For an answer to that question, I turned to Afrobella’s friendly makeup vlogger and reviewer Sherry Blossom (follow @MsSherryBlossom on Twitter)! She did amazing, exhaustive research to give you the definitive answer. Take it away, Sherry!

What Were The Top Makeup Trends of 2011?

With responses from over 100 of my makeup peers: pro makeup artists, YouTube makeup sensations, major cosmetic brands, celebrity makeup artists, beauty bloggers and fashion bloggers alike I’ve complied a list of the top makeup trends of 2011! Inspired by the runway, print, commercial and even the red carpet, these trends took 2011 by storm. Some are old favorites, others finally got the attention they deserved and some were worn to the ground and may not return as big in 2012.

With over 100 responses from my makeup peers, here’s what some had to say on the hottest trends of 2011:

Celebrity Makeup Artist Kevin James Bennett – “The biggest trend..METALLICS. I love all the fabulous reflective (not glittery) finishes. And not just in the expected silver, gold, bronze- Oh no, they’re showing up in a multitude of rich jewel tones and gorgeous saturated brights.”

Celebrity Makeup Artist Eve Pearl – “Bold, vivid lips. Red, pink…lips that make a statement…a matte finish will keep them looking classic.”

Celebrity Makeup Artist Ricky Wilson – “…cat eyes, geometric shadow and chiseled cheeks.”

Celebrity Makeup Artist, Denise Tunnell – “ lips…FUSCHIA hot pink lips..bold colors (worn on lips, nails, toes, eyes and in the hair)..”

Celebrity Makeup Artist Roque Cozzette – “Perfect red lips and brown smokey eyes.”

Beauty brand Temptu Pro – “..neutral polish, lust worthy red lips, rosey and peachy cheeks, big teased hair and bolder brows.”

Beauty brand Face Atelier – “..lips are back! Not necessarily a bold lip but a well defined lip. Lip pencils definitely made a comeback.”

Beauty brand L’OrealParisUSA – “Bright bold lips, false lash look, nail art, smoky metallic eyes, retro looks and cat eyes…”

Beauty brand, Cover FX – “..the colour orange, double eyeliner, nude lips…”

Beauty brand, Bdellium Tools – “…smoky metallic eyes, bold brows, orange hue cheeks/lips, red lips, winged liner & nude color makeup.”

Beauty brand GLAMCOR – “…ages 20-30 bolder colors, 30-40 great skincare with elegant colors, 40-50 great skin with accent on muted colors, 50+ same…elegance..better color tone matching..”

African fashion website Africa Style Daily – “…definitely..has been the year of the bold lip!”

Natural hair blogger TheManeSource on Twitter – “..well sculpted brows and having luscious lashes.”

Natural hair blogger AisforAlex on Twitter – “…contoured cheeks, winged eyeliner…lavender lips”

Makeup Artist Eonet Brown – “…bold orange lips, wild bushy brows…thick winged liner…”

Makeup Artist Jennifer James – “…ORANGE anything and PURPLE anything else. Illuminated skin, BIG BOLD yet NATURAL BROWS!”

Makeup Artists of The Makeup Lab – “…color blocking…more people have been inclined to wear bold colors this year!”

Beauty blogger Milly of BeautyLogic – “…definitely the bold red lip and the intense brows! Very wearable..”

Beauty Blogger of Lakisha of BlaqVixenBeauty – “..metallic eyesahdow, red lips, winged liner, textured nails, bold brows…”

Beauty blogger and Makeup Artist Danielle Gray – “Bright lip color may have had the best year ever in 2011. All shades of beautiful look stunning in hues of crimson, fuchsia, violet, and bold orange. Plus with a bold lip you need little else on the face to make a statment: bold blush, liner, and mascara.”

Beauty blogger and Makeup Artist Kim Porter – “…red lips…full brows, cat eyes, metallics…”

Youtube beauty vlogger and Makeup Artist Makeup By Rachael O – “red lips, bold liner, cat eyes, and organic beauty”

Youtube beauty vlogger and Makeup Artist, @BeautyAtTiffany on Twitter – “..nude lips for all skin lipstick…bronzy skin..”

Youtube beauty vlogger and Makeup Artist Lilpumpkinpie05 – “..fuller/natural brows..”

Youtube beauty and natural hair vlogger and blogger AfricanExport – “…looking in Vogue, I’d say naked/minimal makeup, bold brows, cat liner and super bronzed skin.”

Youtube beauty vlogger LipSh0ck – “…orange lips..nude eyes with spiky lashes, metallic eyes…red lips.”

Youtube beauty vlogger DRBrooklyn730 – “…bold lips, especially orange lipstick, bold brows, bright eye shadow…and skin was very natural this year…”

Fashion blogger CherrieAmore – “…1) the red lip & 2)neutral looks..”

