Colour cosmetics: what's hot

Emily Hunter reveals the top make-up trends for autumn/winter 2015 and predicts what’s next in colour cosmetics

There’s no better way to capture the zeitgeist of a season than to look to the catwalks, which give us a glimpse of the colour trends we’re likely to witness in the coming months. At autumn/winter 2015 Fashion Weeks all over Europe, a “glam grunge” make-up look featured heavily, including at Roberto Cavalli and Issa. Kirstin Piggott, Rimmel London global make-up artist, explains: “This is all about cool, sultry eyes with heavily kohl-rimmed waterlines and defined lashes, finished off with glossy skin and a beautiful, glossy nude lip.”

At Giles and Emanuel Ungaro, the look was more extreme, with “goth” manifesting itself in a modern way – smoky eyes were paired with dark lips. Sharon Dowsett, Maybelline UK make-up director, explains: “Dark lips don’t have to be black – dark colours look black from a distance, so customers can flatter their inner goth with dark grape and plum shades.”

Rimmel also identifies berry lips as a trend, with Piggott marking out the “anti-red lip” as “super flattering for autumn/ winter ’15”.

In stark contrast, Maybelline highlights the “new nude” as another key trend for lips. Opting for a nude two shades lighter then their natural lip colour will flatter your customers’ skin tones and leave lips glowing, according to Dowsett. With five natural shades from neutral pink to rich beige, Maybelline New York’s Color Sensational Stripped Nudes Collection (pictured, RRP £6.99 each) has the perfect shade to suit any skin tone.

For eyes, navy and denim shades are on-trend for the colder months. Lizzie Jenner, group marketing and communications manager at Swallowfield, says: “We are looking at a laid back, relaxed look, with denim blue as the key colour, combined with natural tones for an earthy, outdoors feel.”

For the complexion, a winter tan is the order of the day. Dowsett explains: “A year-round tan gives the impression of a transatlantic, jet setter’s lifestyle that can be achieved without even leaving the house. A touch of bronzer is the perfect winter pick-me-up, but mastering this make-up can be a lesson in restraint. Recommend that customers go just one shade darker than their complexion and use a modern matt powder, such as Maybelline New York Dream Terra Sun Bronzing Powder (RRP £6.49), which blends seamlessly and lends definition to the face.”


“The anti red lip is super flattering for autumn/winter ’15.”

Kirstin Piggott, Rimmel London global make-up artist

The magic formula

The boundary between skincare and make-up is becoming increasingly blurred, and this is a trend that’s set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Jamie Mills, Datamonitor Consumer associate analyst, says: ”We’re definitely seeing more interest in more clinically inspired formulations. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, peptides and collagen, traditionally found in skincare, are all starting to make their way into the cosmetics space as consumers seek out products that don’t just temporarily improve the aesthetic appearance of their features, but can also provide long-term benefits, and even actively improve perceived beauty flaws.” Perricone MD’s No Blush Blush (RRP £29) is an example. As well as reacting to the skin’s individual chemistry to give a youthful flush of colour to cheeks, the formula contains DMAE and peptides to help sculpt, lift and define cheekbones while restoring volume to skin.

Naturally derived actives are also increasingly present in cosmetics formulas, says Mills: “Many on-trend superfoods are being incorporated into the cosmetics space to enhance product functionality and the overall offering, while also giving a novel point of differentiation. Ingredients such as quinoa, baobab and green tea are being seen within new cosmetic innovation. A great example of this is Clarins Everlasting Foundation+ (RRP £27.50), which features quinoa seed and bamboo extracts to protect from pollution and freeradical damage.”

In terms of finish, light and airy is the trend this season, according to Sarah Dorey, senior brand and marketing manager at SLG. “For autumn/winter ’15 we’re seeing more powdery finishes and lightly whipped creams for a softer, velvety matt look,” says Dorey. “There is also an increasing buzz around ‘transformative textures’ – think balm to powder and powder to cream – for the ultimate sensorial experience.”


“Superfoods are being encorporated into the cosmetics space to enhance product functionality and the overall offering, while also giving a novel point of differentiation.”

Jamie Mills, Datamonitor Consumer associate analyst

Future focus

Looking to next year, SLG’s Sarah Dorey has identified a number of emerging trends. “There are a few key macro trends starting to bubble up, and personalisation is one of these,” she says. “From monogrammed packaging to customisable lip colour with pH-reactive technology, consumers are increasingly seeking ‘fit me’ products.”

While not entirely new, cosmetics that react to the wearer’s personal skin chemistry are becoming more common, and innovative products such as Gosh Foundation Drops (RRP £12.99) are moving this market forward: drop by drop, the foundation can be built up to the wearer’s desired level of coverage, mixed with moisturiser, serum or primer to vary the skin finish, or combined with other shades for the ideal colour. Dorey adds: “From a colour perspective, as we look towards high summer 2016, a sub-aquatic palette will be key, inspired by underwater life and featuring reflective blues, sea greens and sheer jelly finishes.”

Without a doubt, a crucial story in the cosmetics market over the past year has been the epic rise of contouring, thanks to very public endorsement by celebrities including Kim Kardashian. Over the coming months, however, an altogether lighter and brighter trend will emerge, according to Lottie London group marketing and communications manager Olivia Cavill. “Clients are moving away from heavy contouring with dark shades and into ‘strobing’, a new way to enhance bone structure by using illuminators and highlighters. This is much easier to do at home: simply sweep illuminator over cheekbones, jaw line and down the bridge of the nose,” she says.

In wider market trends, the increasing merger of make-up with skincare is likely to continue as customers seek out cosmetics that offer long-term complexion benefits. Datamonitor’s Jamie Mills predicts: “In the UK, the foundations have been laid this year for many new trends, such as anti-pollution formulas, as consumers become increasingly aware of the impact of environmental aggressors. This is in response to the continued anti-ageing trend, which will continue to gain traction and we’re likely to see more exciting innovation angles to meet this need going forward.”

Expect sales of highlighters such as Sleek MakeUP Precious Metals Highlighting Palette (RRP £10) to increase as this trend takes off. With its variety of shades and formulas (three velvet cream and one powder), this versatile compact offers metallic luminescence to enhance the complexion.


“Clients are moving away from heavy contouring with dark shades and into ‘strobing’, a new way to enhance bone structure by using illuminators and highlighters.”

Olivia Cavill, Lottie London group marketing and communications manager


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