Makeup is one of the ways we express ourselves creatively, and with Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, it’s become a lot easier for us to discover and test out new makeup trends that we may not have had guidance on before. Now, we can perfect a smoky eye and nail an overlined lip with a bit of practice!
However, with the rise of social media, we’ve also been given a lot of weird makeup trends that not only test our creativity and ability, but also our fearlessness. Overlined lips may be great, but have you tried a bejewelled lip? You may be into painting your nails, but have you seen aquarium nails? Makeup trends are coming out fast and furious because once makeup artists have mastered one thing, they move onto the next and we get to share the crazy results. But weird makeup trends aren’t limited to those of the past few years – we’ve also got some on this list that have been around for centuries and still have us scratching out heads. Have you tried out any of these weird makeup trends? Let us know!
15 Rainbow Everything
This trend was very 2016, because rainbows were everywhere! From food to hair to drinks to tattoos to makeup, everyone decided to work the ROY G. BIV! While the trend may have started to show support for the LGBTQ community – especially in times that were as tense as this past year was – it was also hella Instagrammable, and blew up on all our feeds. No surface of your face was safe, with rainbow-saturated lids, multi-coloured eyebrows, technicolour lashes and lips, plus the super popular rainbow highlighter which was on everyone’s must-have list.
Just because the trend is pretty weird doesn’t mean it’s not totally awesome! Thinking outside the box and traveling along the color spectrum was a trend that let everyone show off their makeup skills and creativity while treating their faces like the most fabulous coloring book ever! But, you either need a lot of brushes to pull it off, or be willing to clean those babies after every application, so maybe the rainbow trend isn’t such a good idea if you’re a little more low-maintenance – or lazy.
14 Hangover Makeup
Coming out of Japan, this trend took off in 2015, and while it looks like not much makeup at all, it’s because it’s created to look like you’ve just woken up after a particularly rough night out. You know how sexy you feel when you get out of bed bloated, dehydrated, and reeking of alcohol? Well, now there’s a beauty tutorial for that!
This trend had women using the hashtag #HangoverMakeup and showing off their puffy, tired eyes in the name of beauty. To achieve the look, women would line the bags underneath the eye and then add some red blush before blending it together. To really kick it up a notch and make it look like you’ve been through the ringer, greasy hair was added to solidify your bad decision. While Japan is known for its weird beauty trends (this isn’t the only one on our list), this one is definitely strange for enhancing what the rest of us usually try to cover up.
13 Crazy Contouring
Largely, thanks to the Kardashians, contouring and baking have been a major makeup trend for a few years now, where women use bronzer, blush, concealer, foundation, and highlighter to achieve a perfectly sculpted look that makes them Insta-ready. However, once we all mastered the basics of contouring, the Internet gave us crazier ideas for us to try in the quest for Kardashian perfection.
First, we had clown contouring, which was made popular by YouTube makeup artist BellaDeLune, in response to the haters who called her a clown for loving makeup. Soon, other makeup addicts began to post their own clown-contoured faces. Then more elaborate types of contouring came out, like dot contouring, flower contouring, animal contouring, skull contouring, henna contouring – even Star Wars contouring! All were crazy intricate and required lots of time, money, and brushes. Of course, all that hard work would go away once people performed the cardinal rule of contouring: blending. At least we have the photographic proof of this crazy trend!
12 Faux Freckles
While freckles were once seen as unattractive and women worked hard to get rid of them, now freckles are a symbol of cute, fresh-faced beauty. In fact, they’ve become so popular that more and more people are looking to give themselves freckles where before they had none! This beauty trend has upset a lot of people, who were teased for their “flawed” freckles and now have to reclaim something that is suddenly fashionable.
What began as a few dots of well-placed eyeliner has now morphed into something much stranger. Now, we have temporary freckle tattoos, which work like other tattoos except that the strip is placed across the bridge of the nose to achieve the youthful look. We also have faux freckles that aren’t even pretending to be real, coming in rainbow colours and shimmery glitter! One of the hottest – and weirdest – trends of the past couple of years, only time will tell if faux freckles have the same staying power as the real thing.
11 Bubble Nails
Onto the nails! One of the weirdest and most uncomfortable looking makeup trends on this list, bubble nails were a trend that had a lot of people scratching their heads. How do you go to the bathroom? How do you text? Like most trends nowadays, this one picked up steam by popping up all over the Internet and we were all kind of asking ourselves, “What?”