I wish I could list them all. I’ve tried all of these trends and I see many of them being staples for me in 2012. Without further delay, let’s see what makeup trends made the list!

1) Natural Makeup

Also known as the coveted “no makeup” makeup looks. Highlighting and contouring the face, a bit of blush on the cheeks, soft arched brows, perfect mascara laced lashes, and a flesh toned lip completes the look. The key is to have flawless skin and let your ENTIRE face be the focal point of the makeup look. Tasha Smith pulled it off perfectly for the December 2011 cover issue of Essence.

2) Winged Liner

Amy Winehouse wasn’t the only one who loved this look. Icons like Audrey Hepburn wore this look back in the 1960s and it’s since made another debut. Black eyeliner winged upwards gives the illusion of almond shaped and “lifted” eyes. I ALWAYS wing my liner and I don’t see that ever going away. One of my favorite liquid liners to wing my liner with is Maybelline Ultra Liner in Black.

3) Orange Blush/Orange Lip

This trend literally skyrocketed it seemed overnight. Especially for those of us with deeper skin tones, we rediscovered how awesome coral cheeks and lips could be! With a neutral makeup look, a pop of color on the cheeks is just what the makeup doctors have ordered. Here I’m wearing Ruby Kisses All Over Bronzer with Black Radiance “Soft Honey” blush and Cover Girl Queen Collection Lipstick in “Rush”.

4) Matte Red Lips

Whether matte, satin, gloss, tint, stain or even luster the trend that will NEVER die…RED LIPS! Guerlin, a French cosmetic company, introduced us to our first red lipstick back in 1871 and we have never looked back. We now refer to the matte red lip as “timeless” and “classic” because with centuries under it’s belt, it’s definitely not just a trend, red lips were actually trendsetters! Here I’m rocking MACs Ruby Woo.

5) Bronzer

From the red carpet, tv screens, and print ads to our very own vanities — who doesn’t love a sun kissed glow? With Jennifer Lopez leading the way with her signature bronze look, celebrities like Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce and others showed us that bronze skin can be obtained at any shade. That glow from within works on any skin tone too. From high end to drug store, brands are debuting bronzers for you. Lots of shimmer, subtle shimmer and even matte. There is even bronzer in an airbrush formulation. It’s another trend that here to stay. So long to bronze skin only in the summer time. Wake up tomorrow looking as if you just got off the plane after a week in St.Tropes. Here I’m rocking Ruby Kisses All Over Bronzer.

6) Bold Lip Colors

Color, color and more color. The boldest lips have splashed onto the scene. Stepping outside the box was celebrated and encouraged. Fuschias, purples, pastel pinks and even blue and black lips were seen worn all around the world. With so many different shades of lipgloss and lipstick, a bold lip is just the tip of the iceberg on the color wheel and the combinations are limitless! Here I am wearing Covergirl Queen Collection Lipstick in “Seduction” and NYX lipgloss in “African Queen”. Patrice is rocking her very own MAC lipglass in “All Of My Purple Life”.

7) Metallic Eyeshadows

Duochromes ruled here! Makeup looks that were amplified by reflective tones, shimmer and brought to life by light. Metallics are not for the faint of heart. We can’t deny that mettallic eyes are attention grabbing. With the holiday season upon us, why not be daring and stand out (in a good way) at the party? All of the eyeshadows used above are by Inglot!

8 ) Luscious Lashes

Mascara commercials were endless this year, revolutionizing the way women “smile with their eyes”. Lashes complimented every look. Individual lashes, lash extensions, strip lashes and natural lashes with generous amounts of kick behind mascara. Lashes now completed every look. Above is a photo of a model from the Gucci Fall 2011 RTW collection — the lead makeup artist for the team behind the scenes was the legendary Pat McGrath. My favorite mascara to achieve luscious lashes is Maybelline Lash Stiletto (Waterproof).

9) Neutral With A Pop Of Color

Neutral looks are awesome — they go with everything! With color bursting onto the scene neutral looks were taken to the next level with pops of colors in the inner tear ducts and/or lining the bottom water line. We saw teals, purples, pinks even orange! This trend put a whole new spin on the “everyday” neutral look.

10) Color Blocked Makeup

Orange cheeks, pinky red lips and teal eyes!! Color blocking was a hot fashion trend, first seen on the runway that infiltrated the beauty scene. Bold eye and bold lip combos that were not for the faint of heart.

11) Strong Brows

Nothing completes a makeup look like a strong brow, perfectly arched with deep color. The time of thin, overly plucked and waxed brows has passed. Above you see work from my very own makeup portfolio.

Last but not least, This list would not be complete without this trend!


Thanks to Shellac, crackle and opaque polish trends, nails ruled far and wide. With many nail polish collections being just as anticipated as some makeup collections, nail trends went crazy! The craze with nail polish brought the hands into the world of beauty as never seen before.

