The Best Hair and Make-up Trends of 2011
The Best Hair and Make-up Trends of 2011
KJ reflecting on the trends of 2011

By Kevin James Bennett

It's time to review our favorite trends of 2011 (we’ll just ignore the train wrecks). I've hand-picked this group of make-up and hair looks for their timeless appeal and general wearability. Each of these will guarantee top-notch glamour and keep you oh-so-gorgeous well into the new year.

Nude lips took a backseat to the power pout in 2011. From orange to coral to fuchsia to red, strong lip color was undeniably the biggest fashion make-up trend of the year. A multitude of formulas meant you could be beautifully bold in an opaque red like Nars Cosmetics Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio or opt for a slightly bashful sheer like NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Perfect Red. I've said it a gazillion times (and I'll say it again): Any woman can wear red, as long as it's the right shade and finish to match her lifestyle.

Another major trend in 2011 was the mirror-like finish of metallic make-up. Unlike in previous seasons, we were not confined to the typical silver, gold and bronze palette—a full spectrum of ravishing colors is now on the market. I'm obsessed with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour Concentrates and  Naked Cosmetics Mineral Pigments. These high-shine powders can be used directly on skin or mixed with any other make-up product (lip gloss, foundation, nail polish, body lotion, etc.), to give either a jolt of reflective color or a subtle glow. Imagine a smoky eye in inky midnight-blue metal, a pearly pale-peach highlight on the top of your cheekbones, a pop-art pink to give your pucker pizzazz ... the possibilities make me giddy!

We also witnessed a serious dose of color infused into eye liners in 2011. It’s time to ditch the standard black, brown or gray and experiment with something a little unexpected.  Urban Decay Glide-On Shadow Pencils apply like soft, smudgeable crayons and set to a serious stay-put finish. They can be used as eye liner or cream eye shadow, giving you lots of options to experiment with color.

Lush lashes are no longer optional, they are now required (in my book, anyway)! I could go through a myriad of eyelash primers, a “who's who” of the latest mascara marvels or even tell you to wait 16 weeks for a lash-growing serum to work, but I won’t. Why bother when you can pop on a pair of falsies? You can change lashes as easily as your accessories and have a separate look for each outfit or event.

Want even more motivation to go faux? You don’t have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks. That’s right, I’ll admit it: I like cheap false eyelashes. My make-up kit always has a wide selection of Ardell and Red Cherry styles. They're an inexpensive way to dial up the glam and have some fun. Ardell Demi Wispies and  #110 lashes (both in black, of course) and   Red Cherry lashes in #43   are my go-to styles for immediate lash satisfaction. But I also keep some super-glam styles on hand just in case I have a Kardashian moment! Try Velour Lashes in Strike a Pose if you’re really ready to go big.

And some good news on the self-tanning front: That coveted, bronzy glow is finally moving away from Oompa-Loompa orange to realistic, sun-kissed color. I prefer matte or slightly shimmering bronzers (keyword: slightly) with a cool undertone. So step away from the glittery pumpkin color, please. Try a powder such as Smashbox Bronze Lights or a fluid such as  St. Tropez Wash Off Instant Glow Face.

Want to adopt this style for yourself? With powder bronzer, dip a nice fluffy brush into the powder and shake off the excess. Now swirl the powder from your cheeks, backwards and up towards your temples. Add a little along your hairline (on the forehead) and a touch at the very base of your chin (blending backward onto your neck). The same placement works with the fluid bronzer—use your fingers, a sponge or synthetic foundation brush to apply. And another thing: Keep your hairstyle and the rest of your make-up simple to complement these tawny touches.

While we’re on the subject of hair, let’s talk about two key trends for your tresses.

High, low, braided, curled or to the side, ponytails are no longer a quick fix for running to the gym or doing errands. You can slick hair back for a sleek, sophisticated look or leave it a little messy for a casually elegant feel. You don't even have to wait for your hair to grow out to get this gorgeously girly look if you have extensions professionally added or use clip-in pieces, such as celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves’ collection of Pony Extensions.

Brigitte Bardot made wavy, tousled hair iconic and, thankfully, the Victoria's Secret girls keep this look on a slow, sexy simmer. Once again, if you don't have enough natural hair to pull this off, hair extensions (semi-permanent or clip-in) will help you rock the look. Just wrap sections of hair (lightly sprayed with a thermal styler such as Redken Spray Starch 15) about 3-4 inches from the root in a spiral direction on the barrel of a 1"-1.5" curling iron. Heat through, release and let each individual spiral curl cool completely. DO NOT brush or comb through your hair. Flip your head over and massage the roots to add volume. Now bring your head back up and use your fingers like a rake comb to separate and smooth the waves. Use a light, touchable hairspray like L'Oréal Elnett Satin to hold the style without the stiffness.

So there you have it: a handful of totally wearable beauty trends to help you finish off 2011 with a bang and glide into 2012 looking fantastic!

Happy New Year! KJ - xoxo