By: Cathy Christensen

Classic sophistication, featuring a perfect complexion, dark berry-colored lips and simple, beautiful eyes is on trend this season.

Note: We welcome guest blogsger Cathy Christensen to give us a detailed account of fall’s makeup trends, colors, and application. Spa La Posada features a Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio and our expert beauty consultants are available to help you with your makeup and skin care needs.

Colors and makeup both have an incredible ability to enhance a mood and make people feel better about themselves. During the past several years, as the United States has battled through poor economic conditions, this capability has never been more obvious. “People may not buy a new coat or shoes if they are pinching pennies, but cosmetics are a luxury they will allow themselves,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, color expert and founder of the Eiseman Color blogs. It is because of this that the consumer continues to look toward makeup trends for a pick-me-up and a way to feel beautiful without spending a lot of money. It is your role as a skin care professional to introduce them to new color and application trends, and customize them to meet each individual’s makeup needs and comfort levels, in your spa—a place where they already feel at ease.

Fall 2011 brings with it a level of sophistication and precise application that has been lacking in the cosmetic landscape for several years. According to Kevin James (KJ) Bennett, Emmy-winning celebrity makeup artist, “Fall’s cosmetic trends have a lot to do with the sophisticated, tailored, streamlined fashion collections of the season. Opulent, luxurious clothing calls for a polished look.”

Kevin Mendelson, global educator for Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, agrees, saying: “Last year, you saw more seismic shifts, but this season, there’s a balance. It’s still beautiful, pure color, but it’s not as neon as it was in the spring. It’s evolved into a more retro look. Color and structure are back in fashion and makeup.”

And supporting this evolution, beautiful colors are in this season’s color palette. “A lot of pretty fall colors are back. There are soft greens, purples, taupes, nutmeg and neutral colors,” says Julie Harris, celebrity makeup artist. Whether the focus is on the eyes or on the lips, this season, perfection is the name of the game.

Eyes: smoky or classic?

Previous seasons have seen the evolution of the smoky eye. With its origins in heavy black and gray eye liner and eye shadow around the eye, the smoky eye look began to include different colors, from darker browns and coppers to lighter pops of color during this past spring. Although it is still a popular look, it isn’t the stand-alone look for eyes this fall. The smoky eye continues to include color and is evolving once again to include exciting metallics, as well. “This season, smoky eyes are more metallic and are paired with light lipsticks that are more nude,” says Leslie Couanon, national trainer for Sothys. “Eyes are more sparkly and smoky.”

This look appeared on the fashion runways, as well. “While we saw a lot of intense color for spring around the eyes, those designers who opted to do anything smoky on the runway for Fall 2011 did all metallic,” says Bennett. “I found it very interesting because they used a lot of golds, gunmetals and silvery blue grays. If there was color included, it was toned down.”

An opposing look to the metallic smoky eye and pale lip for fall is the emergence of a more glamorous look reminiscent of 1940s Hollywood beauty featuring an extremely clean look for the eye paired with a strong, red lip. “The eyelid is totally clean,” stresses Bennett. “It’s done with a nude or pale eye shadow that is matte, with a hard line of dark eye liner on the top of the lid, beautiful lashes and nothing on the lower lid.” Interpreting the look, instead of a hard line that stops at the edge of the lid, the cat’s eye liner look is also making a comeback, with lots of lashes. “Lashes are a huge component for this season,” continues Bennett. “If you have a lot of black lining, you have to have a lot of lashes to go with it, otherwise the line doesn’t look anchored. You can’t do the line without the lash.”

Harris agrees that this look is definitely in. “The neutral eye using creamier and softer beige tones and two coats of mascara or adding individual lash extensions is in. I put mascara on the bottom lashes as well to make the look more wearable. It is pretty, classic, womanly and beautiful.”

Brows are taking somewhat of a backseat this season after emerging as a strong, bold trend last fall. “Brows are not as important as they have been. This season, they are filled in, but are not the emphasis. If a strong brow is done with the architectural eye line and lashes, it would look cartoonish. The brow this season is simply groomed and shaped,” explains Bennett.

Dominic Cruz, director of education for Kryolan Professional Makeup, agrees: “It’s a strong, classy brow, but you either have to choose a strong liner or strong brow.” To get a good, groomed effect, Harris suggests using a brow grooming gel and eye shadows for a more natural look. “The gel emphasizes the arch and lifts the eye, and the shadows are often easier than pencils and come out a little more natural for an everyday look,” she says.

