Well, it’s official: The air is starting to have a brisk bite to it, the leaves are just beginning to blush, and the sun is setting earlier with each passing day. Summer is grinding to a halt before our eyes. No matter how old we get, fall will always have that back-to-school feeling—it’s a time for new beginnings, a renewed focus, and fresh trends.
As someone who grew up loving beauty products, I have vivid memories of combing through the pages of my magazine subscriptions to gobble up every fall beauty trend before the season officially started. I used to cut out my favorites and paste them into collages for inspiration, hoping I’d be able to manifest them into existence in my small, suburban Western town. I’d slip eyeliner into my mom’s grocery cart and beg for a trip to Ulta or Sephora before school began.
This year, I’m channeling that starry-eyed teen but flipping the script. I talked to experts in the beauty industry to find out this fall’s biggest, buzziest, collage-worthiest trends before they happen. There’s something fresh and new happening across every category, whether it’s skin, hair, makeup, nails, or fragrance (my favorite). Fall is always a time for fresh starts, but this season, that idea feels particularly poignant. Coming off of a summer with record-breaking heat, sky-high inflation, and an ongoing pandemic, we’ve never needed a clean slate more.
Without further ado, presenting our fall beauty starter pack. This season, expect reflective skin, showstopping makeup looks, lab-made scents, ’70s vibes, and the return of mattes. I won’t fault you for printing these mood boards and tacking them to your wall—my teenage self would very much encourage it.
Have you ever looked at a container of Jell-O and thought, Wow, I wish my skin looked like that? Me neither. But take some time to consider it now. Jell-O is smooth, bouncy, and shiny, which is essentially what everyone is looking for from their skin. That’s why Jell-O skin is majorly trending this fall.
If you look at the dewy skin that’s dominated seasons past, Jell-O skin is a natural progression. “Jell-O skin is skin that’s plump, hydrated, and bouncy, almost like the consistency of fresh Jell-O,” says the TikTok creator who coined the term, Ava Lee. For Lee, Jell-O skin is a way of living rather than a revamped skincare routine. “It’s a lifestyle that encompasses a solid skincare routine, balanced eating, and hydrating skin from inside and out. I love eating my antioxidants as much as I love applying them on my skin,” she says.
It’s never a bad idea to eat antioxidant-rich foods like leafy greens and berries, but there are also some steps you can take in your skincare routine to make your skin as plump and glassy as possible. Rebecca Marcus, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, recommends opting for products that help build collagen and hydrate the skin. “Vitamin C, retinol, and peptides are tried-and-true collagen boosters, while hyaluronic acid is a classic humectant, which draws water into the skin and increases hydration,” she says.
Photo:Michael Tran, Getty Images; Harry Langdon, Getty Images; Peter White, Getty Images; ABC Photo Archives, Getty Images
Move over, glass hair—this fall is all about tons of layers, movement, and texture. Shaggy layers, wolf cuts, and even perms are gaining momentum and cementing themselves as the hairstyles du jour. “Layers are having such a moment right now because it adds an ease into the styling,” says New York–based hairstylist and Eva NYC ambassador Mischa G. “I would consider it an easier effortless look, crossing the vibes of the ’70s long shags and long fringe with the volume and piecey layers of the ’90s.” Think Farrah Fawcett meets Cindy Crawford—the more layers and volume, the better.
Wolf cuts are another major trend at the moment. “The wolf cut is a fun trend happening now, or when the mullet from the ’70s met the shag from the ’90s in 2022,” says celebrity stylist Bridget Brager. “This is a great mid-length cut with a style that accentuates all your best facial features.”
As for perms? They’re no longer the fluffy, poodle-like manes that moms had in the ’80s. The modern perm feels fresh, approachable, and effortless. “Everyone wants a perm right now,” Mischa G says. “Perms and layers go hand in hand. Curly and wavy girls evoke a sense of free spirit and fun. Now that there are more tutorials and products out there for curly girls and there isn’t the pressure to always have smooth, ‘perfect’ hair, everyone wants a wave and a curl to their mane.” If you have natural texture, now is the perfect time to let it shine.
More than anything, the biggest styles right now are a form of self-expression. “Personal aesthetic is embraced in the workplace, and with that, we’re seeing beautiful exposition of natural hair, more daring cuts and colors, and an overall embrace of texture,” says Stranger Things stylist Kat Suhre.
