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Instagram's Fall 2021 Beauty Trends Are All About Being Bold & Natural – The Zoe Report

(Beauty)
You might already be wearing this season’s It color.
With endless scroll Explore Feeds, bottomless hashtags, and countless content creators, if you want to stay updated on what’s new in the world of, well anything, turn to Instagram. The visual-first format lends itself especially well to showcasing beauty moments. Stalwart beauty brands showcase new products in the same feed as makeup artists who put a fresh spin on those same items, while celebrities and civilians alike congregate in the comments, swapping tips. It’s a crowdsourced effort, and the reward is a first look at trends as they form. Now, TZR is diving deeper with an inside look into Instagram’s biggest fall beauty trends straight from the source.
Speaking with Kristie Dash, Lead of Beauty Partnerships at Instagram, is like communing with a trend oracle — she knows what’s “in” now and what’s going to be trending next week, thanks to her insider knowledge and keen eye for newly-minted trends. From what she’s seen and discussed with similarly in-tune friends and colleagues, much of what’s hot in beauty right now can be divided into two camps: the minimalists and the maximalists — but Dash makes it clear that no matter where your allegiance lies, (even if it’s somewhere in the middle) there’s plenty happening to keep everyone on their toes.
“You’ve either shifted to a no-makeup makeup, all-natural routine,” Dash explains to TZR, “or you’re suddenly thrilled about the opportunity to dress up and are leaning into a maximalist, artistic approach. The beauty of Instagram is that you can find creators and brands that inspire both of these looks — there’s something for everyone.”
Added emphasis on expression and creativity has never been more apparent than in the most popular eye makeup looks, especially liner. Maybe it’s the tactile effect of physically holding a brush or inky pen, but Dash says hand-drawn eyeliner looks are an easy way to transform eye makeup into one-of-a-kind artwork. “I think this trend speaks to a broader consumer desire for personal and personalized style,” she muses, and adds, “By the way, this extends beyond just beauty — hand-painted denim and sneakers are also trending in the same way.”
To that end, pay attention to recent launches and you’ll notice major brands of all types releasing user-friendly products to get that very look. She lists luxury brand Byredo, accessibly-priced Zara, and Halsey’s Gen Z-beloved About Face as examples across the beauty spectrum. It might not seem like they have a lot in common on the surface, Dash explains, but they’re all dabbling in attention-grabbing palette colors, bold finishes, and multi-use crayons and pens for drawing on details. “They’re so fun to use and they’re obviously very Instagram-friendly,” she adds.
It’s no surprise that for the minimalists, fall and winter neutrals are back with a vengeance. Skin-colored polishes and lip gloss with just a hint of tint are an easy way to feel put-together, but the way brands are creating those muted tones is what’s interesting Dash right now. She cites what newly-launched brand Ami Cole is doing with their tinted moisturizers and lip glosses — it manages to feel fresh and modern without veering into a minimalists’ most dreaded territory: looking overly done up.
As summer fades even further into the rearview, there is one major trend from the warmer months Dash doesn’t see going anywhere: those dreamy, dewy balms that approximate a glossy summer flush — like the kind found in Jones Road Beauty’s catalog. It’s such an easy way to amp up an otherwise simple face, Dash says, and she considers it a personal favorite, too.
As for brows? Don’t worry, fluffy brows aren’t going anywhere. The relaxed style is still the perfect medium between the ultra-sculpted brows of the mid-2010s and well…doing nothing at all — and that’s probably why they’re so popular. “I think this lends itself to what I was talking about earlier with hair trends at large,” Dash explains. “Natural styles just feel really pretty and cool right now.”
But if you’re looking for a brow with a bit more…subversion, there’s good news for you, too. “I’m obsessed with the rise in this ‘alt beauty’ trend we’re seeing all over Instagram,” Dash says, noting that “we’re seeing a rise in bleached and customized brows along with other-worldly and alien-inspired makeup.” She points to the trend’s emphasis on self-expression and empowerment through challenging typical beauty norms.
According to Dash, the most popular colors of the new season also depend on your overall aesthetic. “For the beauty maximalists, I think it’s going to be all about neons which were all over the runways and Met Gala this season,” Dash shares, pointing out neon greens in particular.
Green is having a major moment, as evidenced by the headline-grabbing green manicures spotted on Kourtney Kardashian, Ella Mai, Dua Lipa, and Saweetie all in September alone. Along with neons (think alien green and tennis ball green) and the standout Kelly green — there’s also plenty of sage found in color palettes this time of year.
For the minimalists, sage shade is always a safe option if you’re looking to experiment but not necessarily draw attention. If you are looking to make people stop and stare, consider a more jewel-toned green, like a shade of emerald or jade. Classic fall neutrals, like sienna, khaki, and beige are still around, too (and probably always will be), but given new life when worked into fall nail art. For a shortcut, just take a classic nail art pattern like cow print or plaid and simply swap in your favorite colors of the moment.
Much of 2020 forced beauty lovers to reevaluate their routines out of sheer necessity — with salons closed, not much could be done about grown-out highlights and shaggy lengths. But the good news is, many found they liked the return, albeit a forced one, to their roots. Even on a personal level, Dash agrees, “In terms of color, I personally can’t imagine going back to my pre-pandemic, high-maintenance look that required me to go into the salon every six weeks. That inclination towards au natural extends to hairstyles, too,” she says.
“The shift I’m the most excited about is that women with natural hair are going with protective styles that redefine beauty standards and actually nourish hair versus damaging it,” she explains, ticking off faux locs, passion twists, Bantu knots, and twist-outs as especially popular on Instagram, the ideal mix of fun, style, and protection.
What’s unique about trend forecasting on Instagram is where these trends are coming from. Designers, celebrities, and publications have always pulled inspiration from civilians — it’s why street style photography is such a phenomenon. But Instagram democratizes that even further, essentially turning the entire platform into a sidewalk-turned-runway for everyday creatives. It’s never been easier to gather ideas or execute your own, and these customizable, individual-friendly trends are all the evidence needed. If beauty is all about fun, then Instagram’s the ultimate playground.

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