To get the desirable bubble nail (also known as “hump nails”), a ball of acrylic is placed in centre of the nail and then as the fake nail is placed over top, it has to be thinned out at the cuticle and the tip, and thickest over the area that covers the ball of acrylic. Afterwards, the length of the rest of the nail is up to you. A lot of women who choose to test out this weird trend opt for shorter nails to keep that bubble look, but there are photos with long talons and nails that curve all the way around the fingertip!
Sure, you’ve heard of sharp eyeliner, but what about eyeliner that could actually cut you? This is a recent weird makeup trend and one that took eyeliner art to the edge. One of the biggest looks this past Halloween, knifeliner let makeup gurus show off their skills and their love of the spooky without going all out with the costume and face paint (which can be a bit much during the day).
To work this scary look, beauty junkies drew tiny blades on their lids where the eyeliner would normally go, using the handle of the knife as the flick. There was glitter and metallics and a really steady hand. Oh, and there’s some fake blood dripping if you’re into that kind of thing. This trend was pretty short-lived, but it was everywhere in October and weird enough that we had to include it on our list. Bet your cat eye doesn’t look quite so fierce now, does it?
9 Extreme Lip Art
2015 was the year of the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, but that’s nothing compared to the extreme lip art trend which has been around for way longer. First we had those lip stickers that could give you an elaborate lip look with minimal effort (if you could actually apply them properly), but all over YouTube and Instagram, makeup artists have been showing off their extreme works of lip art, from crystallized geode lips to artful lip gloss drips to miniature scenes drawn onto the tiniest of canvases.
Showing off your skills with these complex works of art looked beautiful and made the rest of us green with envy, but it also led to a lot of questions, like doesn’t that dry the hell out of your lips and how do you eat, drink, or breathe properly? Like a lot of the weird makeup trends on this list, extreme lip art looks good but isn’t practical beyond snapping a few photos of your hard work to share with your followers.
8 Fluffy Manicures
Speaking of impracticality, fluffy manicures were seen all over the runways and Pinterest in 2016. The mini version of these fuzzy manicures was painting your nails and then shaking some fluffy dust over them to make it look like your tips were super soft. Then, we had pom-poms affixed to the tip or the cuticle of the nail, which made your manicure look like a kid’s craft project gone wrong. We all wondered how you got anything done, like washing your hands, with those fuzzy little balls on your nails.
But then we reached peak nail art with furry nails. They were shown on the runways of New York Fashion Week and nail art aficionados went wild. Basically, the manicure involved gluing swatches of fur onto your nails – after they’d already been painted in a corresponding colour, of course. We asked ourselves how you went to the bathroom or ate with your hands without getting fur in your mouth. And then we shook our heads, because sometimes fashion just doesn’t make any damn sense.
7 100 Layers of Anything
Thanks for this weird makeup trend, YouTube! For whatever reason, makeup artists took it upon themselves to apply as much product to various parts of their face as possible, and then filmed it for the rest of us to copycat or marvel at. The “100 Layers Challenge” started with nail polish, when Simply Nailogical decided to apply 100 layers of nail polish in order to create a “polish mountain” (fortunately, she first applied a peel-away base coat). After that, we had 100 layers of foundation, 100 layers of liquid lipstick, and 100 layers of highlighter – and that doesn’t include all the non-makeup challenges. Then, we got Jenna Marbles, who chose to do 100 layers of everything, including nail polish, fake eyelashes, liquid lipstick, foundation, and fake tanner.
Really, like most stuff that goes viral, this didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it was something everyone wanted to do. It’s a total waste of expensive product and – as is evident from these videos – kind of painful!
6 Using Non-Beauty Products as Makeup
Sometimes DIY goes way too far, and that couldn’t be more true when supposed makeup gurus took to their video cameras to let their followers know that they had quality makeup products in their very own fridges and junk drawers. Look, I know makeup costs a lot, especially if you’re getting the good stuff, but this weird makeup trend that purports to be all natural, super easy, and good for your wallet is actually anything but.
The #FaceFullofFood makeup challenge had blogger Raychel Newton applying stuff like coffee grounds, mac n’ cheese powder, and chocolate on her face, and we can only imagine how she smelled and the breakouts that happened after. She’s not the only one, though: other vloggers have used Oreos for mascara and Skittles for blush!
