Hair and beauty experts predict we'll be returning to glam in 2021

The big beauty trend for 2021 (or when this is over) will be a return to glam, according to the experts.

2020 hasn’t been a year for getting glam in any sense of the word, be it to go out-out or even for a day in the office.

Rather, we’ve been cooped up at home donning the same loungewear from yesterday while our makeup – sitting pretty – expires and our hair grows out.

Beauty trends often reflect what’s happening culturally and socially (think smudged thick eyeliner in the 90s grunge era), so it makes sense that as we edge closer to the return of normality a significant shift will be seen. 2021 is likely to go down as an important year in modern beauty history.

This shift, predicted by many of the industry’s biggest names, is a return to glam and renewed sense of excitement for using beauty as self-expression.

But it won’t be glam as we know it – instead, it’s modernised and refreshed.

The trend will be seen across makeup, hair and even fragrance. Here’s how the experts think it’ll play out, along with tips to embody the trend yourself.

Makeup

Terry Barber, MAC Cosmetic’s Director of Makeup Artistry says entering a new decade – as strangely as we did – often sees new trends emerge.

She said: ‘People are desperate for a new way to express themselves and there’s this feeling of wanting to break the template that’s been created by social media.

‘People want new ways of beautifying themselves and for it to be self-owned rather than dictated by “correct” ways of doing things.’

For Terry, it’s about a move away from the ‘intensely snatched’ Instagram looks that have dominated the beauty scene.

Instead, it’s a new kind of glam that’s ‘going back to things having a softer edge and blown out feel’.

We’re about to see a ‘return of effortless beauty – effortless doesn’t mean nothingness, it can mean glamour. It’s cool, self-assured, and not pin-point perfection.’

Terry says the kind of glam we’ll be seeing more of isn’t theatrical and all-encompassing.

She adds: ‘I don’t think it’s about nostalgia. I think we’re looking at the heritage of what glamour and beauty are again.

‘There will be a lot of references to the 50s, 60s and 70s, especially now as there’s more of a focus on the eyes being the mask-wearing generation.’

In the 50s people adopted swept eyeliner, in 60s the eyes were big and lash-heavy, and the in disco era 70s there were lots of jewel tones.

Terry predicts elements of this will be increasingly seen.

‘People are finding those references exciting again, rather than everything being beige, brown and bronze – it’s become a bit of a standard and I think people are bored with it.’

For those wanting to add a touch of glamour to their looks, Terry says there are options particularly with the eyes.

You could try a false lash that’s ‘tailored to the eyes and is more feathery for a 60s doe-eyed feel’.

But if that’s too fiddly, take a jewel tone like emerald or amethyst and try that on the eyelid. The texture shouldn’t be a chunky glitter, instead go for a creamy metallic or frost finish that’s offered in MAC’s Dazzleshadow formula in nearly every colour under the sun.

Or, if you’re nervous about bold colour try Bobbi Brown Luxe Eye Quad using the topaz shade and opt for a classic feline flick drawn from the centre of the eyelid, rather than the full way across.

This creates an almond shape and moves away from a spiked and perfected line.

The reason Terry says to go for metallic finishes is because they ‘pick up the light’ – a rule of thumb that will apply to base makeup too.

Go for dewy skin and lighter textures as Terry says to focus on ‘enhancement’ over full cover.

‘People want their foundation and concealer products to look like their skincare,’ he says while explaining that 2021 glam trends work in tandem with showing natural skin too.

The final key to the glam trend is to focus on one feature then dial down the rest of the face. Terry calls this the ‘new rule of balance’.

That doesn’t mean to say you can’t do a lip and an eye at the same time – in fact, Terry thinks we’re heading into ‘a period of both.

She says: ‘It’s doing a full face but the lip colour is maybe more transparent or a glaze.’

For example, if you do a nude lip pat the colour in with your finger so your ‘natural lip colour comes through’.

Hair

Like Terry, celebrity hair stylist Paul Edmonds is also a bit bored of loungewear and is seeing this attitude in his clients too.

Hair trends for 2021 will be a nod to old Hollywood glamour styles that were wavy, full-bodied and glossy.

‘Talking to my clients, they’re a bit bored with looking the same. A lot of people have grown their hair longer and are finding it needs more maintenance,’ Paul says.

The effortless trend in makeup will read in hair too as people want their styles too look ‘done but easy’. There’s also a greater emphasis on curls and texture.

For those wanting to keep long hair, Paul thinks layers will be important for having the hair look glamorously full yet feel lightweight.

He says: ‘A graduated front lifts up the hair and allows it to get that wavy look while not being too heavy.

‘For longer hair, people want the variation so they can be more than one person and have different personas for what they’re wearing.’

Having longer layered hair means it looks ‘shaggy’ and effortless, but then can also be tonged for a loose Hollywood wave.

Paul says tongs are an easy tool to use at home to achieve the look, what with ‘everyone watching YouTube and tutorials’ over the pandemic.

Just be sure to use heat protection, like Shu Uemura Color Lustre Thermo-Milk.

One key break from Hollywood-inspired glamour is that hair should still be free-flowing and not ‘heavy set’. Paul explains: ‘People want to put their fingers through their hair and feel sexy.’

For those wanting a shorter style, Paul is predicting more cuts up to the collarbone and up above the shoulders as people grow tired of the maintenance required by long hair.

The difference is ‘people want to take their hair off their face’, so rather than go for a flat heavy fringe, people want their hair to be full and swept back – either with styling products or accessories like securing hair with bows (a trend that’s steadily grown over the last two years).

Try Living Proof Weightless Mask which gives a glossy finish and volume so it’s easier to style.

Paul says ‘glamour is all about the finish’, so if a new cut feels too radical right now, adding some gloss will instantly elevate a look.

Fragrance

Less about obvious old-school glam and about more about self-expression, Josh Carter and Samuel Gearing of Fiole, a custom fragrance finder, believe ‘2021 will be the year of individuality’.

They say: ‘When we are finally allowed back out to see our friends and family, expressing ourselves through every aspect of what we wear, fragrance will be the ultimate accessory.’

A big part of this will be wanting a scent that is noticeable.

Josh and Samuel add: ‘Perhaps more interestingly, many of the people who think they are looking for a rich, heavy scent are actually just looking for a fragrance that will stand out.

‘Brighter scents tend to make more of a statement when they’re worn.’

People are discovering how to give off the impression they want, and switching up your fragrance is a way to do that.

Fiole allows people to road-test multiple fragrances at home – shopping like this will see a move away from the singular ‘signature scent’ as people look to be more exploratory.

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