Complexion: high-maintenance natural

As usual, perfect skin is in, but the natural look of spring is moving into a more controlled perfection for fall. “The complexion is a little more matte than it was. There’s no shine and no real oil anywhere. It is more matte, but not flat-looking,” explains Mendelson. It is only through attention to detail and makeup that this flawless look is attained. According to Bennett, “It’s all about gorgeous, flawless, beautiful skin. At all the fashion shows, the models looked very polished. The skin was done and looked stunning. It looks like people have perfect skin, but there is a lot of foundation, highlighter and concealer being used.”

Harris agrees, stating “The look is a creamy complexion that is not overly dewey and not too matte.” To achieve this look, she suggests using a lighter translucent powder on the face in the t-zone and applying a highlighter for an everyday look.

And because much of the focus in fall is mainly on the eyes or the lips, blush is taking a backseat. “Blush is being minimalized these days; clients can often go with the natural flush of the skin,” says Marvin Westmore, legendary makeup artist. Cruz agrees, “Blush is soft and muted; it’s more about the eyes and the lips this season.”

Lips: the colorful standout

“What I feel is going to stand out for the season is the lip,” predicts Harris. “There are a lot of colors for lips this year: burgundies, rusts and salmons.” And don’t forget about the ubiquitous red lip. This season for lips on the runway, it was go bold or go home … only if paired with the more classic, clean, natural eye look. “If you’re going to do something strong, you have to choose either to put boldness on the lip or the eye … not both,” advises Bennett. “It’s berry colors for the lips in all variations, from the darkest to the brightest.” If choosing a smokier, bolder eye makeup application, then a paler lip is the answer. “With an intense, smoky eye, a pale, watery, rose-colored lip is perfect. It’s not nude; it has a tint of color, just a stain that looks like natural lips augmented.” Couanon concurs, “If you are doing a more metallic, smoky eye, try lighter, more nude lipsticks.”

Application continues to evolve this fall as well. Carrying on from the off-matte lipstick look of spring, glossy lips don’t return this fall, either. Instead, classic is what’s current. “This season, tried-and-true traditional cream satin lipstick with a beautiful velvet finish is in. It looks very plush and isn’t dry or glossy,” says Bennett.

If clients do want to try the simple and stunning 1940s-inspired eye look, but don’t feel comfortable with a bolder lip, Harris suggests toning it down a bit. “The bold lip can be diffused with a nice cranberry or red-brown stain on the lip that’s not quite as lined and opaque,” she suggests. “Soften it by putting a layer on clients and then blotting it. A stain is more natural-looking and is softer.”

Translating the trends

This type of application translation of runway looks is always so crucial to keep in mind when working with clients, whether they are looking to follow the trends or just be updated to help improve their appearance. Above all else, it is so important to make them feel good about themselves. “The older a woman gets, the more you have to respect her for who she is and not for the colors she wears,” explains Westmore. “I always mute colors to soften them. You can dilute lip color by adding a lip conditioner and, in the case of powdered eye shadows, you can use a little facial powder mixed with bright colors for a toned-down effect.”

According to Harris, “A lot of women don’t wear a lot of makeup, and some people need more than others. Introduce makeup applications that way. Rather than telling clients to cover their faces with foundation, try just helping them find a tinted moisturizer, concealer and highlighter.” As a skin care professional, you can use your influence to help clients feel and look beautiful … within their comfort zones. “Spas can give clients personal attention; department stores are there for sales and sales only,” Westmore points out.

Combining personalized attention with the customization of today’s trends to satisfy clients can even be taken one step further by remembering their budgets and limited schedules. More than ever, makeup is multitasking. Retailing cosmetic products that can save your clients time and money can result in happier clients and an easier sell. “Offering treatment abilities in makeup is very nice, and you should always go over the active ingredients and benefits of each when selling them to clients,” suggests Couanon.

Feel good

Whether smoky and stunning or classic and tailored, this fall promises to bring looks that all of your clients can enjoy—and with your help, can adapt. Don’t miss the makeup opportunity, because, in the end, if your clients don’t feel good after leaving your facility, they may not come back. “The whole point of makeup is to make you feel good,” reminds Mendelson, and it is your job to bring that feel-good sensation to your clients, solidifying your spa’s place on the top of their priority lists.