At last, spring is on its way. After possibly the longest winter of all time, it’s time to pack away those cozy layers and muted color palettes and step out into the sunshine. Trust me—things are looking bright. It’s not just our wardrobes that will be embracing a cheery seasonal shift, either. Though I’m often conflicted about beauty trends—preferring instead a more year-round approach to skincare staples and tried-and-tested products—I’m definitely embracing a more playful approach to makeup and haircare for spring. After all, with brighter days ahead of us in all senses, what better time to step outside your comfort zone and enjoy a little beauty experimentation?
Ahead, I’ve spoken to experts in all things makeup, skincare, hair, and nails to narrow down the beauty trends that will be everywhere this spring. From rainbow color palettes and glossy skin to parting switch-ups and pastel nails, these are the trends that will look just as great on your Instagram feed as they do in real life.
Keep scrolling for the 12 biggest beauty trends for spring 2021.
After a dark and dreary winter, I’m delighted that the experts I spoke to were unanimous on one thing: Color is making a comeback for spring 2021. Yes, we’re emerging from the darkness into a kaleidoscope of rainbow brights and poppy pastels. “There’s something beautifully optimistic this season,” says Dominic Skinner, global senior artist at MAC. “Retro pastels are making a comeback, but with a modern vibrancy, which is both incredibly chic but also fun. Purples, lilacs, blues and aquas playfully pop against peaches and corals. It’s Guy Bourdin meets summer of love.” “Spring signals the beginning of the blossom of color. This year will be no different in the world of makeup,” agrees Nicholas Lujan, director of artistry & education at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. “Colors like pinks, yellows, and blues will be big for eyes and lips this spring and rolling into summer.”
While admittedly fun, adding color to your makeup bag can feel a little overwhelming if you’re used to a more pared-back approach to beauty. So if you’re looking for the best place to start, then pinks and reds are a great starting point, and they look beautiful on all skin tones. “I’m using a lot of watermelon and raspberry shades on the lips, cheeks, and eyes at the moment,” says Kay Montano, a Chanel makeup artist. “I adore the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Extrême in Eclosion. It’s not red; it’s not tangerine. It’s the most beautiful shade in the middle, a rich watermelon.”
With the wearing of face masks set to continue into spring 2021, it will come as no surprise that long-wear makeup formulations are top of consumers’ wish lists. The obvious choice for products that stay put? Matte textures. Yes, shine-free formulas previously reserved for winter will be everywhere this spring—but with a twist. “Matte textures aren’t leaving us just yet, but the term ‘modern matte’ is being mentioned a lot more,” explains Skinner. “Traditionally, ‘matte’ has the notion of being flat, heavy, and dry, but modern matte is more wearable, lightweight, and conditioning than that.”
“I’m also loving velvet textures on the lips,” says Montano. To keep your look feeling spring fresh, it’s all about mixing and matching your makeup finishes for modern results. “Velvet lips, dewy cheeks, and satin eyes,” advises Montano.
While we’ll be gravitating towards velvet-matte lip products for the season ahead, we can expect base products to be geared towards glow for spring because radiant, healthy-looking skin is where it’s at. “Spring 2021 is right around the corner, and dewy natural skin is in,” confirms Nicole Faulkner, director of global artistry at Morphe. “Let those freckles shine through and embrace your natural sheen using a water-based, sheer foundation. Pro tip: If you’re on the oily side, use a translucent powder in your T-zone to help absorb oils.”
Hybrid foundations with skincare benefits will be trending as consumers seek to genuinely create a dewy-skin look with a combination of coverage and kind-to-skin ingredients. Neil Young, Givenchy UK makeup ambassador, recommends applying your base product “with fingers rather than a brush,” to achieve that natural-looking, healthy-skin finish. “The warmth of your fingers helps to melt all the active ingredients of the formula into the skin to leave your complexion glowing,” he adds.
Supersized fringes are set to be one of the biggest hair trends for spring/summer 2021, but it’s the softer, wispy take on the trend that everyone will be stepping out in first. “I think the curtain bang is here to stay this spring,” predicts Chris Appleton, Color Wow’s global creative director. “They are much softer than a full-on fringe and are an easy way to give hair a fresh look without having to style it too much.”
“To style, take the bang section of hair and spray with a hair volumizer like Color Wow’s Raise the Root,” explains Appleton. “With a medium round brush, wrap the hair around the brush away from the face. Hit with the hairdryer for 10-20 seconds and release.”
Not all of spring’s biggest hair trends have to involve chopping in a new fringe. Turns out, a quick switch of your parting from the center to the side will have your strands instantly ready for the season ahead. “We saw a lot of swept-back side-partings in the spring/summer 2021 shows, particularly at Chanel and Miu Miu, so I can see this becoming a popular style this spring,” says George Northwood, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Undone. “I’ve always been a huge advocate of this style, and although, initially, it can be quite an editorial look, there are some easy tips and tricks to make it a bit more of an everyday style.”
