One thing is for sure, 2016 was the year of the rainbow. This whimsical makeup and hair trend took the beauty world by storm, flooding our Instagram feeds and YouTube with bright, happy hues.
Several beauty makers clearly found their pot of gold by peddling every product imaginable with a rainbow theme, from highlighters to hair dye to nail polish. Not that we’re complaining since the playful, multicolored trend gave us a chance to channel our inner Rainbow Brite.
Read on for the top magical and mystical rainbow-inspired beauty trends and products of the year.
❤???????????????? Just a heads up beauty babes! We are prepping to ship our 3-4 month pre orders… make sure your addresses are correct on your etsy accounts. I know we are way ahead of schedule… you guys will have your rainbows sooner than expected! Aren’t they glorious ???? I never get tired of seeing these pretties! #bitterlacebeauty #rainbowhighlighter #prism
A video posted by Bitter Lace Beauty (@bitter.lace.beauty) on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:28am PDT
Bitter Lace Beauty’s Prism rainbow highlighter nearly broke the Internet when it made its debut earlier this year. The luminescent product instantly went viral and is still sold out on their Etsy store, but thankfully, multiple imitators have followed suit, like this Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter from wet n wild ($6) and this handmade, highly pigmented one by JoiCosmetics on Etsy ($14).
My god. The eyes.”How have I never noticed them?” “The color…” I breathed. “When you stand in the light… They’re amazing…like molten gold…I could paint those eyes…” I reached forward but then mesmerized, I pulled back…I couldn’t think about anything while looking at the…”They’re beautiful…You’re beautiful…” #thesoloqueen #rainbowlashes
A photo posted by Aysouda (@aysouda_the_queen) on Nov 27, 2015 at 10:53am PST
We wouldn’t bat an eyelash at this trend, which involved either patiently applying mascara in a variety of shades or using multicolored lash extensions for a major pop of color. Looking to give multicolored lashes a whirl? Do a test run with these rainbow false lashes from Ricky’s ($8).
Rainbow eye shadow
Swiping on multicolored eye shadow — from bold, pigmented hues to more subtle, pastel shades — was one inventive way to work rainbows into your makeup routine.
Makeup artist Erin Parsons also got in on the popular rainbow eye shadow trend, creating a look for Gigi Hadid that Parsons described as “intergalactic mermaid unicorn power ranger.”
Sneak peek for @maybelline ???? Intergalactic mermaid unicorn power ranger is what we decided to call this look ????❤️???????????? love you @gigihadid ???? #teamunicorn hair ???????????? @kennalandny nails @fleuryrosenails ???????? styling @charlesvarenne #erinparsonsmakeup #maybelline #gigihadid ????????????????????????
A photo posted by @erinparsonsmakeup on Jul 20, 2016 at 8:19am PDT
A more subtle version of the rainbow eye shadow trend could be found in this gorgeous multicolored liner:
RAINBOW ❤️???????????????? #makeup #beauty #eyeshadow #eye #eyes #eyeshadowlook #look #inspo #inspiration #rainbow #liner #eyeliner #brows #browsonfleek #eyebrows #eyelashes #lashes #red #orange #yellow #green #blue #purple #rainboweyeliner
A photo posted by the_makeup_game (@the_makeup_game) on Jul 24, 2016 at 2:23pm PDT
「Devine」 The wonderful @rubydevine was my second model for the @manicpanic_uk demo at #saloninternational this past weekend! Using various shades from their range of colours I managed to brighten up ruby’s hair into this amazing rainbow! Styled using @dysonhair & @divaprostyling
A photo posted by Jaymz Marsters (@jaymz.marsters) on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:37am PDT
Instagram was almost overrun by rainbow hair in a stunning array of shades (Instagram alone has nearly 350,000 posts under the hashtag #rainbowhair).
A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Apr 16, 2016 at 2:21pm PDT
A photo posted by ????Queen Of Temp Hair Colors???? (@naturallytash) on Aug 4, 2016 at 7:42pm PDT
But for those not ready or able to take the full color plunge — after all, not everyone can show up at work with multicolored hair — the hidden rainbow hair dye job emerged. It looks like regular hair on the surface, but lifting up the top panel of hair reveals strands covered bright or pastel shades underneath, such as this one perfected by U.K. stylist Jaymz Marsters:
A photo posted by Jaymz Marsters (@jaymz.marsters) on Sep 14, 2016 at 6:44am PDT
Rainbow hair glitter
And let’s not forget rainbow hair glitter, like this fishtail braid doused with some Major Moonshine Glitter Gel:
A photo posted by Nikki Lee | Hairstylist (@nikkilee901) on Dec 4, 2016 at 8:35am PST
Some trendsetters literally wanted to “taste the rainbow” by painting their lips in shocking hues, like this glittery version:
A photo posted by Sisterhood Alternative Girls (@alternativgirls) on Dec 12, 2016 at 12:28pm PST
A photo posted by Lissa IS (@lissa_is) on Dec 12, 2016 at 8:29am PST
But likely the easiest way to test drive the trend was to grab some nail polish and swipe on a range of bright, beautiful colors, plus a glitter top coat. After all, who wouldn’t want to have a rainbow at their fingertips? For a low-maintenance version, you can try these nail decals from luckystarstyle on Etsy ($2 for a set of 10), which have a cool rainbow waterfall effect.