Makeup is a part of daily life for many. While traditionally done by women, the passing of time has made it so that anyone can wear makeup with pride. This has made makeup an empowering channel of self-expression for anyone. The growth of makeup acceptance has been heavily aided by the usage of social media.
Platforms like YouTube and TikTok have made it easy and convenient to find tutorials by beauty influencers on makeup techniques and looks. The ease of this has helped people to learn about the hottest new trends at record speed. That being said, there has been a multitude of makeup trends that have popped up over the past decade. From heavy and bold glam to light and dewy looks, let’s take a deeper dive into the changes of makeup trends from 2013 to current day.
2013: Neutrals With A Pop Of Colour.
In 2013, eye looks that revolved around the typical neutral colours were all the rage. These looks typically featured heavy eyeshadow usage, with smokey eyes being the main focal point of looks in this year. Colours like brown and burgundy were used to create statement looks that emphasised a seductive gaze. These looks were rarely paired with dark or pigmented lips to avoid looking too strong. Nude lipsticks or no lipstick at all were the norm for these kinds of looks.
However, these looks were not usually used during the day. Thus, daytime makeup usually featured light eye makeup paired with bright lipstick. Orange lipstick became a go-to choice this year, as it was a way to have a pop of colour to brighten the face. Celebrities were also often seen rocking this trend on the red carpet, as it gave a bright and lively overall vibe, making it the best look to pair with colourful outfits.
2014: Eyebrows on Fleek!
Ever heard of the term “Eyebrows on Fleek”? The term was first created in June 2014 by Peaches Monroee, a content creator on Vine at the time. This was a nod to the popular “Instagram Brow” which were heavy and strong arched eyebrows. Many times, this type of eyebrow was related to the model Cara Delevigne, who was known for her signature strong eyebrow look. Almost everyone on social media could be seen sporting the bold look, regardless of the type of eye makeup they were wearing.
Many influencers jumped on the trend, sharing their tips and tricks on achieving the perfect eyebrow arch. With the fast spread of social media, it’s no wonder how this trend became so popular so quickly. At the time, it seemed like everyone knew and was in on the trend, whether that be celebrities, influencers or even everyday office workers.
2015: Sculpted Faces with Plump Lips.
The mid-2010s saw the major growth of contouring in face makeup. While popular in the years before, makeup with the goal of sculpting the face and accentuating bone structure took the beauty scene by storm. The makeup technique resulted in the illusion of a slimmer and sharper face. This trend was also coupled with the technique of “baking” which is an approach to making makeup last long all day. The technique also helps in creating a “matte” look, which was the desired look at the time.
Contouring and baking were not the only popular trends in 2015; the look of overlined and plumped lips also became a hit. A pioneer of this look is none other than Kylie Jenner. The reality television star founded her renowned makeup brand, “Kylie Cosmetics” in 2014 but launched its first products in 2015. The product line of “Kylie Lip Kits” were the first products launched and quickly soared in popularity as many ran to purchase the products to mimic Kylie’s signature plumped and matte lips look. This product launch contributed to the thick and overlined lips trend, encouraging more and more people to try it out themselves.
2016: Heavy Glam for Everyday.
Following the contouring trend in 2015, heavy makeup was the fad in 2016. Many would create makeup looks that would showcase their makeup skills, whether that be their eye looks or the rest of the face. Heavy eye makeup, contouring and highlighting were typical parts of a makeup routine.
Most notably, 2016 saw the rebirth of the cut crease look from the 1960s. This look is created by using concealer to create a distinct line between the crease of the eye and the eyelid. The crease is usually coloured with matte eyeshadow and the lid could be left blank or coloured with other eyeshadows or glitter. This technique was known to be difficult; however, with the surge of online makeup artists, many were able to recreate the look thanks to the numerous tutorials on the web.
2017: Sparkle and Shine.
2017 saw the rise of glitter and highlights in makeup routines. Many glam looks used highlighters to highlight and give a shine to the high points of the face, like the cheekbones, eyebrow bone and the tip of the nose. This makes the contour more prominent and gives an eye-catching look to the face. Glitters were also heavily used in eye looks, usually paired with the cut crease trend from the year before.
Iconic highlighters were either launched or made a name for themselves in this year. A notable mention is the launch of Fenty Beauty by superstar Rihanna. The launch was a hit, and the brand soon became a staple name in the beauty industry. This launch included the Killawatt Highlighters line, which included the iconic “Trophy Wife” highlighter. This highlighter is known for its gold-like hue, which creates a radiating and expensive look.
2018: The Hallyu Wave and K-Makeup.
K-Beauty began to flourish in the year 2018. With the rise of the Hallyu Wave, K-Beauty and skincare started to become popular among fans and everyday people. At the time, K-Makeup regularly used hues of peach to create looks. This was frequented by many K-pop idols as well, quickly becoming a go-to for those who were interested in Korean makeup. The trends from this year also included the straight brow look, as well as the use of glitters and rhinestones on the under-eye.
2019: The Era of VSCO Girls.
