Spring Color Preview 2014: Challenging Conformity


According to Pantone, the Fashion Color Report Spring 2014 is “inspired by a mixture of blooming flowers, travels abroad and strong, confident women.”1 Jaclyn Peresetsky, CEO, esthetician and color specialist at SkinPerfect Image Wellness Spa in Columbus, Ohio, notes this season’s palette is versatile—lending itself to those who care “to stay safe with pastels and monochromatic color schemes,” and “those who want to experiment with new looks can add the bold colors for an artistic flair.”

Allyson Harold, lead makeup artist and color trend specialist for Mineralogie, says the on-trend colors for the season are what’s expected for spring: feminine, inspired by nature and floral; however, they contain stronger notes, as well. “All colors evoke emotion, and this new palette gives you a variety of choices from calm and peaceful to exciting and confident,” says Peresetsky.

Preparing the canvas

“There’s always a skin trend with every season, and [this season, there is] definitely that hard-to-achieve ‘no makeup’ makeup look,” says Harold. “It looks like your skin—like this is how you look all of the time—just perfected.”

Makeup artist James Edward, founder of J. Edward makeup and skin care products, explains that it’s all about a natural look. “The biggest thing I saw that was consistent was the skin … it’s supposed to look like a young, healthy skin. If you have freckles, it’s not necessarily covering them up; it’s letting them come through,” he says. This natural look can be achieved with tinted moisturizers and sport concealers to even out skin tone, as well as highlighters and illuminating products to brighten key areas, creating a youthful glow.2

Chicago-based makeup artist, Nika Vaughan, recommends revisiting cream products. “Most cream products nowadays are meant to be long-wearing—they’re not like the cream products back in the ,’70s and ’80s. They do that no-makeup look so well because they’re easy to blend—it looks like it’s coming from within the skin.” This draw toward flawless and fresh-looking skin—rather than heavily covered, matte skin—is especially ideal for creating statement looks with the eyes and lips. “The skin just looks so gorgeous and radiant that everything just stands out with it,” says James Cornwell, celebrity hair and makeup artist.

Catching fire

The supply of brightly colored lips have not fallen short during the past few seasons, and this season is no exception—Celosia Orange, according to Roseanna Roberts, director of color trends at The Color Association of the United States, “is introduced as the trend-forward evolution of the ruby pout.”2

“The [Celosia] Orange is a brilliant color … orange is a color that people are afraid of, but looks really good on a lot of skin tones. It’s really about color placement and how you wear it,” says Cornwell. “I think there are so many people that can rock an orange lip … wearing it on the lips is a great way to go with the trends this spring.”

Harold notes that vibrant orange lipstick was the No. 1 trend she observed in her research. “It’s in all color variations of orange, and it’s a super fun one—just a little extra pop of color to counterbalance the pastels and lighter colors,” she says. So many times, Edward says, people are drawn to neutrals, but by keeping cheeks and eyes neutral, and adding an orange or coral, the features will really pop.

Although the orange lip was a top trend on the runway, Vaughan points out that not all clients may be bold enough for a “stop sign on the lips.” She says the trend can be easily translated. “Corals and apricots look amazing on warmer skin tones, and apricots that lean to a slightly pink color look amazing on cooler skin tones,” she suggests.

To lend the orange lip trend an even more natural look, Vaughan recommends turning to a lip stain. “I love the idea of a softer finish on the lips—instead of lining lips with a harsh shape, take a stain on the ring finger and pat it in—it’s much more of a natural look. It’s a softer finish to the shape of the lip, but it’s still a pop of color and, because it’s a stain, it’s buried in the skin versus sitting on top like a lipstick,” she says.

Power brows

Full, lush eyebrows are still in. “Brows are very big, brows are important,” says Edward. “As an esthetician knows, the proper shape of a brow can change the whole look of a face. It can make [clients] look tired if it’s not the right shape, or very rested and lifted and can show off the features if you get the right shape to the brow. Defining the brow is very important—it sets the tone for the rest of the face.”

Harold says it’s not all about having perfectly symmetrical brows, but instead, keeping them groomed and filling them in where need be—but letting them stand on their own. “It’s a great frame for these beautiful shadows that we’re seeing—whether they’re the pastels or the more vibrant ones,” she says.

Sheer color washes

On the runways, a sheer wash of pastel eye shadow acted as an spring alternative to the traditional smoky eye.3 “There were light, airy pastels and washes of color that went from the lash line to the brow, which lapped the entire layer around the eye to create a beautiful smoky eye,” says Harold.

“Makeup comes around, and it goes around and it comes back into fashion. Splashes of color were really big—yellows, pinks—it wasn’t overbearing; they were just soft, little splashes on the eyes with tons and tons of mascara and, overall, the looks were very fresh,” says Cornwell. He suggests pairing Celosia Orange on the lips, and a wash of Radiant Orchid on the eyelids.

