Post-lockdown beauty will be pure 90s rave

Photography Elaine Constantine, taken from THE FACE Issue 31, August 1999

MAC Cosmetics’ make-up maestro Terry Barber weighs in on the beauty trends set to make a comeback from 21st June.

It’s the turn of spring and the sun is shining. The rule of six is back, there’s a roadmap in place, and we’re a month closer to 21st June which means parties, gigs, raves, short skirts, high heels, music-so-loud-you-can’t‑think, cabs home in the early hours and a welcome return to ultra-sweaty, rave-ready beauty looks. Fingers crossed.

Covid-19, always-on masks and the shift to home-working might have upended the lipstick index (a phenomenon coined by Leonard Lauder, of Estée fame, during the 2001 recession to describe the trend of lipstick sales increasing despite economic turmoil), but Terry Barber, Director of Makeup Artistry at MAC Cosmetics, is predicting a return to big beauty looks, wow colour”, and a fresh-from-the-dancefloor glow” come that biblical date in June.

So, in no particular order, here are the smash hits Barber is backing to usher in what could just be the Third Summer of Love.

Go hard or go home

Heavy black accents of colour around the eyes will make a return. Not the subtle flick of a baby cat eye – we’re talking intuitive smudges, full-on water lines, and an Amy Winehouse approach to liquid eyeliner. However you wear it, go large! Back to black, from smudge to graphic,” says Barber. Just make sure you’re owning it.


Lip liner for your life!

The most enduring trend from the 90s is back with a bang. Contrasting your lip liner with lipstick is a look Barber loves, and one that MAC pioneered. Barber first learned the causal ombré effect (less blended than a TikToker’s style) with unexpected colours backstage at Alexander McQueen, who brought the two-tone lip look to life on the catwalk. Barber credits the burgeoning hip-hop scene and MTV Base for cementing heavily lined lips as a British club classic. Pair any of MAC’s extensive range of nudes – as natural or as gothic as you like – with a clashy or matchy liner. Transformative neutrals from street to supermodel” is Barber’s take.


Do sweat it

Barber is tied, like most makeup artists, to his MAC strobe cream – a late 90s staple for achieving a futuristic glow on the catwalk. This time around he says, It’s less about strategic placement. People want to achieve that all-over fresh-from-the-dancefloor glow.” Barber suggests a low-level coverage with a euphoric glow”.


Made you blush

Whatever happened to blusher? Well, it’s back now for 2021 under a painterly guise. Don’t be afraid to use your hands: apply your lipsticks or lip glosses and feel at ease with it. The mood for Barber is somewhere between an eccentric flush and painterly stains”. Less just stepped outside for a 15-minute lunch break before the next Zoom” and more just been dancing for three hours straight surrounded by friends”. One can dream, eh?


Mad for colour

Forget a full beat, cut crease, rainbow-coloured palette. Twenty-twenty-one’s approach to colour should be paired with raw skin and nonchalance. Think splotches, strokes and fingerprints of wow colour. All very intuitive and laidback. More Kate Moss by David Sims than your favourite YouTube vlogger, Barber is digging nostalgic colours with a new attitude”. Try MAC’s cult paint pots in any shade and go for it.


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