Acing the viral pumpkin spice makeup trend is easier than you think

Warm up this season with the cute and cosy makeup look. 

Harper's Bazaar India

2023 has been the year of micro-makeup trends inspired by food. It started last year with Hailey Bieber’s glazed doughnut look that went beyond just makeup to include hair and nails as well. This year, almost every beauty trend was named after food. The flushed—blush-heavy look of summer became ‘tomato girl’ or ‘strawberry girl’ makeup. Then as the season progressed to slightly colder temperatures, came ‘latte makeup’, ‘cappuccino hair’, and ‘cherry cola’ lips. And now, there is a new trend in beauty town named after the infamous fall drink—the pumpkin spice latte, that is creating quite a stir, with over 7 million views on TikTok and thousands of posts under #pumpkinspicemakeup on Instagram.

Ahead, we take you through the trend, with tips on how to nail the look, and take a deep dive into the internet’s latest obsession with naming every beauty trend after food.

What is the pumpkin spice makeup trend?


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After multiple makeup trends being named after drinks, including a matcha spin-off and even a hot chocolate aesthetic, it’s no surprise that a look based on one of the most popular fall and winter beverages—the pumpkin spice latte or the PSL, wouldn’t be far behind. 

It’s the fall version of the minimal, monochromatic latte trend that was all about brown and tan makeup. Here, the look is injected with an extra shot of warmth through fire-toned shades and a dash of glitter, appropriate for the season. 


Start with a glowy base

Unlike most fall makeup looks that usually lean towards a matte finish, the pumpkin spice look is more about dewy, natural-looking skin. For that radiant glow, start with a light-coverage skin tint or foundation and bump up the shimmer by adding a drop of highlighter or bronzer to the base. 

Don’t skimp on the bronzer


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Bronzer is your best friend in getting that warm brown sugar, pumpkin spice look. Dab it wherever sunlight would naturally fall on your face—your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. And if you want to go a step further, apply it to your eyelids as well. This will add cohesiveness to the look and act as the perfect base for your eyeshadow (or you could just stop at the bronzer!). 

Pick your favourite warm-toned tint for monochromatic glam

Now that your base is done, it’s time for the fun part—choosing your multi-tasking tint of choice that will go on your cheeks, eyelids, and lips. While you can definitely pick different shades and products for all three, we love the ease of sticking to one product for a seamless, monochromatic look. When it comes to the shade, keep your skin tone in mind, a bright peach or coral might wash you out if you have a darker skin tone. Think copper, rust, burnt orange, terracotta and similar orange-brown shades. Remember, as the name suggests, the look aims to resemble a drinkable PSL, so reach out for hues that look almost like toasty brown spices, creamy coffee, and pumpkin puree. If you want to add some variety, line and slightly fill your lips with a muted brown lip liner and finish with a swipe of gloss. 

Spice it up with highlighter


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Want to take it up a notch? Complete the look with a sprinkle of highlighter on your eyes and cheeks for a subtle, delicious glow. 

Why are beauty trends being named after food?

With cinnamon spice hair, milky nails, jelly skin, strawberry-freckled makeup, and more food-inspired looks going viral, it’s evident that there’s an appetite for delicious-sounding beauty trends. And though the rebranding of seemingly common aesthetics (there is nothing novel about a brown monochrome look or blush-forward makeup) being named after food is a relatively new concept, food has been used in the past to make beauty products more desirable. Think vanilla or berry-scented lip balms, body butters that look like lush whipped frosting, and lotions that smell like birthday cakes. 

It also has to do with the fact that food engages all our senses, including taste, sight, smell, feel and even sound. By naming trends after food, the consumer is better able to visualise both the product and the result. Food-inspired beauty trends also give us a chance to romanticise the everyday. A dewy look sounds good, but when you call it a ‘glazed doughnut’ look, you can picture the irresistible sheen of a freshly-frosted doughnut. And who can deny that hot chocolate makeup sounds way more delectable than just brown makeup?