Harold says monochromatic is the way to go when in doubt. “If you’re taking baby steps or trying something for the first time, instead of putting blue with green with violet—getting wild with it—stick to the tints, tones and shades within that color, and you can’t really go wrong,” she says.

Baby’s got blue eyes. Blue eye shadow has come out of the ’80s makeup vault. Blues ranging from deep cobalt to sheer seafoam took the stage on the spring runways.4 “Dazzling Blue is a big thing we’re seeing for eyes—we’re doing some color blocking with it,” says Edward. To keep your clients from looking dated, be sure to keep the rest of their makeup neutral and go easy on the liner.4

Get in line

Another way to utilize the blue trend is to apply it as a liner, says Edward. “If you use it as an eyeliner instead of a black, to wing it out a little bit would be fantastic,” he says.

Cornwell notes that blue winged-out liner was heavily present on the spring runways. “A lot of people have, over the years, started using blue, but they tend to use the navy blue. The [Placid Blue] will be a great look for spring on just about any eye color. A lot of people want to use that winged-out liner, and they always think they have to use black because it’s kind of a retro feel, but this puts a great updated twist on what you can create.”

Black and white. Black winged liner was pumped up during Fashion Week: Full-on kohl-rimmed lids kicked the cat’s-eye up a notch.5 On the flip side, saturated, matte white liner (and shadow) were a surprising change of pace on some of the runways, as well.5, 6

Paint it gold

The tarnished metallics trend of the past season has been reincarnated into warm coppers, bronzes and rose golds, which are favored for their complexion-enhancing qualities. According to Roberts: “Lids, lashes and brows offer an ideal canvas for adornment. New leafing techniques and sparkling pigments also introduce popular ways to feature a bit of metallic makeup.”2

For more of an everyday look, Vaughan recommends using Freesia in a shimmer finish as a highlight in the center of the lid and the inside of the eye. “For someone who is a bronze goddess from May through September, making white [highlighter] too white, committing to a slightly more gold or yellow highlighter achieves the same goal, and it plays up the bronze in the skin,” she says.

Trend integration

Taking your client’s lifestyle into consideration when attempting to work trends into their makeup look will help you know what direction to move toward. “It can be tricky sometimes because not every woman is all about, ‘what are the makeup trends and how do I wear them?’” says Harold. “When working with clients, it’s always important to speak to them in terms of relevance to their lifestyle, and what they are going to feel most comfortable and confident in.” She recommends soliciting information regarding your clients’ day-to-day personal makeup style. From there, you can create a trendy, yet customized look that she will feel confident in “without feeling like she just stepped off the runway,” explains Harold.

With some of the bold colors of the season, it’s important to be conscientious of how you wear them, says Cornwell. “Too much of one color is always overdoing it.”

“We hear a lot of times, ‘I want to wear red lipstick, but I can’t because it doesn’t look right on me,’” says Edward. “What we’ve got to remember is that there are different shades of red, there are different shades of orange—there are different shades of black even—so I think it’s finding the right shade of a certain color …” He recommends taking a color such as Radiant Orchid, and sheering it down to make a little softer for someone who may not have the skin tone to wear such a deep color—you’re creating a look that works best for your client, but you’re still keeping them in that color trend.

“Pantone is talking about the colors and what it means for spring and everyone looks to the runway and to celebrities, but it is important for clients to keep in mind that it is open to interpretation,” says Cornwell.

Offering options. The best way to get a trend on a client is by giving them options, explains Cornwell. He suggests having several different tones of a color—having them available in your retail area for purchase— and showing clients that there are various techniques and areas on the face on which the shade can be worn

“You don’t want to give a client a color in a way that’s going to scare them—you want to make use of the color in a way that is familiar. That’s why using it as a pop of color on the eye or inner eye works—people are familiar with using a little highlighter that way,” says Vaughan.

Peresetsky advises skin care professionals to create a makeup trend look book that showcases all of the current trends. When you share the book with clients, you can read their reactions and offer suggestions for what you think may be good options. “This shows you are cutting-edge, educating them on the latest and greatest makeup trends, and encouraging their own makeup growth and change, but at the same time keeping their makeup preferences in mind,” she says.

“If I had to give any advice, I’d say: Do your research,” says Harold. “I think if you have a firm grasp and understanding—not just of the colors, but also the way that they’re being worn, and even the feeling and inspiration behind them—it’s going to be a breeze to translate it to each individual client.”


  1. www.pantone.com/pages/fcr/default.aspx?season=spring&year=2014
  2. www.gcimagazine.com/marketstrends/segments/cosmetics/SpringSummer-2014-Beauty-Colors-and-Influencers-236584041.html
  3. www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2013/10/03/spring-summer-2014-beauty-trends-hair-makeup/gallery/1040916
  4. news.instyle.com/2013/09/12/nyfw-beauty-trend-blue-eye-shadow/
  5. www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/spring-2014-fashion-week-beauty-trends#slide-10
  6. www.refinery29.com/fashion-week-beauty#slide-16

(All accessed Jan 15, 2014)

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