The top catwalks in New York, London, Paris and Milan, Italy, give head-to-toe style cues for next season.

But while shoppers have to wait months for the spring-season futuristic floral prints and lingerie looks that debuted at these recently-wrapped Fashion Weeks, the beauty trends can move from runway to real world right away.

“It’s like we’re already there,” says Gordon Espinet, MAC Cosmetics’ vice-president of artistry, who noted riskier makeup looks than had been the norm. “Last season, I definitely think there was a safe plan in terms of how people showed fashion, beauty, hair — everything seemed like a classic look.”

The kneejerk reaction to the down economy was to be very careful and commercial, Espinet says. This season, though, there was a more artful, edgy approach, leading to a new emphasis on dark eyes, glowing skin and the occasional accent of a bright colour. is a website that encourages beauty junkies to try the ripped-from-runway looks on their own uploaded photos. Users can do a virtual screen test of bold brows or orange lips and get a list of suggested products with a few clicks.

People seem most curious about the bold red lip and bob-style hair from Agent Provocateur, probably because it was the sexiest one available, reports beauty editor Rachel Hayes.

The next most popular look was the fishbone braid at Alexander Wang. “I think people want to envision what it’ll look like first, before you go through all the effort.”

Makeup and hair are very closely aligned to the clothes, says Chanel Makeup global creative director Peter Philips, who is charged with using cosmetics to define the overall vision of Karl Lagerfeld.

To complement Chanel’s chic country-fair look, Philips went with what he called “a fresh, effortless makeup which enhances the natural beauty of women.” And some temporary tattoos for fun.

There was a lot of creativity flowing backstage, says makeup artist Bobbi Brown, who found herself scrubbing off everything from dark, winged eyeliner to glitter face paint between shows so she’d have a fresh canvas to work with. So, sharpen your eye pencils, look for no-colour lipstick and try a braid in your hair — or maybe even a pompadour:

Wild eyes
As makeup moves away from being delicate and glamorous, there is an emphasis on just being cool, says Espinet. The easiest way to capture that vibe is with a dark eye.

“Luxurious, glamorous and rich have gone out the window. The words are ‘edgy,’ ‘tough,’ ‘strong,’ sometimes ‘over the top,”‘ he says. “It’s about women who are empowered.”

Think Chrissie Hynde or Siouxsie and the Banshees — use black shadow, liner and a lot of mascara.

Nude lips

The beige lip that was so popular is an easy trend to adapt for everyday use, but it does indeed need adapting, says Brown. On the runway, models usually have foundation on their lips to give a very neutral, very matte look, but that could be cakey and washed out if not done right, she says. She suggests beige lipstick instead.

Sporty skin
You want to get that glow with your skin, without being too dewy or sparkly, says Espinet, neither of which match the season’s muse: the tough girl showing her softer side. “I describe the skin as having the texture of a tan without obvious colour. ... She has the fresh, healthy Got Milk? kind of thing going on.”

Punk princess
Neutrals aside, there were some moments of unexpected, in-your-face colour, too, including the use of purple, blue, green and orange lipsticks. “The theatrical trends are like the street theatre of the late ’70s and ’80s when people were inspired by punk — that’s what it reminds me of,” Espinet says.

Still, it’s one bright effect on an otherwise plain face. “You want minimal product with maximum impact,” Espinet advises.

Braids, bobs and bows
DailyMakeover’s Hayes saw the ‘80s in the oversized hair bows. While they’re probably too flashy for most women, a toned-down trend could be headbands with bows on them, she says.

“The great thing about Fashion Week is it throws a look out there in all its glory, and then you see how women tweak it to make it more wearable.”

There was a clear indication that braids — already popular this past summer — will be worn well into next year.

The 1920s bob was on more than one catwalk and could be prime for a comeback, but the pompadour worn by Gwen Stefani and her L.A.M.B. models probably is not, Hayes says with a laugh.

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