With magazines and social media influencing our every move, makeup trends come and go faster than ever before. Remember a year or so ago when every YouTuber was trying to put on 100 layers of everything? It seems like ages ago! We’d call those fads rather than trends, which have a little bit more staying power, but that doesn’t mean either is worth following.
Over the years, we’ve seen more and more makeup trends that look silly, or are just unwearable if you’re not strutting down a runway or have a professional makeup artist at your disposal. Our tastes in beauty and makeup change and evolve, and so we’ve compiled 10 trends that you should forget – or at least never try ever again.
On the other hand, we have 15 makeup trends that we recommend following or trying out at least once. These are the trends, styles, and looks that have stuck around for longer than a microsecond or, if they’re new to the scene, are worth taking a closer look at and taking for a test drive. For every feature of your face, we’ve got a trend for you to try – and one you absolutely need to ditch.
Think one product for everything when it comes to your makeup look: a hot look for any season is using one shade – or a variation of shades in the same color family – to complete the entire look.
Modern and chic, using similar shades on lips, lids, and cheeks streamlines your style in the same way a coordinated outfit might.
Plus, this opens you up to playing with shades that might otherwise clash if you wore them with too many competing colors!
Freckles are super cute – when they’re natural, that is! Faux freckles became a trend a couple years back, with Instagram makeup artists drawing them on with eyeliner or brushes. Then everyone else jumped on the bandwagon and introduced rainbow freckles, galaxy freckles, and other variations.
The thing is, while natural freckles are adorable, it’s difficult for even the most talented of makeup artists to achieve the same beautiful randomness. In the end, it comes off like you’re trying too hard – not exactly what you’re going for when you’re trying to be au naturel (or faux naturel).
The cat eye look is a trend for a reason, and it’s been around for a while! It took off in the ‘50s thanks to stars like Marilyn Monroe.
A winged eye paired with a neutral shadow is flirty and feminine.
You can achieve the look with liquid liner for more drama and definition or pencil for something softer. The shape of the eye gets elongated with the cat eye flick, lending a more exotic appeal that has withstood the test of time. And odds are, it won’t slow down any time soon.
Raccoon eyes first seemed to gain traction among counterculture movements, like punks and Goths in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but by the ‘00s. And with the popularity of Avril Lavigne and MySpace, the emo look was back in full effect – and no less unflattering.
Clumsy makeup application resulting in a sooty black eye isn’t chic or rebellious, it just looks like you have no idea what you’re doing. Even beauty Taylor Momsen, seen here, can’t pull it off, despite her best attempt at a rockstar glare.
Achieving the “no makeup” makeup look actually requires a lot of products! It’s just that most of them are used with a light hand and are formulated to be lightweight.
Looking polished and pulled together doesn’t mean you have to step out with a full face.
The “no makeup” trend has been popular for a couple years, and all it takes is some concealer to cover up any blemishes or dark circles, a tinted moisturizer or CC cream, a little bit of sheer color on cheeks and lips, a tinted brow gel, and some mascara (usually a shade of brown).
The exact opposite of having a bare face (or the appearance of a bare face) is over-the-top contouring. Thanks to Instagram and YouTube makeup gurus and tutorials, contouring has become extremely popular over the past few years, but it’s gone to a whole new level.
Now, striping yourself in light shades over dark shades all over your face or body to achieve a slimmer look is the norm. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good trend to follow! Time-consuming and difficult to rock, we’ll pass on this one.
The 1920s gave us the advent of the smokey eye, thanks to the arrival of dark eyeshadow and a more rebellious female mindset.
To be fair to the Ancient Egyptians, however, Kohl eyeliner came with them, which could put this trend at thousands of years old!
It’s still a classic that has been adjusted to keep with the times, with new formulas and colored smokey eyes becoming all the rage. From date night to red carpets, this trend is one to master.
