One of the coolest things about Adele is her ability to occupy space between genres and styles. That applies to her vintage-tinged music, of course, but it extends to her fashion and beauty philosophies, too. Adele might give a performance in a floor-length ball gown to sing a ‘20s-style, blues-reminiscent song one night, but she’s at Drake’s birthday party looking like the consummate Instagram baddie the next. But what Adele doesn’t get enough credit for is her perpetually perfect makeup — which also happens to frequently straddle different eras. In a new carousel posted to her Instagram, Adele’s 2021 makeup look borrows the best application techniques of today’s makeup with quite a few 2016-ish trends for a seamless blend of different finishes and colors.
The photo set, which also doubles as a full-on boyfriend reveal, shows Adele and new beau Rich Paul having a wildly glamourous good time at a friend’s wedding. The “Chasing Pavements” singer’s dramatic, off-the-shoulder gown and swept-back bun let her makeup take center stage, which is ideal because her eye look, lip color, and bronzer are works to be studied. Notably, it’s also one of the most high-quality photos Adele’s posted in a while, with the buzz around it leading many fans to believe that a new Adele album is near.
Zooming in on the photo, it’s impressive how every feature of her makeup manages to harken back to the go-to techniques of the Golden Age Of Instagram Makeup (think gel liner, strong brows, and carved-out contour), while incorporating many of today’s top trends. If YouTube was the primary way of disseminating makeup information then, now it’s TikTok — and Adele’s clearly been watching.
An extended cat-eye, painted on with what looks to be an inky, gel-based liner, grabs the most attention right off the bat. By elongating the liner at her inner corners into a sharp point, it plays off the winged ends for a defined, big-eyed look. Her eyeshadow is concentrated mostly at the outer corners (point for 2021), but the ultra-warm browns and siennas are pure 2016. That back and forth continues with her lips, which are very matte as the throwback style requires, but the ombré-effect lip liner is one everyone has seen on their TikTok For You Page. Finally, Adele’s blush and bronzer seem to be blown out and blended as is de rigueur these days, and the powder finish and emphasis on cheekbone contouring would be right at home with a choker necklace and some fresh-from-the-box Stan Smiths.
While Adele looks undeniably gorgeous, she also looks undeniably happy — and no highlighter in the world can touch that kind of glow.