Beauty gloss-ary: The terms you need to know

20 September 2015

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

FQ schools up on the new beauty terms you need to know

Beauty glossary - the new terms you need to know

Thought you’d left studying behind you? Think again. Now it’s not enough to know which colour lipstick is in (brick red) or which designer sparked the return of gold hair clips (Celine), if you want to know what to ask for at the salon or makeup counter, there’s a whole new lexicon to learn. Read up on the latest trending techniques and tick the bilingual box next time.

Move over ombre, the brunette/blonde midpoint is the most-requested colour at the salon basin this season. It’s an almost indefinable (but really pretty) custom shade that expertly mixes the rich natural tones of brunette with lighter, brighter, blonde hues and it’s what everyone from Blake Lively to Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse are rocking right now. Flattering to warmer skin tones, it’s the perfect way to lift naturally darker hair colour for the warmer weather without going bleach blonde.


This one comes to us thanks to the intrepid beauty explorers of downtown NYC and London. According to appearance medicine clinics like Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, women are having Botox injected into their scalps in order to prevent sweat ruining their pricey salon blow dries while they workout. It seems extreme but clinics here have long been treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) with Botox. Businessmen can even rid themselves of excessively sweaty palms, so perhaps this is just the next step in keeping up appearances.

If your T-zone is oily but your cheeks are flaky, you’ve got deepening smile lines and blackheads on your chin, there’s unlikely to be one product to fix all. That’s why multi-masking was born; the technique of applying three or four different masks to different areas of your face at the same time. You could use a clay mask on your forehead, charcoal on your chin, a pore strip on your nose and hydrating serum everywhere else, all at once. Then try remembering which lid goes on which pot.

Highlighting by any other name, the term strobing is basically just the opposite of contouring. It relies on heavy-handed use of either liquid or powder illuminating products to shape and emphasise the features of the face. Highlighting products reflect light, so to create multi-dimensional radiance, apply it anywhere you want to appear defined, like the tops of cheekbones, cupid’s bow, the centre of the nose and inner corners of the eyes. The new hype is thanks to makeup artist Alex Box, who created intensely radiant features on the models at Issey Miyake’s spring 2015 show. She describes it as ‘bathing the skin in light,’ but isn’t ‘strobing’ so much more hashtagable?

Despite the name, there’s no culinary connection, and again it’s nothing new, but because Kim K’s makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, is a fan, of course it’s breaking the internet. Baking, a technique used in stage and drag makeup, refers to letting translucent powder sit under your eyes for five to ten minutes, which allows the heat from your face to set your base foundation and cream concealer. You then dust off the powder leaving a creaseless, flawless finish. The heavy-handed approach is really only needed for long-wear under stage lights, but tell that to the trend-tutorial You-Tubers making 20-step how-to vlogs.

The new sombre (subtle-ombre), babylights are ultra-fine natural-looking highlights that mimic the sun-kissed tones your hair took on as a child. The trend has recently been testing even the most experienced colourists who need to pay sharp attention to the painting process as colour is applied. Want to be in the salon for hours? Ask for them by name.

Clown contouring
[kloun, kon-toor-ing]
Kardashians beware, Ronald McDonald is coming for your contouring crown. The tongue in cheek trend began when blogger Bella DeLune targeted cyber-bullies by posting a before shot of her with clown-like makeup (bright pink circles on her cheeks, orange triangles under her eyes, a yellow moon on her forehead and even an, ahem, poop emoji) and an after shot of it blended into a beautifully contoured face. DeLune claimed it was a bid to thumb her nose at those who had mocked her transformative level of cosmetic use online. But what started out as a joke has quickly turned into a trending technique. Women have been posting their own ~clown~ selfies all over Instagram with the hashtag #ClownContouring. Perhaps one to leave to the ‘experts’.

Words: Megan Bedford

Subscribe & Become an FQ VIP

As a Fashion Quarterly subscriber you enjoy exclusive content, giveaways, invitations to VIP events, and more.

Subscribe & Become an FQ VIP

As a Fashion Quarterly subscriber you enjoy exclusive content, giveaways, invitations to VIP events, and more.

Sign up to the FQ newsletter and WIN*

Get the latest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle news delivered straight to your inbox each week.

*Ts&Cs apply.

Find out more at fq.co.nz/fq-newsletter