If you were anywhere on the Internet in 2019, there is a high possibility that you have heard of the term “VSCO Girls” at least once or twice. Named after the photo-editing application, VSCO Girls emerged in 2019 as the newest subsection of teen culture. These teenage girls typically dressed in oversized t-shirts and accessorised themselves with hair scrunchies. The makeup looks that accompanied these looks were light and were often referred to as “No-makeup makeup”.
Glass skin was also popularised in 2019 by Internet users. Both adults and teenagers tried to achieve the look via skincare or makeup. The VSCO Girl trend went hand-in-hand with the glass skin trend, as both looks focused more on skin health and light makeup. However, glass skin could be done in all kinds of light makeup with the help of highlighter.
2020: The Pandemic and…E-Girls?
As the global pandemic hit in early 2020, everyone was locked up in their houses with nothing to do. The social media app TikTok saw a surge in popularity as many downloaded it to keep their days in quarantine entertained. Many people who were bored at home turned to doing makeup to have some fun. While being done since late 2019, e-girl makeup became the centre of attention in 2020.
E-girls (and e-boys) are a subculture that is commonly referred to as “alternative” self-expression through fashion, makeup and actions. The makeup trend is most identifiable through the heavy eye makeup, sticker-like eyeliner drawings, a lot of blush, and dark lips. The distinct makeup look became a trend that was seen everywhere and was recreated by many. A handful of influencers also became known for this trend and began making tutorials on ways to emulate the look. This helped in encouraging more people to try out the look for themselves.
2021: A Lighter Touch.
The makeup trends in 2021 did a complete 180 from the year before. If 2020 was defined by its intense and heavy TikTok makeup, 2021 was known for its minimalistic approach to makeup. Dewy or glass skin once again became the main focus and look of the year. Referred to as “Skinimalism”, skin health was prioritised by makeup users, and the shiny glow of dewy skin became the most desirable look as compared to the matte skin look from the past. Skin glosses became popular to emulate the trend with a few simple swipes. Lip glosses and oils were also paired with this look to complete the dewy look.
The trend of thick and bold brows was long gone in 2021. Laminated and soap brows became the next big thing, with many jumping on the trend to accomplish the sparse eyebrow look. As the name “soap brow” suggests, the feathery eyebrow look can be obtained with the use of a glycerin soap bar on the eyebrows. The soap is brushed onto a spoolie (a brush that looks like a mascara wand) and then applied to the eyebrow in an upward motion. This creates a spaced-out and uniform look that makes the brows stand out. The soap brow is often referred to as the alternative to laminated brows, which is a procedure that can get expensive over time.
2022: Clean Girl Aesthetics and Eye Shapes.
The fast-paced nature of TikTok has made the change in makeup trends much quicker as compared to the years before. In 2022, the makeup trend that spread all across the platform was the “Clean Girl” aesthetic. “Clean Girls” can be identified by their simple but chic looks. Usually, the clean girl look consists of light makeup with mascara, blush, and lip gloss, slicked back hair and simple but sophisticated outfits. The look is regarded as an effortless look that many can pull off while looking amazing.
Another trend that took TikTok by storm in 2022 was the doe and siren, or fox eyes trend. This trend focused on the shape of the eye, and how eye shapes could be replicated through makeup. Doe eyes are when eyes have a more rounded and softer look. The look can be achieved through the use of singular false eyelashes and the drawing of the aegyosal (the eye fat under the eye). On the other hand, siren or fox eyes are the eyes that have an upturned and more sultry look. The look can be accomplished by using winged eyeliner and under-eye liner. (It is worth noting that the looks can be based on the existing eye shape of a person but can be done on any eyes to achieve the desired look).
2023: C-Beauty — Douyin and Xiaohongshu Makeup.
Although, at the time of writing this article we are only halfway through 2023, there have been some notable makeup trends that have popped up so far. Most eminent is the trend of distinct makeup styles that can be seen on asian social media. Following the trend of K-Beauty, it has evolved into the focus of Chinese makeup trends, especially those on the platforms Douyin and Xiaohongshu. The videos and pictures on these platforms have a trend of makeup tutorials or eccentric makeup looks that can inspire its viewers.
While coming in a variety of makeup types, the signature looks on these platforms are those with a heavy hand on glitter. Shimmery eyeshadow with thin and sharp eyeliner is the staple look on these social media apps. The looks are usually paired with coloured contact lenses and manga false lashes, which create an eye-opening effect for the eye look. Highlighter and blush are also heavily used and finished with a glossy lip look.
Makeup Trends in the Future.
Makeup has seen its fair share of changes in the past decade. With the help of social media, many are able to learn and pick up on new trends quickly, making the industry move at an increasingly fast pace. Makeup has also become more accessible in the past few years, allowing more people to indulge and try out the trends they have seen on the Internet or in magazines. It is safe to say that makeup trends in this day and age are moving at a rapid pace. Only time can tell the types of trends we will see in the future. For now, let us indulge in the trends that we have seen and be grateful for the platforms that they have created for self-expression in our society.
Written by: Trezshur
Edited by: Ruby