c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

NEW YORK — When it comes to Fashion Week, the term “trend” is fraught. Mere mention of the T-word can cause eyes to glaze and tepid discussion to ensue.

So let’s call the grooming and makeup that has stood out for us at New York Fashion Week something else. “Beauty blips,” perhaps? First blip: hair that was done to look undone.

“We had the very straight hair of the early ’90s, and then I remember working on the cover for Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light,’ where we did this very curled hair,” said hairstylist Orlando Pita, who worked on the Derek Lam show. “But that was what, 1998? Women are still doing the bouncy, curled hair. Mothers are starting to look like their daughters. Those barrel-curl days have got to go.”

Instead, Pita created a loose S-wave for Lam’s models, using an oversize curling iron by T3, and pulled the hair into a low ponytail.

“We’re cleansing the palette here.” Pita said. “It’s very natural, like second-day hair.”

For added hold and texture, Odile Gilbert, who also created free-form waves for the Thakoon show (but left long and loose) worked in mousse and then dry shampoo by Kerastase, for whom she’s a lead stylist.

“It’s not complicated,” she said.

In fact, many editors attending the shows were already skipping the typical Fashion Week blowout.

“It’s part of that whole downtown cool phenomenon,” said Britt Aboutaleb, editorial director of the beauty site Byrdie.com. “No one wants to look like they’re trying too hard, and nothing says you’re trying too hard like a blowout.”

She was less keen on the severely center-parted, slicked crown and dry ends combination at Richard Chai and Suno. “Editorially, it’ll probably photograph well, but in real life?” she said, eyebrows raised.

At Chai’s show, lead stylist Kevin Ryan described the effect “as if someone dumped water on top of your head.” For those wishing to try it out, the wet finish was achieved using Aveda men’s pomade, Ryan said, which has some bend to it. There was also a wet do at Prism’s presentation, which Janelle Chaplin, the creative director at O&M (a relative newbie backstage), said was androgynous and could be achieved with copious amounts of styling cream and shine serum.

If all this leaves you scratching your head, pull your strands into a low ponytail as Guido Palau did for Victoria Beckham’s runway, holding it back by a black headband that, he said, “feels rather timeless.”

There was also a gender-bending, no-fuss quality to makeup at several collections. At Alexander Wang, Diane Kendal used NARS moisturizer, lip balm, concealer and brow gel and called it an evening. It was probably similar to any model’s routine off the runway.

“I do prefer to keep it simple when I’m not working,” said Jourdan Dunn. “I’m usually not wearing much and I’ll head out the door.”

When it came to color, the big news, such as it is, was matte. Del Pozo’s models had bright cornflower blue on the top lid and daffodil yellow on the lower lash line. A couple of days before, Maki Ryoke used flat lavender and mint green shadows by MAC Cosmetics on Costello Tagliapietra’s models to convey youth, she said.

“Usually as we get older we settle more on a look and are less playful with color,” she said. “But like my daughter, she’s trying colors out still, and youth and playfulness were the ideas behind the clothes.”

Foundation also skewed matte, especially for evening.

“It’s opposite of the usual spring assumption, which is dewy,” makeup artist Tom Pecheux said backstage at Altuzarra. “We’re going for matte, not caky. Apply only a thin layer of foundation.” He extended the texture to the lips, painting them red and then tapping on red pigment powder for a “velvety effect.”

Eyes might get a wash of white shadow.

“Only to the upper lid,” Pecheux said. “If you apply all around, you’ll look like a panda — a reverse one.”

In fact, the NARS Iceland shadow duo, white-silvers with blue and green hints, was popular at several shows, including Creatures of the Wind, Carmen Marc Valvo and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Maybelline also has a lower-priced version, the Eye Studio Color Tattoo cream-gel shadow in Too Cool, drawn on in a cat-eye shape at Tibi.

On the mouth, there was lots of orange, most distinctively at Creatures. Later, at Gurung’s show, Charlotte Tilbury applied a vibrant tomato-red (“wild and wacky,” she said) to some of the models. And at Rag & Bone, Gucci Westman for Revlon created a traffic-stopping orange that was nearly glow-in-the-dark.

“It’s obviously for the runway,” Westman said. “It’s not for every woman.”

Where have we heard that before?

“Runway beauty is about a look that has maximum impact and doesn’t need to last very long,” Aboutaleb said. “How many women would look good with neon orange lips or walk out the door without any mascara on, which has been the runway look since last season?”

And if you were to view the backstage mayhem, you might notice that the workstations bore little resemblance to at-home vanities. The sheer variety of makeup brushes is mind-boggling, not to mention the inventive gadgets. Romero Jennings, a director of makeup artistry for MAC, always totes a hand-held light, which he bought at Home Depot and features a magnetic end he can stick to any metal work surface.

“You can never have enough light,” he said.

Jennings also likes Elmer’s Glue Stick, which is “the best at blotting out eyebrows”; Scotch tape “to quickly pull off glitter,” perhaps from a previous show; and thin metal spatulas that look as if they were pilfered from the dentist’s office.

“I’ll literally use the spatula at every show to cut up shadows or spoon pigment,” Jennings said. “Obviously some of these methods you’re not going to do at home.”