After the shortest summer of all time, autumn has officially arrived. And, if I'm being totally honest, I'm here for it—along with the rest of the beauty industry it turns out. We've already predicted what our wardrobes are going to look like for autumn and winter, so I thought there was no better time to tap my beauty contacts for what our beauty habits will be looking like as we move through the final months of 2021. And trust me when I say that things are looking up. While there will be experimental colour switch-ups in our makeup bags and at our hair appointments, there's also a welcome return to self-care and nourishment as we seek out comfort in our skincare and bodycare routines. Plus, nail art's popularity looks set to grow.
Ahead, I've spoken to experts in all things hair, nails, makeup and skincare to decipher the biggest beauty trends for the cosiest season. Keep scrolling for their predictions and to get ahead of the biggest autumn trends for 2021. Trust me—they look just as good on Instagram as they do in real life.
Autumn Hair Trends
Perhaps the biggest hair trend of 2021 so far has been the return of the fringe, and all of the hair experts that I spoke to were equally vivacious about its autumn comeback. "Bangs! All kinds of bangs," exclaims Gia Burgos, Fekkai stylist, when asked about their hair predictions for autumn 2021. "Curly bangs, curtain bangs, classic bangs, [a fringe] is a great way to make a drastic change without losing length in your hair," Burgos explains.
And while anything goes when it comes to fringes right now, there's no doubt that as we move into autumn, there will be a shift towards more maximalist styles. "Fringes are back for autumn/winter 2021, and I think thick, full fringes will be particularly popular," says Callum Standen-May, creative stylist at Bond Shoreditch. "[Thick] fringes look super stylish when paired with any hair length, from a short bob to a mid-length cut or long locks, and are a great way to instantly update and transform your regular hair look for the new season."
This shine-boosting moisture cream gives bangs the salon treatment. Apply it to wet or dry hair for a professional-looking, glossy finish.
Instantly refresh second-day fringes while adding texture and lift with this brilliant dry shampoo.
Hair colour trends tend to be cyclical, so it's no surprise that experts are predicting the return of copper, red and auburn this autumn. However, one of the more unexpected hair colour predictions comes with smokier undertones. "I predict that brunettes will be moving more towards ashy undertones, rather than warm," says Burgos. "And the same goes for blondes, who will be asking for pearly or silvery tones in their hair."
Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L'Oréal Professionnel, has coined this the "big smoke blonde," and it's going to be huge for autumn 2021. "We'll see colour across all hair tones become more ashy to add some dimension to your natural base," explains Reed. "Blondes that are a mix of a beautiful golden blonde with smoky, ashy tones and sandy tonal highlights for a stunning greige finish."
Keep your colour looking fresh with this sulphate-free shampoo that washes away water-induced copper deposits that can dull your hair's vibrancy.
Give coloured hair a new lease of life with this deeply nourishing, shine-boosting hair mask. Your smoky colour will look instantly brighter.
As much fun as it is to switch up our hairstyles and colours with the seasons, autumn 2021 also sees a renewed focus on the importance of our actual hair health—in particular, our scalps. "A healthy scalp is the foundation of healthy hair, similar to needing good soil to grow plants," explains Sharon Wong, consultant dermatologist and hair specialist. "Incorporating exfoliating acids regularly in your haircare routine removes dead skin cells, excess grease and product build-up, helping to maintain healthy cell turnover of the scalp and unclog the hair follicles, providing the best environment for the emerging hair fibre."
And hairstylists are equally enamoured with the idea of us all incorporating scalp-care products into our haircare routines for healthier scalps. "Exfoliating masks are key to remove product build-up and clear clogged follicles," advises Burgos.
Apply this directly to your scalp before shampooing, and leave it for 10 minutes to allow the glycolic acid to remove product build-up, flaky skin and excess oils.
This gentle scrub can be massaged into wet hair to exfoliate without any irritation. Trust me—your hair will feel lighter and bouncier after using it.
Autumn Makeup Trends
After 18 months of pared-back beauty routines and forgotten makeup bags, autumn 2021 is going to mark makeup's big comeback, starting with the eyes. "This autumn, there will be a return to classic glamour," predicts Jon Rummins, national education executive for Chantecaille. "Think smoky, sultry eyes with bold pigments. We will definitely see more neutral, warm tones but with flashes of accent colour. Think regal emerald green blended with bronze or golds for an ultra-flattering, glamorous effect."
Chanel makeup artist Zoë Taylor also predicts that eyes will be where it's at for autumn. "I think bold, colourful eyes are definitely going to take off," she says. "It's a great trend because it allows you to be as playful as you like. It's a great excuse to get creative with colour as well as texture—there are no rules!" And as for colours to look out for? "Aqua blues and oranges will be found in everyone's makeup bags, one way or another," Taylor says.
This innovative gel-to-powder eye shadow can be worn as a sheer wash of colour or built up for a more intense pop of jewel-inspired pigment.
"I am so obsessed with the new Stylo Yeux Waterproof eyeliners from Chanel," says Taylor. "They are such an easy way to play with colour through blending or graphic lines."
While 2021 might have been the year of low-maintenance makeup so far, there's one category that has continued to dominate: brows. From Refy's sell-out brow collection to basically every celeb I've interviewed this year pledging their allegiance to Soap Brows, it seems that our quest to perfect our arches is far from over.
"The trend for browcare will continue into autumn 2021," says Rummins. "But we will see light, feathered brows with natural definition. My go-to product is the Chantecaille Full Brow Perfecting Gel (£34) which combs, fills and sets while enhancing the natural brow shade, all in one sweep!"
Not only does this cult product lift every single brow hair into place, but it also keeps them there all day long.
If full, fluffy, feathery brows are your thing, then this hugely popular kit contains everything you need.