Another trend that first picked up steam with movie stars like Marlene Dietrich in the ‘20s, skinny brows made a comeback 70 years later in the 1990s, when every model, pop star, and actress was plucking their eyebrows into oblivion and drawing them on again with a pencil.
By the early 2000s, barely-there arches sat above pastel eyeshadow with a background of fake tan skin on women like Christina Aguilera. Hardly flattering, but definitely decade-defining, we’re happy to forget this trend (and hopefully never repeat it).
A few years later, we were fortunately blessed with the return of thicker, bushier, and more natural eyebrows. Leading the charge was supermodel Cara Delevingne, whose dark, natural arches had women putting down their tweezers and filling in the brows they had once mercilessly plucked.
More and more women chose to go natural when it came to their arches around 2010.
Like the magnificent and thick brows of Brooke Shields in the 1980s, natural eyebrows came to define much of the 2010 beauty look, but it also led to our next trend to forget.
With thicker eyebrows came the arrival of what’s been dubbed the “Instagram eyebrow”, a very sculpted, filled-in brow that was brushed up in the front before rising into an exaggerated arch and tapering along the tail. Usually, more definition was added with the help of concealers, shadows, and highlighters.
It became the go-to look for social media models and influencers, except, as time went on, the eyebrow looked more fake than natural- and a little too overdone, which is why we’ve decided that it’s a trend to forget.
Red lips are a classic for a reason. Described by Allure as “probably the most prolific beauty product in the history of cosmetics," red lipstick has long been associated with rebellion and liberation.
Even now, how often are we told that men don’t like bright red lipstick – but we wear it anyway?
Now, a modern way to rock a red lip is to try a matte formula or a stain while keeping the rest of your face fairly minimal, yet still polished. After all, it’s the siren song of that lip that you want to command the most attention!
Another trend from the 1990s that carried over into the 2000s, pale, frosty lipstick looked good on exactly no one. And yet women everywhere were loading up on pale pink and shimmery shades that left their lips looking small and dry.
A makeup product that should have stayed where it belonged in child dress-up games, frosted pouts were often accentuated with exaggerated lipliner. A couple publications have tried to bring back the idea of frosted lipstick, but we’re telling you to forget this trend instead.
Another leftover from the punk scene that was revived in the 2000s and still continues to this day, black nail polish has become less about rebellion and more about fashion.
Similarly, darker colors in shades of green, navy, grey, or plum have also received top billing as a chic nail look in recent years.
This new reputation is in contrast with the moody, broody rep they had a decade or so ago. To best rock this trend, we suggest keeping nails short and clean and keeping them glossy rather than matte, so that they look more like polish and less like permanent marker.
It seems that this decade's beauty looks are all about taking things up a few extra notches, and nails are no exception. Extreme nail art first became a thing on Pinterest, with women Pinning nail accessories, designs, and techniques that, more often than not, didn’t turn out so well.
Fast-forward to a couple years later and we have nails that are impossibly long with so many trinkets attached to or hanging from them that they really render your hands totally useless! We’re all for creativity, but this is taking it a little too far.
False lashes have been a thing for decades, arguably first gaining recognition with supermodel Twiggy in the 1960s. The famous lady said that she layered three pairs of false lashes over her own, and would draw more on underneath!
Nowadays, false lashes are more about looking feathery, flirty, and full than spidery.
But it’s still a trend that we think is worth following, especially if you’re stuck with short, straight, or pale natural lashes. How can you not feel glamorous without a little extra fringe?
One beauty (and fashion) trend that should be avoided at all costs: cultural appropriation. Recently popularized at music festivals, where bindis go hand-in-hand with flower crowns, rocking one culture's religious or spiritual garb as a fashion statement just isn’t hot, especially as we become more educated and aware as a society.
Back in the 1990s, Gwen Stefani popularized jeweled bindis as fashionable among white women, and no one batted an eye. But now, knowing what we do, let’s leave those cultural markers to the culture they belong to- because it’s not our makeup look.
