11 Sultry Summer Makeup Trends for 2021

Celebrity makeup artists weigh in on the season's standout looks.

makeup trends summer 2021
(Image credit: Mark Nolan)

The warmer months call for lightweight, colorful, and non-boring makeup looks that won't melt away. For the long-awaited summer of 2021, Marie Claire tapped celebrity and editorial makeup artists to weigh in on this summer's biggest makeup trends (opens in new tab) and show us how to easily achieve these standout looks. From '90s glam to vibrant neon eyeshadows (opens in new tab) to shimmer, shimmer, and more shimmer, read on for your dose of summer 2021 makeup inspo.

Your Skin But Better

A lit-from-within approach to your makeup look is all the rage this summer. According to celebrity makeup artist Keita Moore (opens in new tab), skin is in and lightweight coverage is at the forefront of this season's trends. "It makes sense that having to wear a mask has minimized full coverage makeup looks. People have been taking better care of their skin and are reaching for lighter coverage," Moore says.

To achieve this fresh-faced look, start by priming your skin with Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer (opens in new tab), then apply a thin layer of the Luminous Silk Foundation (opens in new tab). Complete your look with the Luminous Silk Glow Setting Powder (opens in new tab) for a super smooth, glowing finish.

'90s Glam is Back

summer 2021 makeup trends

(Image credit: Ron Galella, Ltd.)

The lost magic of the '90s supermodel has been revived! "We’ve taken beauty looks worn by Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and Naomi Campbell and [are] bringing them to 2021 trends," Moore says. "Eyes: Matte brown shadows and full volume mascara. Brows: slightly arched with some natural strays. Lips: Deeper nudes with a slight gloss. Skin: Not too matte and not too glowy. It falls right in line with the current no-makeup-makeup trend."

Warm Eyes

This summer will be all about glowing, dewy sun-kissed skin with warm shades around the eyes. Sabrina Bedrani (opens in new tab), celebrity makeup artist and brand ambassador for Dior Makeup is all about highlighting the eyes. "It’s about giving freshness to the face and bringing the eyes out without any harsh lines," Bedrani says. "To achieve this look, I love using the Dior Forever Skin Glow (opens in new tab) to even out the complexion without covering the skin too much."

Another hero product recommended by Bedrani to achieve the warm, luminous highlight of your dreams: The Rosy Glow Blush (opens in new tab). Apply it to the high points of your cheekbones.

Pastel Shades

Bedrani recommends playing with warm peachy, nude-ish colors to help bring out the facial features in a subtle way. "For this look, I love the Dior 5 Couleurs Couture eyeshadow palette from the Summer Dune Collection in 699 Mirage (opens in new tab) and a soft nude lipstick such as the Rouge Dior 100 Nude Look (opens in new tab)."

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Light and Luminous

Beauty trends for summer 2021 will be about playing with light to achieve a natural sheen. Tasha Reiko Brown (opens in new tab), CHANEL makeup artist and groomer, is all about incorporating subtle shimmer to your look and letting your skin shine through. "To me, the CHANEL Les Beiges 2021 Collection is a perfect embodiment of playing with light," Brown says

To achieve this effortless shimmering look and reflect light around the eyes, Brown's go-to summer palette for all-in-one beauty is the CHANEL Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette (opens in new tab) in Intense to brighten and define the eyes, CHANEL Les Beiges Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream (opens in new tab) to subtly warm up the complexion, and CHANEL Rouge Coco Bloom Lip Colours (opens in new tab) for a lightweight and velvety finish.

Intensely Colorful Eyes

Amp up your look this season with a statement-making eye look. "I love the evolution of the graphic eye for summer because it’s less about heavy contours and more about incorporating a pop of color in unexpected ways," says Paul Garcia (opens in new tab), director of education and artistry for YSL Beauty.

