It happens every year - the nights become cooler, summer flings fizzle, and collegiettes everywhere begin the countdown to September. It’s not just the smell of pencil erasers or new books wafting through late August; it’s the intoxicating scent of a fresh start. Of all 365 days, these are the ones most filled with anticipation and promise and the prospect of walking onto campus knowing people are taking notice.
While you may not be able to suddenly grow four inches or purchase an entirely new wardrobe, you can experiment with makeup, nails and accessories to achieve that “wow” moment. To help you turn heads in the hallways, we’ve compiled a list of low-cost, high-impact mini-makeovers just in time for the Fall debut of the New You.
1. Sweet eyes - Pretty much every love song ever mentions the eyes. To get your peepers noticed and inspire a few angsty ballads of your own, Megan McIntyre, Beauty Editor for Refinery29, suggests the “It” makeup color for fall: Chocolate Cherry. Explains McIntyre, “[It’s] the combination of a deep brown and bright red into one gorgeous, romantic shade. It's a flattering color to a variety of skin tones because the two hues almost cancel each other out when they blend to create a universally appealing hue.”
Inspiration: Donna Karan Fall 2012 Runway.
For those of us not on a runway, look for a shade that’s relatively sheer to allow for better control - you don’t want to look like the Corpse Bride. Those with baby blues should choose a hue with enough red to contrast with your eyes, while brown-eyed and green-eyed ladies should search out a color closer to purple to make your color pop. Layer the shadow on your eyelids and deep in the crease, and then move upward towards your brow bone. Be sure to keep the color entirely on your upper lid for a simplified but dramatic twist on the classic smoky eye.
2. Tough lips - Neo-Grunge has been making a comeback in trendy fashion for several seasons, and now it’s making a run in the beauty department. Similar to the Chocolate Cherry look for eyes, the new lip color is a bold burgundy. Says McIntyre, “Dark lips in general are back with a vengeance — one look at Kate Bosworth's gothic pout at this year's Met Ball showed that this '90s staple could be updated and made chic for the modern era.”
Inspiration: Gucci Fall 2012 Runway.
Some of you may want to and be able to rock the full-on goth - but for those of us who do not and cannot, a lip stain is a great alternative. It stays put for hours (read: no embarrassing lipstick-teeth), you can layer it on, and it gives you the choice of either a matte or glossy look. When shopping, remember that the color in the tube is going to be significantly darker than the color on your lips. Keep the rest of your makeup minimal, with just the lightest layer of mascara, and focus your attention instead on evening out and brightening your skin tone for a look that’s both edgy and ethereal.
3. Extreme hair - Good news: the basis for fall hair trends is your natural texture. McIntyre notes a runway tendency towards two extremes: dramatically messy and ultra straight. If you feel as though you’re constantly fighting against mismatched waves or mounds of curls, embrace your locks and cultivate “super-messy, twisted, lived-in texture and waves.” While your hair is still wet, run a styling cream through to manage frizz, twist small chunks of hair into faux-dreadlocks, and then turn on your favorite girl power anthem and get your head bang on.
Wild and Crazy inspiration: Rag and Bone Fall 2012 Runway
If you’re naturally straight-haired, there’s a trend for you, too. McIntyre cites a move toward “straight, shiny, swingy strands,” but these are not the fried locks of middle school yore. Before picking up the flat iron, focus on getting your hair healthy by using a leave-in conditioner along with your regular hair routine. Once your hair is almost dry, run the flat iron over small sections of hair at a time to ensure a glassy finish.
Pin Straight inspiration: Betsey Johnson Fall 2012 Runway
4. The chameleon accessory - Favored for years by hipsters and Rosie the Riveter, the headscarf is now gaining popularity due to its versatility. What’s great about this simple accessory is its ability to inject any ensemble with a pop of color and pattern. Use it to hold up a high ponytail, finish a braid, serve as the ever-classy headband, or just experiment until you find your own signature “look.”
Inspiration: Moschino Fall 2012 Runway
5. Patterned nails – While the nail art featured in magazines is enviable, for the average collegiette it can be a bit impossible to execute successfully. Thankfully, a number of companies have begun producing easy-to-apply nail strips that allow you to have a number of runway-inspired designs literally at your fingertips. Some designers have even begun creating their own prints in an attempt to save time backstage. Both Sally Hansen and Sephora have a number of great on-trend options.
In terms of trends within the nail color world, dark, moody colors, like navy and burgundy, are in, as are lush, glamorous textures like gold glitter. Think of these hues as the elegant alternative to the chipped black nail polish we all thought made us edgy in 8th grade.
Inspiration: Alice + Olivia Fall 2012 Runway
Which fall beauty trend will you be rocking? Leave a comment!
Woman applying lipstick Image via Shutterstock