6 Beauty Lessons We Learned at New York Fashion Week

SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

The hair and makeup looks making their way down New York runways this week were fueled with a dose of the city’s no-nonsense attitude—and its proclivity for risk-taking. Statement haircuts were balanced with barely there makeup, slicked-back ponytails with colorful, chromatic lipstick, and air-dried waves with that most unlikely of fashion comebacks: the extreme eyebrow piercing.

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Out with the bob, in with the bowl. Marc Jacobs’s customized, choppy black wigs—inspired loosely by Joey Ramone and blasted with texturizing spray for a dry, matte look—have us dreaming of going shorter and darker right now.

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It’s time to reacquaint yourself with your flat iron and hair spray—the era of beachy waves has come to an end. This week saw hair smoothed (and occasionally plastered) into shiny ponytails, parted down the middle at Prabal Gurung, side-combed at Ralph Lauren, and pushed straight back at Alexander Wang. For an exceptionally polished version at Oscar de la Renta, Orlando Pita eradicated flyaway strands by misting a kabuki makeup brush with hairspray, then gliding the brush over the head to “smooth down the fine hairs,” without layering on too much product.

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Ditch the makeup—or at least look like you did. Ranging from the warm, glowing complexions at Michael Kors (courtesy of Kors’s bronzing powder) to the fresh faces at Calvin Klein Collection and Victoria Beckham (by way of a pinch of pink blush and subtle berry lip stain), makeup artists put the emphasis on skin care over coverage. The one product you could be sure to find backstage was clear lip balm, which was tapped onto lids and lips at Versus Versace and Thakoon.

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No-makeup makeup minimalism aside, there’s always a place for one bold pop of color, as proven by the models backstage at Carolina Herrera, who posted more selfies in the show’s fuchsia lipstick than almost any other look this week.

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Rodarte’s Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy reimagined the statement brow this season: At their request, backstage makeup artist James Kaliardos glued silver rings along the lengths of models’ arches to recall a row of piercings. Our prediction: A trip to New York Adorned is in order this season—if only to look.

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The single braid is back—so start practicing. Sleek plaits at Peter Som, exaggerated fishtails at Suno, and ropelike weaves at Donna Karan will serve as your guide.