The Red Carpet Beauty Trends To Follow

With the reentrance of award-season glamour, here are the looks the stars are plumping for



JESSICA CHASTAIN. Photo by Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock.


In July, the fashion and beauty world held its collective breath as images began emerging from the Cannes Film Festival. At last! The red carpet is back! Model Bella Hadid opened the festivities. “Bella, Bella!” dozens of (masked) photographers called out, hoping to get that perfect over-the-shoulder shot of both her sleek, middle-parted twisted bun and her dramatic, contoured makeup. With a nod to the ’90s, Hadid’s thin (yes, they’re back in style) arched brows beautifully framed her warm smoky eyes, while her lips sported a matte nude with a pinky-brown liner. “The photographers were so excited. The whole industry felt revived,” says celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, whose client roster of red-carpet regulars includes Dakota Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen.


From left: DIOR Rouge Dior lipstick in 999, $38. DANESSA MYRICKS Colorfix Neon hybrid cream, $18.


“Nothing’s more beautiful than a big smile and an iconic red lip”

Kirin Bhatty


JODIE TURNER-SMITH. Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images.


At Cannes we saw the return of a bold lip and the emergence of artistic eyeliner in bright colors with gem accents. Classic topknots and chignons were reimagined to fight the oppressive humidity of the South of France. Tilda Swinton got creative with her short, buttery-blonde hair; Jodie Turner-Smith opted for a tawny-brown sheer lip paired with bold eyes; and Jessica Chastain went for a classic look: glowing skin, deep crimson pout and a ponytail with sideswept bangs.


From left: ORIBE Apres Beach Spray, $44. DOVE Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo, $5.


As in-person events are becoming more frequent (albeit with restrictions), premieres, talk shows and openings have stayed virtual or adopted a hybrid approach. “What passed as red-carpet images are mostly images shot in hotel rooms or private homes,” explains Townsend. Makeup artist Kirin Bhatty, whose celebrity clients include Awkwafina and Kate Mara, says there’s a bright side. “We’re in a controlled environment. It’s like, ‘Let’s do neon-green eyeliner on you today. Let’s throw some gems on, let’s do a really big wing.’ And if a gem falls off, I can just place it back on, or if the liner is starting to travel, I can touch it up for a perfect shot!” While artists like Townsend and Bhatty don’t mind wearing additional creative hats for hybrid events — like lighting and shooting images that have gone viral on Instagram — they miss the excitement and fanfare of traditional red-carpet happenings and are looking forward to seeing what the Emmys have in store. “People crave glamour,” Townsend shares. “We’re getting glimpses, and we’re eating it up.”


TILDA SWINTON. Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images.


“Cannes sets the tone for awards seasons”

Mark Townsend


Bhatty predicts skin minimalism going forward. “People are investing in their skin and in skincare more than ever,” she notes. She’s a fan of bold color statements, textural elements like gems and glitter, and fashion-forward lashes. “We’re entering an era of ‘more is more.’ Bold eyes and liner is a mask-friendly way to be glamorous on and off the carpet. The minute I hear we can be totally unmasked, I’m pulling out all the lipsticks — I want reds, pinks and oranges. Beautiful, bright, bold lips — I want to see them all over the carpet!”


From left: NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Epic Wear Metallic Liquid Liner, $10. URBAN DECAY Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner, $21.


The good news? The red carpet’s future looks bright. But for now, at least, everything is up in the air. Cannes gave us hope, but as with everything these days, we’ll need to proceed with caution.


From left: HARRY JOSH Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000, $249. R SESSION PRO TOOLS Nalu Waver, $109.


Feature image: BELLA HADID at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Photo by Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock.


This story originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of C Magazine.

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