Go ahead and call it a comeback. The chromecore makeup trend — which describes (for the uninitiated) metallic, super-shiny makeup — might seem new to you. But, thanks to Beyoncé’s solid-gold lips on the Renaissance album, glitter-fueled makeup styles from HBO Max’s Euphoria, and our latest obsession with fall’s pearly chrome nails, it’s actually everywhere you look. If anything, it’s reminiscent of the fun, futuristic vibes of decades past; think the glam-rock, disco era of the 1970s, which was a huge shift from the matte skin and winged liner of the ‘60s gamine
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For inspo, consider iconic model Grace Jones, who’s practically the poster child of old-school chromecore makeup. “Her metallic makeup contrasted with her deep skin tone and made for a super-stylized, signature chrome look,” says Donniella Davy, head makeup artist for Euphoria and founder of Half Magic Beauty. “The effect was undeniably fierce, and the colors and texture of her makeup looked like vibrant strokes of paint against her deep skin tone. It made for a future-forward, androgynous look that eventually fell out of style.”
While the collective taste eventually shifted to warmer neutral tones in the following years, “now that preference is swinging in the other direction back toward cool and frosty — and powdery mattes as well,” Davy says. Clearly, what’s old is new again.
Meet the Experts
Donniella Davy is the head makeup artist for Euphoria and founder of Half Magic Beauty.
So, what’s behind chromecore’s return?
For one, it’s super-flattering on all skin tones. “Most universally flattering chrome shades are something in a rose-gold, brass, or taupe,” Davy says. Silvers are brighter and can look bold and edgy, especially on deeper skin tones. “Gold also looks amazing on medium and deep tones and leans more glam.”
Plus, it’s a refreshing shift from the no-makeup makeup vibes of years past, not to mention a maximalist response to the pandemic days of lockdown and isolation. Chromecore is, essentially, going-out makeup, whether or not we have anywhere to be.
As a result, the current take on chromecore isn’t completely identical to its earlier counterpart. Instead of being relegated to the eyes, for instance, Davy predicts chrome finishes on the lips and cheeks. “Lipsticks have a ‘frosty’ effect. Eyes have a more grunge-y vibe with super-dark eyeliner and shiny, almost wet-looking lids,” she says. (Think of it as a mash-up between ’70s chromecore and ’90s alt-punk — retro, meet retro.)
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Chromecore’s best friend
She also recommends pairing chromecore staples with tightlined eyeliner — a.k.a. when eyeliner is drawn onto the waterline of the top and bottom lashlines — and topping them with natural lashes. In other words, it’s chromecore gone casual. “I think chromecore is coolest when there’s a sense of ease and a subtle touch of grunge,” she says.
To score the chromecore look for yourself, start with the eyes since they’ll define the rest of your look. Begin by applying color to your eyelids, extending it beyond the crease, and blending it towards your brow bone. “Think: soft, blended, easy,” Davy says.
Swipe the same shadow color along your lower lashline using a smaller smudging brush. Next, use a pencil eyeliner to tightline your eyes, apply mascara and brow gel, and use a highlighter on the cheeks for an added glow. Finally, swipe on a rosy-brown lip color. “[However,] there are no rules to makeup. You can wear chromecore every day or for a special occasion.”
For a more office-friendly look, consider sticking with eye makeup only. “Try just a wash of color over your lid,” Davy says; it’ll still offer the shiny pop of chromecore without looking like you’re about to hit the club. With that in mind, scroll on to find the chromecore essentials to serve as your own silver lining.
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