Let me guess—the term “matte nails” sends a chill down your spine. For those of us who lived through the first iteration in 2009, it’s hard to forget the matte nails of homerooms past. Black matte nails were the calling card for edgy people everywhere, and how could they not be? These tips were the antithesis of the classic manicure.
Well, matte nails are back, and—trust me on this—they’re better. “It creates a diffused, soft finish without taking away impact, and in some cases, it increases the impact of a finished manicure,” says Heather Reynosa, OPI’s global education design director.
Color is of the utmost importance when it comes to going matte. Jin Soon Choi, editorial manicurist and founder of Jinsoon, recommends opting for rich, dark colors, nudes, or metallics for an unexpected finish, particularly in the fall. Reynosa says fall is the perfect time to take jewel tones for a spin.
For the most modern twist on a matte mani, negative-space manicures with a matte topcoat will be all the rage. “Negative-space designs are a fun way to spruce up your nails and are so simple to do,” says Choi. “I like doing a modern twist on the classic French tip with abstract wavy designs. Instead of just rounding out the tips, try experimenting with sharp edges and longer lines or artistic wavy lines—especially with a matte finish—which can look very chic and fun at the same time.”
Photo:Peter White, Getty Images; Peter White, Getty Images; Fernanda Calfat, Getty Images; @hungvanngo
First, we saw them on the runways. Then, they made their way to TikTok. And now, siren eyes are set to be fall’s biggest makeup trend. In Greek mythology, sirens were women who lured sailors to their deaths with their singing—and you can imagine that these temptresses would have had seductive eye makeup to match. When paired with glazed, high-shine lips, this sultry makeup look is reminiscent of the ’90s grunge scene (but more pared-back).
Celebrity makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran explains that siren eyes are a cross between traditional cat eyes and the more recent fox-eye trend. The resulting look makes eyes appear elongated. As for the reflective gloss we’ll see paired with them? “Glossy lips will always be tried and true for me,” says Jaikaran. “What I love most about this glossy-lip moment is that regardless [of] if you do very little makeup or you love to glam it up, gloss would always be the perfect fit.”
Jaikaran says that re-creating this look at home is actually quite a bit easier than you may think. “Use a matte brown shade in the crease of the eye and blend outward toward the temple for a winged shape,” she says. “Use a lighter matte or shimmer on the lid and fuse both colors together. Once that’s complete, use your gel liner and a liner brush and create a small wing on the inner and outer corner. Of course, finish with mascara. A great way to create a lifted look is to apply your mascara closer to the outer lashes, as it gives a flirty finish.”
Photo:Escentric Molecules, Getty Images, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Juliette Has a Gun
This fall’s biggest scents don’t come from a tree or a flower. In fact, they don’t come from a natural resource at all—they’re entirely imagined. This idea is encapsulated in now TikTok-famous perfumer Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s newest scent, 724, but it’s also a theme in fragrance brands such as Escentric Molecules and Juliette Has a Gun.
Kurkdjian’s 724 is inspired by New York City. “When I created 724, I was feeling inspired by the magnetism of city life, the constant excitement, and energy you find in a bustling city,” says Kurkdjian. The scent is meant to mimic the sensation of walking around a city.
"724 is a musky floral eau de parfum, composed of three main accords, imagined like shades of white whose textures overlap with an energetic rhythm," says Kurkdjian. “As top notes, you’ll find a fresh ‘urban accord,’ carried by aldehydes and bergamot oil from Italy. It is very luminous and has a slight metallic aspect, thanks to the aldehydes. Then in the core notes, you’ll find a floral white accord, driven by white flowers, jasmine absolute from Egypt, and mock orange. Finally, the base notes release something very sweet, even warm. I called it ‘comfortable cotton accord,’ as it gives a reassuring facet to the whole composition.”
The resulting scent is magnetic. It’s guttural, almost animalistic, but it’s rounded out with clean, bubbly, vaguely floral notes that smell like no flower you’ve ever smelled before—but you’ll immediately wish you had a bouquet of whatever it is. Two of its main notes are aldehydes and an abstract floral accord, which give the fragrance its unique, undefinable quality. It smells like a sunrise on the Brooklyn Bridge brightened with a dash of hope, and that’s a kind of smell you just can’t get from a typical perfume. Wear it 24/7—just as Kurkdjian intended.