Why "Gold Leaf" Is Going To Be Winter's Shiniest New Makeup Trend

Celebrity makeup artists reveal this season's must-try looks.

Laverne Cox's gold lead eyes are a great winter 2021 makeup trend.
Emma McIntyre /AMA2020/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Summer was all about faux freckles. When it came to fall, blue eyeshadow was it. But what do 2021's winter makeup trends have in store? Well, turns out, they involve a little bit of everything — especially when it comes to the eyes.

Bustle spoke with celebrity makeup artist and Emmy winner Deja Smith, Maybelline New York U.S. brand ambassadors and celebrity makeup artists Jenna Kristina and Erin Parsons, Lady Gaga's makeup artist and global artistry director for Haus Laboratories Sarah Tanno, M.A.C senior national artist Fatima Thomas, and celebrity makeup artist and chief artistic officer of Beautycounter Christy Coleman about what to expect in beauty as the temperatures get colder. While they each had different trends in mind, there was one clear theme — it's going to be all about going big with your eyeshadows.

From bold colors to sculpted brows and jewel-toned shimmer, 2021's winter makeup looks will focus heavily on the eyes with a few complexion and lip trends thrown in for good measure. If you've been thinking of grabbing that bold eyeliner you've had in your cart for months or debating stocking up some Euphoria-inspired jewel tones, you're already a few steps ahead on this season's buzziest makeup trends.


Floating Eyeliner

Ariana Grande has become the queen of floating eyeliner, the long-lasting 2020 makeup trend that's slated to continue into winter 2021, according to makeup artist Jenna Kristina, Maybelline's New York U.S. brand ambassador.

"People are really exploring and having fun with funky styles," Kristina tells Bustle. "I think people are in need of things that bring them joy, and makeup is always going to do just that."

To get the look, Kristina recommends first outlining the shape you want with an eyeliner shade that's close to your skin tone. Once you've got your placement nailed down, apply a darker or brighter color over the top. Pro tip: Kristina typically uses a liquid liner for more precision. Try Fenty Beauty's Flyliner Longwear Liquid Eyeliner for the look.


Strong Brows

Christy Coleman, celebrity makeup artist and chief artistic officer at Beautycounter, see more natural-looking trends coming into style for winter 2021. While she does see the eyes as a focus for the season, she specifically points to bold brows as a way to emphasize them. The brow grooming "frames the face and creates a finished and polished look," Coleman tells Bustle.

To get the look, she recommends a duo of products: a brow pencil to create hairlike strokes and a brow gel to get fuller-looking arches. Try the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer pencil and Glossier's Boy Brow gel for the job. Using both will make the brows pop.


Gold Leaf

Emma McIntyre /AMA2020/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Celebrity makeup artist Deja Smith tells Bustle that this winter will be all about bringing joy through makeup, since wearing face masks is still a safety protocol. To her, this means ample eye ornamentation, like the gold foil trend she's already used on actress Laverne Cox at the American Music Awards.

You can find the delicate gold leaf at any craft store, but you'll want to be careful applying it since it's not a traditional makeup product. But Smith says it's simple to use. "Using two tweezers, tear your gold leaf into small pieces on a palette or clean surface," she tells Bustle. "With a clear duo brush-on adhesive, dot your desired pattern onto the skin. Move quickly to place the gold bits onto the adhesive and press gently into place with your ring finger." Then, voila: You're rocking the look.


Metallic Eyes

Celebrity makeup artist and Haus Labs global artistry director Sarah Tanno predicts a more is more approach to winter makeup, featuring bold metallic eyes. Her take? "Do what makes you feel good, powerful, and sexy," she tells Bustle, noting that everyone will look good rocking it.

"Try shades you wouldn’t normally wear together," Tanno suggests, recommending something like Haus Labs new 4-Way Eyeshadow in 4-Disco on the eyes. "The bright purple and metallic gold is perfect for feeling sexy and powerful, and is also a more modern take on holiday glam." You can also play with shades from ColourPop's Truly Madly Deeply Eyeshadow Palette.


Euphoria-Inspired Jewels

While gold leaf is Smith's favorite eye ornamentation for winter 2021, it's not the only one she sees becoming popular. The makeup artist specifically called out HBO's Euphoria — and the show's makeup artist Doniella Davy — creative use of eye jewels. Smith recommends looking to Davy's creations on the show for inspiration for your own look.

"Self-adhesive jewels are a fun and fast addition to the crease of your eye or lash line that can be worn alone or to enhance a larger makeup look," she tells Bustle.


Mascara, Mascara, Mascara

Fatima Thomas, M.A.C. senior national makeup artist, agrees that the eyes have it, but for her that means a lot of mascara. "Because we’re often covering our noses and mouths with masks, eye makeup is becoming more desirable, especially mascara," she tells Bustle, adding that it's a quick, one-step way to enhance your eyes.

For the look, go with a volumizing mascara like Benefit Cosmetics' They're Real! Lengthening tube. Her pro tip? Always curl your lashes before applying to make them appear even longer.



Coleman's prediction of strong brows isn't the only way she sees the eyes popping. She also predicts that shimmery lids will be everywhere. "The makeup focus will be on bright and awakened eyes with a bit of shimmer and mascara to make the eyes pop," she tells Bustle. She recommends using a single cream-based shimmer shade — like Sunstone from Beautycounter's Winter Warmth Palette, or you can try e.l.f. Cosmetics' Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette — all over the eye and in the inner corner to brighten up the eyes, and then to follow up with mascara.


Glowing Skin

In addition to bright eyes, Coleman also predicts that a fall 2020 trend — glowing skin — will continue throughout the winter. According to her, everyone looks great with radiant, glowing skin, as it provides a "natural and versatile" canvas for all skin tones. To get the look, she recommends applying lightweight foundation (like CoverGirl's Clean Fresh Skin Milk) with a sponge, not a brush, to get a more "skin-like" finish.


Bold Lips

Tanno's bold approach to winter makeup doesn't just apply to metallic eyes. She's also into a good, strong lip color, and she's totally on board with breaking the rule that you shouldn't wear it with a bold eye. "More is more," she tells Bustle. "Do whatever that means for you personally." She suggests mixing it up with a bright coral shade — try the NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in Red Square.


Single Colors

Thomas sees another simple but impactful way to make eyes pop this winter: with single eyeshadow shades. "Everyone should have what I call 'one-color-wonder' eyeshadows," she tells Bustle. "This is a shadow that’s neutral-ish and can be a bit deeper or a bit brighter than your skin tone that adds some pizzazz and beauty to your eyelids." You can go with either a shimmery or matte finish — your call. An eyeshadow like L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Cafe Au Lait works. To apply, Thomas recommends doing a quick sweep over the lids for an "effortless, put-together look."


Unique Eye Art

Celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons, who's a Maybelline New York global brand ambassador, predicts a more individualized approach to winter makeup via unique eye art. "I feel people are craving originality, explosions of color, and purely unique beauty," she tells Bustle, noting that Instagram is the perfect outlet for showcasing a done-up character. "It’s not like you’re in neon eyeliner to go to the grocery store — instead, you’re just doing your makeup for the 'gram," she says.

As for getting the look, Parsons says there isn't one right way. "The great thing [about this trend] is that it’s not a step-by-step. This is you creating your art on your face, whatever it may be in that moment. Makeup has now become more than just a way to make you feel pretty: It’s an empowering force of artistic liberation." So have fun with it.