Beauty trend: Flushed cheeks, glistening skin and hit-the-showers hair did laps on the Spring 2012 runways. We take a closer look at athletic-inspired beauty

Athlete’s world

Athlete’s world

Drenched hair and skin, cheeks flushed from exertion—with clear eyes and full hearts, Kari Molvar contends this season’s beauty can’t lose.

Gearing up for fashion week is always a sport in itself, but this season designers and backstage beauty pros went for a literal interpretation. With slicked-back hair and rosy cheeks flushed as if they’d just come in from a run, models strode athletically down the runways in mesh tracksuits, neoprene zip-ups and jerseys ticked with racing stripes. But even if you’re not in training mode, the look is just as chic. With that in mind, we asked the elite hair and makeup pros to give us a few pointers on pulling off the trend.

We break down this season’s trend » HAIR | SKIN | FULL GALLERY

Diesel Black Gold Spring 2012. Photography by Peter Stigter
Diesel Black Gold Spring 2012. Photography by Peter Stigter

HAIR

Hairstylists put their blow-dryers on low speed this season, leaving models’ hair damp or dripping, like surfers fresh from the ocean. But achieving the glamorous wet look involved more than dunking heads in water. At Alexander Wang, Guido Palau created the wettest of the wet manes by coating hair in mousse from roots to ends, then saturating it in argan oil for a “sexiness and sense of ease” that complemented the aerodynamic collection. For a less drenched interpretation at BCBG Max Azria, Neil Moodie slicked the roots but left the rest of the hair dry, mimicking the way hair looks a few hours after coming out of the sea. The look picked up on the fluid, sporty tone of the clothing. “It’s one step beyond the beachy waves we’ve seen before,” Moodie says. “And the great thing about this new wet look is that it works on any length or texture.” The versatility factor was tested at Victoria Beckham, where Palau created a dual-texture style by combing a generous amount of gel through a section of dry hair from the forehead to the crown before clipping it in place with a simple gym barrette. He finished by smoothing serum over the top for a lacquered effect and leaving the remaining strands loose to air dry. “The key is to make it look effortless,” says Palau, adding that the effect is best achieved when it complements the clothing “without taking attention away.”

This carefree attitude also caught hold of the ultimate athletic ’do: the ponytail. At Diesel Black Gold, Palau channelled an ’80s-era French girl who had just bounded off the beach. Ample amounts of volumizing foam lent a glistening finish, while wavy, wind-swept texture was achieved by scrunching up the hair. A bit of shine serum patted on strategic spots, such as the tips of the hair, kept things raw and untamed. The look was played out further by Eugene Souleiman at Missoni, who did half-pulled-through ponytails, slicked down at the roots as if the models had been sweating while flamenco dancing until dawn. “There is something very minimal yet strong about the wet hair trend,” says Souleiman. “It’s all about being natural and just going with the flow, but it can still be elegant and severely chic.”

SKIN »

From left: Christopher Kane; Alberta Ferretti Spring 2012. Photography by Peter Stigter
From left: Christopher Kane; Alberta Ferretti Spring 2012. Photography by Peter Stigter

SKIN

Athletic feats also inspired makeup artists to give skin a post-workout glow. At Christopher Kane, Lucia Pieroni wanted the models to look “flushed and almost sporty, as if they’d been running up a hill.” She achieved the cardio-rush effect by applying a combination of three different blushes in varying tones of peachy pink.

At Alberta Ferretti, makeup artist Diane Kendal swept silver iridescent powder on the apples of the cheeks, the centre of the nose and the bow of the upper lip to create a glossy effect, while at Missoni, Pieroni relied on a gold cream shadow swirled over the upper cheekbones, nose and chin to mimic hot, sweaty skin. “I love this moment because, as a makeup artist, I like to see the skin and its natural texture glowing through,” Pieroni says. “By exaggerating the face’s highlights with creams or even glosses to catch the light and illuminate the skin, you create youth and light. It’s a very flattering finish.” So why stop at the neck? At Helmut Lang, makeup artist Lisa Butler used an airbrush gun to glide liberal amounts of champagne highlighter over models’ arms, legs and décolletage to extend the high sheen on the face. Still, moderation is important. Pieroni advises applying “a lightweight loose powder down the centre of the face. This is one area where you do not want to shine, as it will look sweaty.” After all, as Pieroni reminds us, the goal is to look “sport-luxe, not literally out of the gym.”