A is for Adorn
From gold foil to sequins and pearls, beauty should be approached with a magpie's eye. If you worship at the altar of makeup legend Pat McGrath, you'll have taken a scroll through the hashtag for her cult hit, sequin-inspired #Gold001 eyeshadow, which she's now followed up with an eight-piece DIY box called Phantom 002. Her advice? "Use without caution. Don't play it safe." And maybe look out for hungry overhead birds.
B is for Boys
Clothing isn't the only thing that's been traversing the gender binary. Proving makeup isn't just a girls' game, beauty gurus like Patrick Starr and MannyMUA are giving as many lessons to their millions of subscribers as they are tips on getting the perfect cat-eye.
C is for Caitlyn Jenner
Move over, King Kylie - transgender trailblazer Caitlyn recently partnered with MAC cosmetics to support less fortunate trans communities. Jenner is the latest in a slew of game-changing transgender women, including Andreja Pejic and Lea T, to break yet more ground by fronting a beauty campaign.
D is for David Bowie
After Bowie's devastating death in January, tributes to the Starman continue to flow think, fast, glittery, and vivid. Bowie was undoubtedly a pioneer of the idea that men could experiment with makeup, dabbing in everything from subtle metallic eyeshadow to the iconic lightning bold look that graced his Aladdin Sane album art (and subsequently, Kate Moss on the cover of Vogue). But Bowie's relationship with makeup was more an attitude than a look. Sometimes letting go of a mask is as bold as putting one on.
E is for Eyebrows
Brush them up, bleach them out, or buzz a slit into the arch of one. If eyebrows of the past few seasons were simply about being visible, now they're all about experimentation. Standout looks from the fall 16 runways include Gigi's subtle take on glitter brows at Giambattista Valli and Chromat's neon pink ones.
F is for Freckles
As we said last year, it's the little imperfections that make you perfect. From Ron Weasley to SZA, freeing the freckles adds instant character and looks boss on a wide range of skin tones. And if you weren't born with a sun-kissed look, you can get it at Topshop. The next big thing for 2016? Rainbow freckles.
G is for Goth
Thick, spidery lashes and blue eyeshadow created a brilliantly hot grunge mess at Marc Jacobs' fall 2016 show. Elsewhere, washed out skin and smudged red lips provided a welcome contrast to the recent lining and contouring obsession.
H is for Haters
Whether they're on Instagram or IRL, trolls are an inevitable downside of a society that tears women down for owning their appearance. Remember, while jealousy is never a good look, another coat of lipstick is always a good idea. And if you don't have (probably white, male) haters, you're probably not doing anything wild enough.
I is for Illuminate
A healthy gleam is always in, but makeup artists took their game to the next level this season. Pat McGrath transformed the girls at Valentino into hyperreal glowworms with iridescent powder, leaving them looking like they'd just stepped out of the shower. Gucci's nomadic army of street peacocks also shone bright like a diamond, because how else is your face going to hold up to a graffitied, gilded, fur-trimmed bomber?
J is for Jelly
Move over, coconut oil - jelly is the next big nutriment to make its way from your kitchen to your vanity desk. Whether it's Glossier's first crowd-sourced product (a pH balanced cleanser) or an actual peanut butter and jelly palette, it's the easiest way to feel way delicious.
K is for Korea
Korea knows its ish when it comes to game-changing products and time-tested beauty rituals. But the East Asian territory doesn't just have dope tricks for your shiniest skin ever. It's also challenging gender norms via a booming South Korean male makeup market, with guyliner and tinted moisturizers finally going mainstream for men. Will the United States follow suit? Watch this space.
L is for Leomie Anderson
The Victoria's Secret model called out ill-prepared makeup artists in a powerful string of tweets during New York Fashion Week. It sparked a necessary conversation about the backstage struggles of black models, plus a witty yet poignant "survival kit" video. We're here for the trend of models speaking out - let's hope the industry is listening.
M is for Maximalism
The inevitable pushback to clown contouring and normcore, the maximalist trend is about honing in one strong statement. Whether it's a graphic cobalt cat-eye on woke-up-like-this skin, the gilded gold lips with naked eyes from Prada's spring 16 runway, or the neon glittery eyes from Giabattista Valli's same season, it's a shockingly easy to add a dash of shock value.