When it comes to the colour that we'll all be wearing on our lips this autumn, our experts were in agreement: red. And while it's not exactly a groundbreaking hue for the latter half of the year, it's the texture that changes everything. "I love a red lip, and they are definitely going to be big for autumn/winter 2021," says Taylor. "But this season, it's all about playing with texture—either keeping it super matte or as glossy as possible."
And while ultra-mattes have been bubbling away at the surface all year, it's this shift towards sheen that really has us excited. "We will see a comeback for bold, glossy lips, which really pop," explains Rummins. "Think eye-catching berry tones—the ideal shade to transition from day to evening."
Melding the shine of a gloss, hydration of a balm and long wear of a tint, Glossier's Ultralip is a modern take on the glossy scarlet lip.
If it's a bold red lip that you're after with an intense shine then look no further than this ultra-glam gloss from Pat McGrath Labs.
Autumn Skincare Trends
Summer might have been a bit of a washout, but there's no doubt that a return to socialising will have taken its toll on all of our complexions. "Post-summer skin recovery is likely to be a focus for autumn 2021," predicts Andrew Markey, MD, FRCP, consultant dermatologist. "So the development of good night-time retinoid habits balanced by daytime pigmentation and calming treatments, such as vitamin C and niacinamide, is essential."
Anita Sturnham, MD, a GP specialising in dermatology, also points out that a focus on more even skin tone via scientific ingredients will be key for next season. "Every autumn, I see an increase in patients seeking help with uneven pigmentation. This tends to be exacerbated after periods of time spent in the sun on holidays," Sturnham explains. "Prevention is better than cure, so the daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen is key." However, if you already have signs of pigmentation, then Sturnham suggests incorporating an antioxidant serum into your routine "containing ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, panthenol, ferulic acid or CoQ10" to help to slow pigmentation down.
Please note, price shown is Beauty Pie member price.
"I'd recommend [this moisturiser] for its resurfacing, brightening and hydration qualities," says Markey. "It's formulated with encapsulated retinol and is the perfect introduction to retinoid use, which you can then build up in strength with their booster."
A potent daily serum that contains niacinamide, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to plump and brighten fatigued skin.
Autumn has always felt like a moment to reset for me, with the shorter days and colder nights providing a much-needed moment to recharge at home. Sturnham believes that this 360 approach to self-care will extend to skincare, too. "Autumn will be about focusing as much on what we put into our bodies at the same time as looking at what we put onto the skin directly," she explains. "I have always been a big believer in this approach, and my clinic brand philosophy is based around this holistic approach. Consumers today are much more aware of the links between gut health, hormone balance and well-being and the impact these have on skin health. As such, we're seeing a growing trend for efficacy-backed beauty edibles and tandem products that work both internally and topically."
Sturnham recommends seeking out type 1 marine collagen supplements, which "provide the building blocks [skin] needs to repair and restore connective tissue." I personally love that Vida Glow's supplements not only contain this but taste good, too.
Add a spoonful of this to a daily smoothie or glass of water for a top-up of skin-friendly collagen and energising vitamin C.
Finally, one of the biggest autumn skincare trends will take place below the neck. "As the weather changes, we also often see changes in the skin on our bodies, typically more dryness," explains Ifeoma Ejikeme, MD, MBChB, MSc, skin expert and medical director/founder of Adonia Medical Clinic. "Use an emollient body moisturiser like Dr Sam's Flawless Body Therapy (£29), which contains bakuchiol, niacinamide and lactic acid—all great for hydrating skin."
Markey confirms that this interest in "off-face treatments" is set to grow in autumn 2021. "Niacinamide is a very helpful calming and restorative 'master molecule' and is perfect for particularly sensitive areas like necks and chests. I recommend Beauty Pie Über Youth Neck & Chest Super Lift Serum-Spray (£16, member price)."
This nourishing body lotion brightens, firms and smooths skin for genuinely radiant limbs.
Brimming with marine actives and sea buckthorn oil, this moisturising balm has been specially formulated to hydrate and nourish skin below your face.
Autumn Nail Trends
Nail art has dominated the manicure landscape since salons reopened back in April this year, and our penchant for playful prints looks set to grow. "The autumn/winter season is such a fantastic time to try out some new looks to match your wardrobe," says Juanita Huber-Millet, Townhouse founder and creative director. "This season's nail art themes will include the ever-popular negative-space mani reimagined with '70s retro influences. Think bold print pops, like flowers and animal prints, and French tips with an autumnal twist."
Simply smooth these psychedelic nail wraps onto bare nails, and file off the excess for instant '70s nail art at home.
Add a subtler pop of pattern with these geometric nail stickers.
As a lover of a chic black mani all year round, I'm delighted that autumn sees a welcome return to deeper, moodier hues when it comes to nail polish colours. "I think in general, when it comes to autumn trends, there are two distinct camps," explains Carla Opoku, founder of Cienna Rose. "One is going to be a lot of barely there nails, flesh tones and coffee and cream hues, and on the flip side, there will be lots of gothic-inspired colours from deep, dark burgundies, midnight blues and even black, as seen at Philipp Plein, Anna Sui and Rodarte."
This classic autumn red will look good on everyone.
This deep, dark navy blue makes a sophisticated alternative to black.
After all that colour and print, the final autumn nail trend for 2021 feels like a breath of fresh air. "There's no doubt negative space has already made a huge impact this year and has featured in every top nail artist's Instagram feed," says Nailberry founder Sonia Hully. "No matter the season, a nude should never be overlooked, so we are certain that neutrals will dominate the negative-space manicure this autumn."
This soft beige will take your nails through autumn and beyond.
If you're going to go for a basic polish, make it Gucci.