A new trend has emerged on TikTok, which has led to criticism and discussions on makeup trends, and what is – or isn’t – considered beautiful.
In late December, TikTok user @sarathefreeelf posted a video of her using a contour stick to darken up her under eyes, to accentuate her dark circles. The video currently has 7.9 million views and 1.3 million likes, and has been reposted numerous times on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
She seemingly started a new makeup trend.
Thousands of other TikTok creators can be seen applying dark makeup under their eyes, and many more have implemented this new technique into their daily makeup routines.
But people are perplexed at this new trend. Some are confused as to why people want to accentuate their dark circles. Some are mad that people are faking having dark circles when many people are insecure about theirs. Some are happy that their insecurities are seen as beautiful, or chic. “I personally have dark circles naturally that are genetic and don’t go away with skincare or sleep, and I’m loving it,” Katy Albert, Castleton alumna and makeup artist, said about the trend.
Alex Wetherby, another Castleton alum and makeup artist, disagrees.
“I’ve had eye bags all my life and it’s something I’ve always been insecure about and have tried to mask to some degree, and it’s frustrating that now it’s seen as something trendy,” he said.
The origins of this trend can actually date back to 2017, as part of the makeup look called “The Boy Beat,” created by celebrity makeup artist Sir John, when he was designing the makeup for Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade.
In an interview with Allure Magazine, Sir John says that the Boy Beat is “an androgynous way to look at makeup being masculine and feminine at the same time, adding a bit more structure than you would have naturally.”
To put it simply, the Boy Beat makeup is a way of doing makeup to enhance your natural features, to look the way a boy looks when he isn’t wearing makeup, which includes bushy brows, freckles, rosacea and dark circles.
This ties in with the current conversation of “gender envy,” or looking feminine the way boys look feminine.
And though the dark circle trend is seemingly new, what isn’t new is drawing on features that fall into this style of makeup. This same conversation could have been had when people started drawing on their freckles.
“I also have freckles and feel the same way about fake freckles,” said Albert. “I think it’s a testament to the overall progress of the body positivity movement and re-learning what is ‘attractive.’ People are loving their hip dips and big booties and cellulite and now their dark circles and freckles because people want those things for aesthetic purposes now.”
It definitely is a drastic change from the big makeup style. From 2016 through 2018, the makeup style did not go unnoticed.
When the popularity rose of ‘beauty gurus,’ like Jeffree Star, James Charles and NikkiTutorials, so did “Instagram Makeup.”
This makeup was meant to make you look flawless, almost photoshopped. Airbrushed skin, strong eyebrows, beaming highlight, and overlined lips was the makeup look that was so often recreated.
“2016 honestly feels like a different lifetime,” said Wetherby. “It was like pack on as much makeup imaginable and basically turn yourself into someone else. Now I feel like it’s the Glossier generation where it’s like a touch of makeup but with select fea tures that are enhanced.”
Wetherby said he’s glad we are moving in a direction that seems to be more accepting of people as they are and doing minimal enhancements to improve on what they possess naturally.
“The beauty standard in 2016 was so unattainable that it definitely caused some people to develop negative feelings about themselves,” he said. “I definitely felt the pressure back then, but had to walk away because it became too much. The best feeling I ever had was unfollowing influencers.”
With the increase in use of social media platforms like TikTok, creative expression has increased as well. Now the trend seems to be wearing makeup that makes you feel confident, rather than recreating makeup you see on the Instagram explore page, and that includes the Boy Beat.
“I think it’s more of like whatever you like is cool now,” said Albert. “People are more into graphic liner and smudge eyes and natural shaped lips these days but there are also the full glamazons still.”
Albert said that in the future there will still be trends, but makeup looks like drag trends, the bimbo resurgence, graphic liners, colorful freckles, shaved, bleached, or colorful brows, and more prove that as we progress in acceptance of people’s individual styles, the more people are open to trying new things, or sticking to what’s safe.
“I just think people are able to get out of the box without fear of ridicule much more now, and that’s awesome,” said Albert.