Gray Makeup: Fashion Phenomenon Translated for the Face

In recent years the color gray has paved a prominent reputation for itself on runways, draped as cozy sweaters, strutted in sexy ankle boots, and dressed up as a tailored suit. This season, however, the color will leap from fashion to face, updating a woman’s look with the simple sweep of the lid. While makeup’s foray into gray might be a subtle reflection of a new economy, it more positively serves as a soothing force, revitalizing neutrality for beauty’s sake.

In fashion, we’ve seen gray’s ability to adapt. But the color’s versatility beyond the wardrobe is giving it staying power among beauty gurus as well. Emmanuelle Linard of Edelkoort Inc / Trend Union remarks, “[The industry] is making gray its new timeless basic, to be mixed with accents or other brownish neutrals. Well-being and beauty…will opt for the meditative and elegant sophistication of gray. For the Fall/Winter season, eye shadows adopt concrete hues for a refined city look, charcoal powders for a mysterious allure, or a metallic silver shine. Gray is an appeasing long-term story in times of centering on seductive essentials.”

Linard explains that gray is a neutral color which signifies calmness and balance. “In a new democratic era of sharing, networking, and balancing, it is only natural that the color gray imposes itself as the color of osmosis. Merging extremes, offering relief to our hurt souls, blending in neutrality, gray will be the response for a changing generation in search of fairness and equilibrium.”

Who Can Wear Gray Make-Up?

Hair and make-up artist Assumpta Clohessy believes that gray makeup is rather difficult to work with because of its tendency to flatter particular skin tones. “Women with warmer, yellow or olive undertones look best in this color,” she explains. The contrast in undertones softens the gray from appearing too stark. Regarding hair color, she notices that Brunettes look best in the shade. When asked if gray-haired women could participate in the gray makeup trend, she feared it could be a bit much.

But don’t be discouraged if your coloring doesn’t fall into the above preferred category. For women with fair skin, she suggests trying light gray or shimmery silver on the eye. For darker skinned women or women of color, Assumpta recommends charcoal and dark gray. But stay away from too much contrast resulting in a “raccoon” look. When choosing a versatile gray, she recommends a moist, smoky, cream-based eyeshadow since the texture adds depth and the tone offers versatility over extreme gray hues. She also believes the shade most likely to compliment the majority should contain brown undertones, lending it to a broader audience of women.

How To Wear Gray?

Assumpta explains that the most adaptable way to wear gray makeup is such that it opens the eyes, as opposed to drawing them inward. Begin with a light gray or shimmery silver at the corner of the eye, swept across the lid. Shade the brow bone with a soft gray. Then line the eye with navy eyeliner, sweeping up at the outside corner of the eye. This visually lifts the eyes, in turn opening them.

For smoky eyes, use more charcoal, either swept up from the outer lash line to the crease, or brushed through the crease of the eyes. The former, softer look can be enhanced by a pop of color on the lips— a red or fuchsia pout brings life to a face of soothing, neutral eyes. But keep the lips simple when batting smoky peepers. A glossy nude or light pink will soften deep gray shadows on the lids. Rebellion against this advice could land one a role as a dancer in a Robert Palmer video.

No longer living in the shadow of black or constantly competing with navy, gray is urging beauty and our mindsets towards neutrality this season. Amidst today’s stress and uncertainty, gray encourages staying calm and moving forward. Take advantage of the hue’s invigorating appeal to update your look. Its non-obtrusive facade makes for a simple and truthful, clean and polished appearance.

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