Plum, gray and metallic are the top beauty hues this summer.
In the fashion epicenters of Paris, London and New York, city sidewalks are a veritable runway of the latest designer clothes and accessories. In Boulder County, however, the sidewalks are full of pub patios and we dress for the outdoors rather than catwalks. So we often reflect the latest trends in our hair, makeup and nails, rather than on our backs.
“That way, you can throw on a simple black dress and have your hair, nails and skin be the standout,” says Keva Ohmnacht, nail technician at jlounge Natural Nail Bar and Spa, who says the season’s beauty trends are all about pops of color, particularly metallic tones. “It’s about having fun and being brave, because at the end of the day, it’s an easy removal and you can move on to the next thing.”
Hair is the striking fashion statement this summer, with colors veering into the metallic spectrum. Forget the gold of a warm blonde, however. The metal of choice is the silvery white of full-on platinum.
“It’s definitely platinums,” says lead stylist Carrie Garside of the St Julien Hotel and Spa, “and not just platinum, but almost a grayish lavender hue of silver.” Sometimes called “granny chic” and worn by celebrities like Kelly Osbourne and Nicole Richie, platinum is reclaiming gray as a glamorous choice. Garside says it’s also the ideal platform for more interesting colors. “Platinum can easily integrate pastels like plums, purples, pinks, baby blues and sea-foam greens.”
“Fashion colors are going toward pastels—rose-golds and softer, faded corals,” agrees stylist Rachel Laurence of Voodoo Hair Lounge, which carries the new Instamatic line by Wella, a collection of summer hair colors that wash out after 10 to 15 shampoos. “That line has colors like mauve and amethyst, blue and purple, but they’re very soft. We’re going more toward that faded, washed-out look that looks kind of undone, though obviously, it’s very done.”
Cool tones that feel light and refreshing are hot this summer, and an overall treatment is not your only choice. For shorter hair, consider interspersing some lavender highlights; for longer tresses, perhaps color a few strands near the neck in pewter blue. “We’re having people come in for those peekaboo highlights, where the color is underneath,” Laurence says. “It’s mostly hidden, but when the hair moves, you see these little flashes of color.”
Laurence says customers also choose balayage highlights, a freehand French coloring technique that doesn’t use foils, resulting in a subtle gradation of more natural-looking color throughout the hair. Jennifer Aniston’s hair color is a good example. Ombre is a technique in which the crown is painted darker, with only the tips treated in a light color, like Drew Barrymore’s current locks.
For those seeking an inexpensive color commitment, try Redken’s new line of Color Rebel temporary hair colors. Available in five flirty shades, including purple, the color is applied with a sponge applicator and lasts about two shampoos.
Put Your Best Face Forward
“Usually makeup gets more pink and peachy in summer,” Garside says, “but this year it’s different. This year it’s bolder.” By that, the stylist means that makeup is all about high-impact strokes of color on both the eyes and lips, “like mint-green liner, turquoise mascara and tangerine lips. It’s very bold. It all sounds a little ’80s, but this time it’s more graphic.”
After being on display throughout Fashion Week, plum is the big color for eyes and lips, as well as high-impact lips of poppy and oxblood reds. Eye makeup is likely heavier than you might expect, too. “I see a lot of inky-black eyes with lots of liner, lots of cat eyes,” Garside says. “It’s a heavy application, which is unusual for summer.”
“Everything this season seems to be a modernist makeup throwback,” Ohmnacht agrees. “A bold lip and a bold brow, with dark liner and dark, dark lashes, all on a bronzed face with a shimmery shadow.” For shimmery shadows, think metallic again, especially gold and silver. In terms of the dark liner and lashes, a water-resistant product can keep your style cool, even through summer perspiration.
It’s easier, too. Just highlight your standout features—brows, eyes and mouth—and leave the rest tame, Ohmnacht says. “It’s not about putting all that garbage on your face. It’s better, healthier and lighter, and it won’t clog you with makeup. Just put some bronzer on your face and go for color on the mouth and eyes.”
With the advent of power nail bloggers like Katy Parsons of blognailedit.com, now the lead nail technician at the St Julien, nail art in general is on the uptick. But this summer’s styles have a lot in common with hair and makeup colors.
“It’s different this summer, in my experience,” Parsons says. “In addition to all these neons and super-bright colors, there are also muted pastels,” including the granny-gray lavender colors popular for hair. “I’m also noticing that dark purple seems to be pretty prevalent in summer collections. Almost all of them include at least one purple that I wouldn’t usually think of as summer color.”
What’s popular in nails is also what’s NOT on them, meaning negative space. Half of the nail or just the crescent-shaped lunula at the base of the nail is painted, while the rest is left natural, or polish is applied in a ripped, rippled, striped or stippled pattern against the natural nail.
“It’s very bold and graphic, like maybe a high-gloss black line down the center, but it’s not loud. That’s the biggest difference from last year to this year,” Ohmnacht says. “I’m noticing people are also mixing natural colors with a matte-finished black nail or a high-polish chrome nail.”
Highlighting metallic again, that high-polish chrome is often OPI’s popular “Haven’t the Foggiest”—a super-sophisticated, shimmery silver-gray metallic polish. Contrast it with a natural taupe polish on the nails to create a color combination Ohmnacht calls “unexpected and bohemian.”
“Metallic colors accent jewelry really nicely, too,” she says. “I like things that tie your jewelry into your manicure.” Then again, if the manicure—or the hair or makeup—is dramatic enough, who needs jewelry?
“Instead of ‘Cute necklace,’ people will say, ‘I love your nails,’” Parsons says. Parlaying natural assets “is not a big commitment, it just takes time to get these things done. But I think it’s definitely a new way of putting yourself in a fashion-forward stance.”
And no designer labels required.
By Kate Jonuska