon, pops of color in the inner corners of the eye or a hint of neon liner on the top and or bottom lash line is an easy way to try this trend," the makeup artist says. She suggests opting for picks such as Danessa Myricks Colorfix Eye, Cheek & Lip Cream Pigment in Carrot Top, or Waterproof Cushion Color in Electric Sun, which are blinding shades of orange and yellow, respectively. (Related: 6 Eye-Catching Beauty Trends to Try Post-Quarantine)

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Lip Gloss

In case you needed any more indication that the early 2000s are back, a lot of people have been opting to frost their lips with gloss recently, says Lovello. "Glossy lips look healthy, juicy, and plump," she says. "The only time I might skip the gloss is when using a bold lip color." (See: shades such as the deep plum mentioned above.) For a lasting glaze, go with an option such as Lime Crime Wet Cherry Lip Gloss or Kopari Coconut Lip Glossy.

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Face-Lifting Blush

Blush is nothing new, but one of the latest makeup trends is all about blush placement. A lot of people are piling on the blush, sweeping it from their cheekbones up to their temples, notes Lovello. (You may have noticed also a recent trend on TikTok with creators pointing out the lifting effect of applying blush higher on the cheeks, compared to applying blush to the apples of your cheeks.) Whether you prefer a liquid blush such as Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush or a powder such as Milani Baked Blush, you'll apply it to the upper part of your cheekbones, sweeping it upward. (Related: The 2021 Shape Beauty Awards: Best Makeup Products)

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Glittery Finishes

If you love a bit of sparkle, now's the time to embrace that. Glitter is in and it's time to leave behind the notion that it's only for 20-somethings, believes Myricks. "Easily capture this trend with multi-chrome shadows and liners or push the envelope and explore a fully textured lid using loose glitters or metallic flakes," she says. Try: Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow or NYX Professional Makeup Body Glitter. "Be playful and tap accents of these eye-catching finishes over a classic shadow," says Myricks, "or go full-on heavy metal by applying it over the entire mobile lid [everything that moves when you open and close your eyes]."

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