Before that, crayons had their time to shine, with beauty gurus showing “hacks” of melting down crayons to use as lipstick and eyeliner. For the record, even though Crayola products are nontoxic, the company stated that you probably shouldn’t be putting them anywhere near your face.
5 Deadly Foundation
From nontoxic to downright deadly, it was a common practice for centuries to include lead in foundation, and this weird (and lethal) trend was popular throughout Europe. While today many women look to cultivate a healthy glow through bronzer or tanning (the latter of which is another deadly practice), up until the eighteenth century, having a pale, porcelain complexion was considered beautiful, as it symbolized wealth and status. In order to achieve the popular look, many women used products that contained lead, or mixed ceruse, which was a concoction of vinegar and white lead.
The use of lead in cosmetics that were applied liberally to the face resulted in people poisoning themselves slowly. While they may have been covering up blemishes, they were also dealing with severe abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, headaches, muscle atrophy, paralysis, and eventually, death. This centuries-popular makeup trend wasn’t just weird – it was deadly.
4 Ganguro Girls
Our second entry on this list to contain a weird makeup trend from Japan, ganguro is both a fashion and a makeup trend – and a strange one at that. Created as an alternative trend in the 1990s to rebel against traditional notions of Japanese beauty, ganguro faded out by the mid-2000s, although its offshoots, yamanba and manba look incredibly similar.
To get the ganguro look, girls would develop deep, orange tans with light or white coloured hair, while using white concealer as both lipstick and eyeshadow. (Hm, sounds like where the new President-elect got his signature look from!) Ganguro girls would also use loads of false eyelashes, plastic facial gems, and highlighting powder to complete the look, plus brightly-coloured, off-the-wall fashion choices to counteract Japan’s usual buttoned-up aesthetic. The ganguro trend has been called bizarre by a lot of people, who see it more as an ugly beauty trend than anything else, which is why it’s on our list!
3 Ear Makeup
Sure, you can have makeup on your face, nails, and toes, but have you ever thought about wearing makeup on your ears? They’re not just for jewellery anymore! Considered one of the craziest beauty trends, ear makeup first came into the public eye in 2014 during Paris Fashion Week, when models walked down the runway with their lobes dipped in ink. Since then, we’ve seen silver and gold painted ears, ears dusted in glitter, and cartilage outlined in shimmery metallics as fashionable accents.
This trend is definitely a weird one, so it makes sense that it originated in such a high-fashion setting, but it’s definitely not a look people are working everyday. If you have long hair that you prefer to wear down, ear makeup probably isn’t such a good investment of your time or energy. Everyone seemed pretty puzzled by the popularity of the whole thing, but that was a few months ago and the ear makeup trend has since been more or less forgotten.
2 Black Teeth
Nope, this isn’t another instance of a Halloween makeup trend! The trend of having black teeth was actually extremely popular in Southeast Asia, China, and Japan for many centuries, and still continues today. Known as ohaguro, blackening one’s teeth was considered to be a sign of beauty and wealth. To dye one’s teeth, a woman would have to ingest the dye, which was often flavoured with spices since it tasted so terrible, and repeat the process every couple of days. Eventually, the teeth would become permanently darkened.
While blindingly white teeth are considered attractive in modern Western society, blackening the teeth is still a common practice in many minority groups throughout Asia, sometimes with the help of false teeth. While the look is totally bizarre, there is one benefit to darkening one’s teeth: it has actually been proven to prevent tooth decay! So, while the teeth may look as though they’re rotting, they’re definitely not in danger of falling out!
1 Going Cockeyed
Partly a joke, the makeup trend known as “d!ckliner” is super strange and totally NSFW. Created by a teenager this past November, the quirky eyeliner trend was made as a jokey response to the artistic makeup looks she was seeing everywhere. Similar to how knifeliner works, this trend involved using the male member to straddle the eye, with the tip acting as the wing of the eyeliner.
It was created all in good fun, but people loved it, requested a tutorial, and even shared their own takes on this NSFW makeup look. (You can Google the actual look yourself because there are some things that should just not be shared.) While this look is clearly not meant for the everyday, it still became a viral trend, with multiple articles talking about the hilariously weird new development in makeup artistry. It shouldn’t come as any surprise then that we named it the number one weirdest makeup trend EVER!