It’s been nearly two years since the world went figuratively dark at an unprecedented scale. Emerging from the ashes of what can only be described as a relentless dumpster fire, however, is a flurry of kaleidoscopic makeup that signals brighter days are (fingers crossed!) ahead. And creators of all kinds are channeling that optimism into brilliant beauty looks. 2021 makeup trends like rainbow lids, avant-garde appliqués, and explosions of glitter are erupting everywhere from the runway, to social media, and to the streets as lockdowns are cautiously lifted.
“So many things happened both externally and internally for everyone,” says Danessa Myricks, makeup artist and founder of an eponymous cosmetics line, Danessa Myricks Beauty, of the last 22 months. “Everyone is eager to step into the light!” The pro notes that this tumultuous period also provided many with a rare moment of reflection and introspection, resulting in a new commitment to live every day authentically and unapologetically. “We saw lives, careers, and freedoms lost without warning — it became so clear that tomorrow is not promised,” she adds. “There was a strong reaction to this; a need to rebel and unleash what has been suppressed or hidden. People are breaking rules and barriers by expressing themselves in ways they’ve always dreamed.”
Beauty History Never Fails To Repeat Itself
Turning to powder and paint in times of turmoil isn’t exactly a practice exclusive to the last 22 months. “For some, makeup is armor, and for others, it is a means of expression, but it’s always been a powerful tool throughout history,” says David Yi, author of Pretty Boys: Legendary Icons Who Redefined Beauty and co-founder of Good Light. For the Hwarang — fierce warriors in 6th century Korea who applied pearly face powder and fiery red eyeshadow before venturing into battle — beautifying was a “spiritual practice,” he notes. “Makeup was also a way for many LGBTQIA folx to feel liberated and they would risk their lives to do so,” he adds, citing William Dorsey Swann, America’s first self-identifying drag queen and queer activist, who was routinely punished and imprisoned for challenging the gender binary during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
“If you think about what’s happening now — economic chaos and social despair — people are still finding solace in controlling how they look and present in the world,” Yi explains. The key difference between the past and present is that “society has become much more inclusive, and self-expression is being celebrated,” says Tyron Machhausen, a Chanel makeup artist.
In the post-lockdown era, …….