The party season is one occasion where many women up the ante when it comes to their hair, makeup and nails. Many who favour safer options year-round find themselves more willing to experiment during this period, be it with a new hair colour or more intricate nail art. But with the greater visibility of these details — thanks to more social events and gatherings — comes the pressure to select just the right combination of colours and styles that will be fresh and unexpected, but also versatile.
For some women, the holiday season can mean a quite literal translation of festive trends. Victoria Yap, the founder of boutique nail salon 8Twenty8 Nails, says that her salon cannot escape the demand for festive-themed nail art during this period. “There will always be customers who want to do Christmas trees and festive designs,” says Yap. On her part, Yap, who takes her influence from seemingly unrelated areas like architecture and less obvious trend centres like Russia and the United States, the challenge is in adapting these traditional motifs in a chic and modern way with interesting colourways and more stylised art. And while hair salons might push certain seasonal trends — like darker, richer hues for the fall and winter season or more outrageous shades — these are mere guidelines that can be adapted to individual tastes and preferences.
When it comes to hair, the major trends tend to focus on either colour or texture. Victor Liu, the director at Singapore salon Chez Vous, recommends trying out fresh, new colours trends. The first follows the natural gradients found in a tiramisu dessert, a trend that originated in the United States. “Taking its cue from the tiramisu dessert, the hair can have layers of brown, beige, cream and even a deeper cocoa shade,” says Liu. This is a versatile combination that can be adapted to different haircuts and be painted on as highlights and lowlights or even with an ombré effect.
The other trend is hair with a blend of rose gold, rose pink and lavender dye. “It works on Asian skin tones because it has pink undertones that don’t veer towards a less flattering coral hue,” says Liu. He notes that while in the past many beauty trends in Singapore were influenced by the J-Pop and K-Pop scenes, Chinese girl bands are now a major source of colour inspiration for younger customers.
When it comes to texture, there has also been a move away from more obvious and artificial styles like perms and straightening. “We are doing a lot of texture treatments that we call movement perms,” says Liu. “It creates movement in the hair and it has caught on as it plays on the idea of visual balance. By creating soft curves and gentle curls in the hair, this enhances the features and softens the angles of our faces by reducing the visual contrast,” says Liu. The idea is to avoid anything too stark — like stick-straight hair or the bouncy, defined curls that used to be popular in the past. To achieve this look, get your stylist to start with a haircut, followed by a traditional digital perm that will help create waves, curls and volume only where needed. The result should look like a great blowout rather than a voluminous or overly-defined perm.
When it comes to nail art and the length and shape of your talons, it appears that anything goes. Yap has customers who prefer shorter nails, as well as those who opt for longer, sharper silhouettes. She does note that certain designs will look better on a longer, larger canvas so they may not be ideal for shorter nails.
While Yap’s salon has a yearly practice of creating a nail art collection for customers to choose from, she ensures there are options for different tastes. Christmas motifs like reindeer, trees or snowflakes can be modified into more stylised, modern iterations and even the colour palette can be tweaked to more chic combinations like soft grey and white, black and white or a red base with white nail art. As for those who are not into patterns, Yap says, “You can’t run away from glitter. But customers who want more neutral options can opt for a base shade like nude or blush pink with either silver, gold or colourful glitter that tends to go with every outfit.” Popular styles include applying glitter in the half-moon of a reverse French manicure or having an accent nail decked out in Swarovski crystals.
Another festive-appropriate trend that Yap has seen is the chrome nail — created using a powder over the nail to achieve a mirror-like finish — with diamantés and glitter added on top. Yap says that when opting for gel nails, one should always ensure the manicurist is using a good-quality, soft gel option rather than a hard gel, so that it will be less damaging to the nail bed upon removal. As for the best time to do your nails? “The idea time for a manicure is a few days prior to any big event, and gel nails can be left on safely for 10 to 14 days or even more,” says Yap.
Makeup brands have riffed off typical, seasonal trends with inspired, new takes that are more interesting and artistic. At Dior, the creative and image director of makeup, Peter Philips created a vivid, firework-inspired collection. One of the looks Philips suggested was a pop art eye using intense, metallic shades like cobalt, magenta and even yellow-gold (all found in the Dior 5 Couleurs palette in Party in Colours) for an eye-popping, colour-block effect.
If you would rather focus on the lips, rich reds continue to be a perennial favourite with a velvety, shimmering effect being one of the newer trends. For Gucci Beauty, the formula of its Rouge à Lèvres Lunaison in Goldie Red, a classic hue chosen by creative director Alessandro Michele, is infused with three types of glitter for a three-dimensional, highly pigmented finish — so you have a polished, perfectly lustrous pout.
Subscribe to our newsletter