“If you don’t usually wear your hair in a side-parting, you may need to coax it into place slightly,” advises Northwood. “You can do this by using a hair dryer. Once you’ve parted the hair, use the heat to almost set your new parting in place.”
Unsurprisingly, with so much time spent apart from our hairdressers, one of the biggest hair trends for spring is a renewed focus on hair health with detoxifying and protective products set to be at the top of our shopping lists. “I feel as though spring will be the chance for us to reinvent our dull lockdown hair,” says Northwood. “Time and again, I hear women complaining about their hair feeling greasy and heavy. They have most likely been overindulging on heavier products such as hair masks when their hair didn’t need so much nourishing. This means that, over time, their hair has an intense build-up of product, which is weighing it down.”
To counteract hair heaviness, look for clarifying or detoxifying shampoo formulas that wash away product build-up, resulting in light, airy strands. If your hair needs a little extra nourishment, then seek out treatments and masks that are specially designed to penetrate the hair shaft and work to repair damage from within—rather than coating hair with unwanted residue.
Stress is fast emerging as one of the biggest adversaries to our overall skin health in 2021, with its impact being attributed to everything from adult acne to eczema. The solution? Slow beauty routines, gentle formulations and specialist treatments to precisely target skin concerns. “It’s not just maskne. Stress can trigger flare-ups of things like eczema, rosacea, and skin rashes as well as breakouts and general skin sensitivity and irritation,” explains Tiffany Salmon, founder of Glow Hub. “With everyone’s stress levels at an all-time high, calming, comforting, and de-stressing ingredients for skin and mind are going to take center stage.”
“We’ve learned from 2020 that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution [to skin],” explains Ziad Halub, head of global training at Patchology. “For spring, everyone will want a targeted solution on hand. For me—and those who are blemish prone like me—it’s Patchology’s The Good Fight Mini Mask to tackle maskne and any unforeseen breakouts.”
One of the most decadent spring beauty trends has to be the rise in consumers investing in luxury skincare tools. With rolling salon closures still affecting those in the US and abroad, we are seeking ways to re-create that salon-standard experience at home. “We’re getting extremely savvy with what we invite onto our bathroom shelves—and not only from a cost perspective but also with results. We’re expecting more from the items we decide to invest in,” explains Chris Luckham, head of education for Foreo UK and Ireland. “Multitasking tools, I believe, will be the focus for everyone this year. In short, at-home tools are easily… the next best thing to in-salon treatments, so they’re a great way to maintain skin health while we’re either not able to go to the salon or too busy.”
But with some of this spring’s trending skincare tools coming in with three-digit price tags, are they really worth it? After all, many skin experts tout the benefits of a good cleanse using a flannel or muslin cloth, and I’m in agreement that basic is best. “As with everything, consistency is key, so it’s important to use these devices a few times a week for the best results,” says Luckham. Yes, they’re spendy, but if you are looking to treat yourself this spring, then these high-tech tools just might take your routine to the next level.
There’s one skincare product that tends to re-emerge around the same time that spring daffodils start to bloom each year: face mists. And 2021 is no different. Packed with ingredients designed to boost glow, lift the spirits, and generally feel delightful to use, a face mist will be a welcome addition to our spring skincare routines.
“It’s my current lockdown must-have,” says Salmon. “There’s one in my bathroom cupboard and one thrown in every bag for on-the-go misting. Who doesn’t feel instantly refreshed and uplifted after a quick spritz of a glow-inducing face mist?”
Much like our makeup bags, our nails will be embracing color this spring, with fresh, bright pastels top of the list. “Think mint green pastels and yellows inspired by Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating,” says Emolyne Ramlov, founder of Emolyne.
In terms of finish, it’s all about sheeny formulas and a mix-and-match approach to nail art. “Metallic under-hues are set to make an appearance and mismatched nail colors—along with natural, beautiful classic manicures,” predicts Ramlov.
For a more low-maintenance approach to wearing color on your nails, try painting just the tips with a more vibrant hue. “Multi-coloured French nail tips are going to be a big trend to brighten up your neutral and natural shades,” explains Carla Opoku, founder of Cienna Rose. “This is a beautiful remake of a classic that we’re all familiar with, and it’s a really simple way to add a touch of colour to your mani.”
“Simply apply your favorite natural base shade, then add a thin line of your chosen color at the tip of your nail,” explains Opoku.
We can’t talk about nail trends without talking about our hands. The general consensus amongst nail and skin experts? Our hands are well overdue a little TLC in 2021. “You can expect to hear more about handcare this year due to the rise in sanitizer usage,” explains Ramlov. “With nail salons [currently] closed, we are having to work harder to look after our hands and nails.”
Opoku recommends thinking of handcare as “the new self-care… That means more natural repair and rejuvenating hand, nail and cuticle products, and that includes nail polishes that have added benefits.”
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK. Up next, Nordstrom Is Currently a Gold Mine of 2021 Beauty Trends—Here’s What I’d Buy