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Weird or fascinating? Gen Z beauty trends that are out of this world

PIMPLE stickers. Picture: Instagram.

PIMPLE stickers. Picture: Instagram.

Published Dec 16, 2021


In 2021, we’ve seen some really interesting beauty trends emerge – some positive and others rather questionable. Nevertheless, when it comes to the trends created or resurrected by the influential group that is Gen Z – we’re all ears.

Cupid’s bows

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E-GIRL aesthetic. Picture: Instagram.

Bee stung, overlined, matte, juicy and glossed – it’s undeniable that, as a society, we are completely obsessed with lips. Although they’ve always been regarded as a significant element of beauty, the way in which they are addressed in our make-up routines has varied throughout the different eras.

From the days of brown lip liner paired with a nude lip that dominated in the 1990s and early 2000s to Kylie Jenner’s lip fillers that gripped the beauty world since 2015, it seems we’re finally moving into a new era of lip trends all thanks to Gen Z.

The Cupid’s bow is the dainty little ‘V’ on the upper lip that falls just below the nose. From wide-set to sharp and defined, they come in all shapes and sizes and have long a been celebrated feature on women.

Gen Zer’s have been rounding off the inverted point of their lips using liners, lipstick and gloss to achieve the illusion of a naturally curved upper lip. The overall look is slightly cartoonish, reminiscent of the vague facial features that characters have in certain video games and animated series.

Initially, the make-up trend was a cosplay fusion, with more e-girls and e-boys adopting the style. However, it’s also taken off on TikTok with many beauty gurus jumping on the bandwagon, replicating the looks with thousands of views and comments of praise to prove its popularity.

Under-eye bags

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Picture: Tiktok screenshot @daniellemarcan.

In line with the push for social media to become more candid, Gen Z has been posting pictures more freely onto platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The captions of these so-called carousels of random images, usually from the past month or so, is captioned with the hashtag #PhotoDump.

Somewhere in between the snaps is usually a selfie or two featuring fresh faces flaunting freckles, redness, acne and eye bags. This is perfectly aligned with how this next generation is making big moves when it comes to promoting natural beauty and body positivity.

In contrast with the impossible beauty standards of 2015, which gave rise to a full face of glam consisting of pouty matte lips, cheeks glazed with highlighter and thick drawn brows, the change is refreshing. The last six years have consisted of seeing make-up looks duplicated from face to face – almost as if people have been following the exact same beauty tutorial online.

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But the one thing nobody could has expected to come from all of this is under-eye circles becoming a coveted facial feature. Gen Zers are purposefully using anything from purple, pink and dark brown eye shadows, lipsticks and lipliners to smudge pigmentation into the crease below the eye.

Some say the trend is about accentuating one's “flaws” and were about accepting insecurities. For others, like TikToker, Tatian Ringsby, the trend could be rooted in the androgynous aesthetic popularised by nonbinary influencers.

In a New York Times interview, the influencer shared, “(It’s about) expressing femininity without the pressure of exuding femininity.”

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Another Tiktoker, Sarah Carsten’s, who initially helped spur on the trend online with a video of herself smearing brown lipstick below her eyes, said to Cosmo Me: “I didn’t necessarily see this trend before, although there have been a few trends going around that include accentuating eye bags – such as the Femboy trend and the Tim Burton trend, I believe I’m the first one to really draw attention to eye bags and dark circles.”

Pimple stickers

Picture: Instagram.

Whether you’re a tween or teen going through puberty or you’re in the early or even late stages of adulthood – hormonal acne can affect adults of any age – you might be familiar with the agony of trying to cover up these red, itchy bumps.

Concealer, foundation, colour correctors and more have been churned out by cosmetic brands for decades. The idea has always been to give off the illusion of perfectly smooth skin – no discolouration, scarring or pimples insight. Now, instead of completely hiding these imperfections, Gen Z is drawing more attention to them.

Pimple stickers are a unique way of hiding these imperfections, while also treating the problem area. Hydrocolloid patches are used to draw out moisture from things like blisters, but also help reduce the appearance of acne. Instead of plastering a band-aid onto your forehead, pimple patches are cute enough to incorporate with your regular make-up, without further clogging or irritating the affected area. From stars to flowers and diamante studded patches, they’ll fit in with any outfit or look.

Skinny brows

Picture: Instagram.

From movie stars like Drew Barrymore to models like Tyra Banks and Kate Moss, the 1990s and early 2000s was a period of overplucking brows until they formed a sleek line above the eye.

Now, just as we’ve got our brows looking lush and full again, it seems that slender brows have made their return to popularity. Over plucked eyebrows were ousted in the 2010s in favour of heavily filled-in brows, micro bladed and tinted to rival even that of the model, Cara Delevingne. But, in line with the Y2K aesthetic that’s super popular at the moment, Gen Z is all for paving the way back to skinny.

While millennials are nostalgic and eager to relive their childhoods, Gen Zers are discovering 1990s and 2000s pop culture trends for the first time, consuming everything – movies, literature, music and fashion related.

Naturally, things the older generation never would have expected to be worn down runways again – like baguette bags and claw clips – are suddenly cool. This recent resurrection has also infiltrated the make-up scene with celebrities being some of the first to hop on the bandwagon. The Y2K queen herself, Bella Hadid has been sharing selfies to Instagram flaunting her scruffy, put perfectly skinny eyebrows online.

Related Topics:

Gen Z