Glowy skin is a trend that we can all get behind, for it symbolizes health and wellbeing as well as encourages a killer complexion!
Getting too shiny isn’t a good idea, but having a little extra highlight or dewy skin is always gorgeous.
You can achieve this trend by keeping up with a skincare regimen that leaves your skin feeling moisturized (but not oily), opting for gel or cream makeup formulas, making highlighter your new BFF, and always loading up on that SPF!
In the 2000s, tanned skin became synonymous with beauty, but, like most of the beauty looks that happened in that decade, it became too much of a good thing. In addition to going to unhealthy extremes to get a bronzed skin tone – and thus risking skin cancer in the process – more and more starlets began to walk the red carpet with a fake orange hue.
The trend even made its way to the malls and high schools of North America. Not only does it look completely unnatural, but, if you’re relying on tanning beds, it can be life-threatening!
While healthy, glowing skin is definitely a trend to follow, choosing to go matte is also a great option too, especially if you have oily skin.
However, to keep this look modern rather than dry and papery, make the matte look purposeful by using it for your entire look!
Rather than relying on shimmers, use matte colors on your eyes, skin, lips, and cheeks for a look that is fashionable and wearable. Just be sure to prime your skin properly beforehand to prevent products from settling into fine lines or pores.
Look, glossy lips can be cute, flirty, and fashionable. However, the glossy lips that we saw everywhere in the early 2000s were a trend we’d rather forget. While every girl probably had a Juicy Tube or MAC Lipglass stored in her purse, thick, goopy, glittery lip gloss had the unfortunate distinction of getting all over our faces and hair rather than staying put.
Fortunately for us, lip gloss formulas have gotten better at, you know, staying on our lips, and don’t make us look like rejected reality TV contestants.
A relatively newer trend on our list, underliner is taking the red carpet by storm. Equal parts fierce and fashionable, underliner allows for a pop of color in an unexpected place on an otherwise bare face.
Keeping the rest of your makeup minimal and not overdoing it on the upper lids allows for the underliner to stand out.
Try your hand at it with an emerald green color like Maisie Williams, a teal shade like Shay Mitchell, or a neon purple like Joan Smalls!
Browns, blacks, and greys are fine, but they can get a little boring after a while. Fortunately for us, more and more makeup brands are unveiling bright, colorful shades for your eyes that’ll have you testing more exciting waters. Amp up your regular smokey eye by opting for a colorful version in unexpected hues.
Try something adventurous like burgundy or wine, as seen on Olivia Wilde, blue or navy, like Alessandra Ambrosio, ocean green like Hailee Steinfeld, or even pink, like the girl pictured above!
If going colorful isn’t your thing, then you have to try out the metallic eye trend. Applied with a cream or liquid formula, golds, bronzes, and silvers can look like molten metals. Sweeps of powder formulas are a little less bold but a good starting point for those who just want to dip their toe in the trend.
Metallic eyes are glamorous and bold and can be as daring or as demure as you’re willing to try.
While some tutorials mention exaggerating the metallic shade with black liner and loads of lashes, we say why not take a page out of this model’s book and let the shine speak for itself?
Neon colors urge everyone to look at you, so this trend definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. While pops of neon are usually reserved for your lips and cheeks – which we love – it’s also worth exploring this trend when it comes to your eye makeup!
Think Rihanna’s neon pink mascara at a Fenty x Puma event, Alison Brie’s fluorescent green eyeliner that gave her LBD a punk rock twist, or Margot Robbie’s canary lids on the red carpet. A must-try trend for summer, this look is all about getting playful.
Another bold makeup trend that we’re digging is the graphic eyeliner look. Often seen on runways and celebrities, graphic liner can be as bold as you want it to be. Use liquid liner or pencil eyeliner if liquid is intimidating.
Drawing designs or following the shape of your eye in new and exciting ways is a look that's on the upward trend.
Keeping the rest of your look simple allows this style to stand out, keeping you chic and not costumey.