To achieve this striking look, start by applying an eye primer of your choice before blending in the vibrant pigments from the YSL Couture Clutch Eyeshadow Palette (opens in new tab).

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Bling On The Bronzer

"Using a bronzer [to create] a fresh-from-the-beach look will help breathe new life and vitality into our winter complexions," explains Nick Lujan (opens in new tab), director of artistry and education for Kevyn Aucoin.

Incorporate a bronzing product into your summer makeup routine for a dewy, glass-skin finish. "The best way to achieve this glowing sun-kissed glow is to use Kevyn Aucoin’s Stripped Nude Skin Tint (opens in new tab) in a shade that is one-to-two shades darker than your normal shade, to create a subtle tanned look," Lujan explains. The skin tint is perfect for providing a second-skin effect, plus it's packed with antioxidants and a blue light protectant.

For a little extra shimmer, blend a little bit of the Glass Glow Face (opens in new tab) in the shade Spectrum Bronze into your moisturizer, liquid foundation, or press it onto clean skin. Finish off the look by dusting the Neo-Bronzer (opens in new tab) on to the high points of your face for the flawless glow you deserve.

Light as a Feather Brows

Brow trends come and go, but one thing's for sure—it's important to frame the windows to our souls with a beautiful brow. After months of wearing masks, our brows have been our most important feature for conveying emotion. "A harsh/strong brow could hinder communication and leave a lot lost in translation. Hence, soft, feathery, natural looking brows have taken the main stage,"Lujan says. "Whether they are micro-bladed, laminated, or styled, the feather brow is here to stay."

Achieve this effortless brow with Kevyn Aucoin’s True Feather Brow Marker Gel Duo (opens in new tab). The double-sided marker product makes it easy to precisely shape and fill in the brow. One side of the marker has a synthetic fiber tip that makes it easy to precisely sketch individual hairs; the other end has a clear gel and brush to style and finish the look.

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Demi-Matte Complexion

ICYMI: Fresh, glowing skin is the ultimate accessory this summer. Jason Hoffman (opens in new tab), celebrity makeup artist and global beauty director for Laura Mercier, predicts that glowing skin with a semi-matte finish will be this summer's go-to.

“The craving for levity translates to complexion, so go as lightweight as possible for your comfort level," Hoffman says. He recommends Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Natural Skin Perfector (opens in new tab) to achieve this look. It gives just enough coverage without becoming too oily or weighing down the skin, plus, provides optimal hydration.

Neon Eyeshadows

Summer is the best time to experiment with bright colors. Celebrity makeup artist Shadi Malek (opens in new tab) predicts that neon shadows like lime green will be this season's hero look. "Summer 2021 is all about the unique eye makeup—whether it’s asymmetrical graphic liner, pops of color, dramatic lashes—it's all about saying wow with your eyes," Malek says.

Recreate this look by applying a highly pigmented shadow to the inner corners of your eyes, extending the color up to the beginning of your eyelid's crease. For even more drama, Malek recommends doubling up on your lashes. Try adding Ardell Demi Wispies (opens in new tab) to achieve a voluminous lash look.

Loads of Shimmer

Don't be afraid to go all out with your look this summer. Celebrity makeup artist Hung Vanngo (opens in new tab) created the Loubilook "Red Night" with Christian Louboutin Beauty which explores the nuances of red. "Color is life!" Vanngo says. "It enhances every beauty look. It makes sporty looks more playful, day looks more daring, and night looks more seductive."

Mimic this look by applying the Tape à l'Oeil Eye Color (opens in new tab) in the shade Carnelian on the eyelid. Complete the sensual eye look by creating a slightly smoked out cat eye with Oeil Velours Velvet Eye Definer (opens in new tab) and get the full lash effect with Les Yeux Noirs Lash Amplifying Lacquer (opens in new tab).

Chelsea Hall is the Assistant Fashion and Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers celebrity style, fashion trends, skincare, makeup and anything else tied into the world of fashion and beauty