What trends did you try this year? Which trends will you continue in 2012?


Caribbelle says:
December 30, 2011, 10:07 am
Strong brows need to be a staple, that makes all the difference even when you're not wearing makeup. I love red lipstick since I've found the courage to wear it, and I love that more brown ladies are wearing bronzer. It looks amazing when done in moderation like above.
Sherry Blossom says:
December 30, 2011, 12:57 pm
I concur! Strong brows are here to stay for me. I love a strong brow and the new movement of woman finding the courage to rock a red lip is amazing just as awesome as more deeper skin toned women rocking bronzers. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Cosmolude says:
December 30, 2011, 4:34 pm
I think I may have tried all of these trends this year except for using bronzer. I'd like to find a nice, complimentary bronzer. I also like to wear bold lip colors more often next year.
Danielle says:
December 31, 2011, 1:00 pm
This was a GREAT post! Loved reading all the trends and seeing the pics of Sherry and Patrice rocking the trends, too :)
Lakitha says:
December 31, 2011, 9:54 pm
I like this post. I was rocking all of the above mentioned trends for 2012. I have never been afraid of color. I am an NW45 who loves to rock color. I love a powerful lip and a seductive eye. I love vivid colors.
Joint & Muscle says:
January 1, 2012, 7:43 am
Very good list you have here. I like the colors too. I'll try to check out the links this weekend.
Noelle says:
January 1, 2012, 12:19 pm
Try the bronzer by ELF. I use it instead of foundation and powder and I've gotten so many compliments on it. Especially from men :)
Berty Morales says:
January 1, 2012, 3:14 pm
Beautiful colors.....Happy New Year!
Meredith says:
January 3, 2012, 4:40 am
Totally agree re: nail art, bold lip colors and brows. I absolutely loved the makeup trends this year - it was the first time I ever dared to wear color on my lips and I haven't looked back!
JennySue Makeup says:
January 4, 2012, 6:45 am
my fave standouts were def the 1. strong brows (very youthful look as opposed to super skinny unnatural ones!) 2. orange lip color (even though I personally can't wear it very well, love the look!) 3. and the pop of color on the face (easy and non intimidating way to wear brights!). this is some great research!! happy new year to you afrobella- looking forward to keeping up with you in 2012...
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:44 pm
Vivid colors rock! Keep it up! There are some awesome new trends brewing and I can't wait to see how they do!
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:45 pm
Thanks! Patrice and I were on top of the trends and didn't realize it at the time. The Makeup Show Chicago literally was like a bold lip convention lol!!! It was awesome!
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:46 pm
Also check out the Cover Girl Queen Collection bronzers....those are pretty good too!
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:47 pm
Thanks for reading and commenting. A great group of people and brands who contributed. You'll enjoy them!
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:48 pm
Thanks! Happy New Year to you too!!!
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:49 pm
Yes 2011 did well let's see if the trends this year can top those! I'm sure a few will make the list again! Oh yes you aren't the only one who hasn't looked back lol. I love a bold lip!
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:50 pm
Thanks for reading and sharing your favs!!! I'm sure you can try orange again....maybe a light coral color with a little pinky/peach look to it. Sometimes I wear full on orange other times it'll be varying hues of coral, peach, peachy/pink....
Sherry Blossom says:
January 5, 2012, 11:51 pm
Thanks for reading and sharing your favs!!! I’m sure you can try orange again….maybe a light coral color with a little pinky/peach look to it. Sometimes I wear full on orange other times it’ll be varying hues of coral, peach, peachy/pink….
Traditional says:
January 11, 2012, 1:25 am
Red Lipstick and Red Dress and among other colors that gives life to you face
Ruby says:
January 12, 2012, 8:05 am
Luscious Lashes, the makeup is so exquisite...
Kishia says:
January 17, 2012, 2:39 pm
Puh-Leeze tell me if you wore a lip liner with the Cover Girl Queen Collection lip color in Rush? I have that color and love it. I'm a brown skinned woman and I LOVE color. I also agree that so many colors flatter our complexion. But I can't seem to find the right hue of lipliner to flatter that color on me. It's kinda too bright on me unless I'm just wearing it with the wrong colors? I maybe closer to your complexion, which I love by the way, and really want to make this color work for me. Spill the secrets :) And great post.
Sherry Blossom says:
February 22, 2012, 7:46 pm
I usually wear a brown lip liner or a lip liner closest to the color of the lipstick to ensure a crisp sorry for the late response I hope this helps!! On my blog I talk about the use of lip liner and how to make it work for you...check out that post! Thanks for reading and commenting!! !
Sherry Blossom says:
February 22, 2012, 7:46 pm
Thanks...yes lashes lashes lashes....all the rave and definitely a trend thats strong in 2012 already!
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