N is for #NoMakeup
At the opposite end of the spectrum, not wearing makeup is less of a trend and more of your own damn decision. Makeup-free faces aren't going anywhere soon, and with the current booming conversation about reclaiming the naked female body, why not extend this argument to your face? Delivering a slap to the face of the patriarchy has literally never been more simple.
O is for Owning Your Flaws
If you hated it in middle school, it's time to heal the broken relationship. Cosmetics today are not about hiding your imperfections but letting them shine. It could be a scar, a mole, or your mom's side's wide-set bug eyes.
P is for Punk
Punk never died, and i-D's newest cover stars - Dilone, Ruth Bell, Fernanda Ly, and Frederikke Sofie - make the scene look fresh AF. Sure you don't need eyeliner when your hair is spray-painted pink. But while optional, it's highly recommended.
Q is for Queer
Reclaiming power is essential for all marginalized communities, but especially for those who don't mesh with (and who don't want to) traditional nodes of femininity. Makeup can be used to androgynize (hello, contouring and eyebrow pencil) or can simply be used as a tool to aid identity expression. Queer makeup is far from limited to "lipstick lesbians" and guyliner. Campaigns are even starting to take note, though still have much room to grow when it comes to reflecting their potential market.
R is for Reviews
Online reviews aren't just more trustworthy than the guy who works at your local Sephora, they're far more entertaining. A sample: "The first time I used it, I found out that my boyfriend of 2 years had cheated on me with someone for 6 months," user Serenaokay writes on Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion. "I cried for 2 days straight, and my eyeshadow and liner stayed in place perfectly. This product is amazing."
S is for Skin
The glowy, dewy skin dream is a great reason to finally make good on that New Year's Resolution to kick bad diet habits in the ass. But what great DNA doesn't offer - or because greasy egg bagels are simply too good to give up - there are plenty of ways to fake it. Because BB, CC, and DD (yes, that's a thing now too) creams and concealers aren't masking true beauty any more than a dye job is.
T is for Tech
3D-printed eyeshadow? Cordless IRL airbrushing? The future of makeup is almost as exciting as the future of fashion. Queer-friendly, brilliantly badass nail art company Metaverse also has plans to extend their super kawaii virtual reality technology into the realm of makeup.
U is for Ugly
The role of makeup in 2016 has little to do with looking nice. Makeup has the power to cater to the patriarchy's whims or slap it in the face, but it also has the power to make it walk in the other direction entirely. If you don't want anyone to hit on you at a bar, an outrageous shade of lipstick can be far more effective than a scowl.
V is for Vampiric
Undead-inspired makeup looks worth switching up your circadian rhythm for were all over the runways this past fashion month. See Dior, Rodarte, and Fenty x Puma for proof that blood-red lipstick and washed out skin is a devastatingly chic combo in the underworld and the real one.
W is for Walk of (No) Shame
Smudge your lipstick, clump your lashes, run your liner, and forget your foundation. Even if you stayed in binging Love on Netflix, add a 32oz Powerade and it'll look like you had the wildest night ever. Amber Rose would approve.
X is for Xiao Wen Ju
Pixie perfect Chinese beauty Xiao Wen Ju was named the newest face of L'Oreal last month. Her makeup game is almost as good as her Instagram one, and that's no mean feat. Xiao follows in the footsteps of Soo Joo Park, who was tapped by the brand to be its first Asian-American ambassador last year. Xiao might not be the first Chinese face of the brand (actress Fan Bingbing gets that medal) but she's a sign that Asian models with makeup contracts are definitely on the rise.
Y is for YouTube
The modern girl's beauty bible still lets you get your eyeliner tips in the same place as your cat videos. Killer accounts to watch in 2016 include Klaire de Lys for out-of-this-world fantasy looks and Tadele Smith of the infamous Feminist Makeup Tutorial parody.
Z is for Zendaya
The new face of Covergirl is one fancy chameleon in her cyber-beauty campaign. But Zendaya is also a bonafide makeup maestro when left on her own. The actress opts to DIY her beauty looks for red carpet events, including this year's Grammy Awards, at which she killed it in a Bowie-inspired mullet.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Gareth Powell assistance, Lex Kembury, James Robjant