Fashion, Venue

Beauty trends of the decade

Whilst makeup has been and will always be very personal and individual, we cannot deny that there have been overarching themes throughout this last decade. In the relatively short space of ten years, popular aesthetics within makeup has changed to an arguably rather extreme extent. 

The Early 2010’s

I personally feel like this time period was very polarising. Budding beauty gurus such as Michelle Phan were able to effortlessly complete sultry yet natural looks. However, from what I remember, this time period was pretty much the Dark Ages in reality. It’s fascinating to see that there still is a polarising difference between makeup tutorials and real life today. Countless girls had clumpy mascara, raccoon-like eyeliner and the notorious concealer lips (Dream Matte Mousse still haunts me to this day).  Of course, whilst what is deemed to be good makeup is very subjective, makeup styles of this time felt very unrefined. The little resources which were out there were just too similar; natural, simple and countless smoky eyes. Like most people, I do miss this simplicity to some extent, and we should pay credit to people like Michelle Phan for paving the way- but at least we now have varied looks and styles.


It was one of these years which launched the extravagant makeup we see on Instagram. Due to individuals such as NikkiTutorials, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian (who did NOT invent contouring) makeup styles became bolder. Arched brows, matte mauve lips, snatched contour and beaming cheeks. In fact, perhaps these were the years of the brow, as long gone were the thin eyebrows from the nineties and noughties, as the brand Anastasia Beverly Hills exploded in popularity. I will also mention that NikkiTutorials helped reinforce that makeup should have personal style and that there is no shame in using it to boost self-esteem in her viral video ‘The Power of Makeup’. However, I will say that observing my makeup wearing peers (I didn’t really wear makeup regularly till university) it seemed to be that individuality was diminishing due to the overwhelming urge to follow these trends.


This section may come as a surprise, but I do believe that very recently there has been a shift. Whilst elements of ‘Instagram Makeup’ still remain, there is now a shift to more natural,  editorial styles. With the launch of brands such as Milk Makeup and Glossier, a gap in the market was addressed. This gap was the natural look; polar opposite to the ‘full-beat’ we are used to. With recent launches such as Fenty Beauty’s Hydrating Foundation and Pat McGrath’s foundation, we are moving away from the matte, full coverage look associated with ‘Instagram Makeup’. Instead we are now being given ‘Your Skin But Better’, which I personally much prefer! With the copious eyeshadow palette launches (looking at you ABH), colourful and sometimes quirky eye looks are still here to stay. Brows are softer and fluffier. I think that ‘soft’ is a big part of very recent trends, including of course ‘soft glam’. I am enjoying the space we are in terms of trends, as I feel like the individuality and creativity associated with makeup is beginning to return. I believe that there is more creative freedom within makeup looks recently- whether that be editorial, full beat or artsy (think of the eye makeup in HBO’s Euphoria). I hope this sticks in the next decade!


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Maya Coomarasamy

July 2021
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