Messy Makeup: a temporary trend or the beginning of a beauty revolution?

Messy makeup is on the cards for this season. From haphazardly applied shadow, to contrasting colours and avant-garde eyeliner, individuals are now striving to achieve this artfully dishevelled look. From Kat’s, Barbie Ferreira, makeup in Euphoria’s Season 2, to Julia Fox’s now staple, graphic liner, the anti-perfectionist makeup movement is encouraging experimental applications, contesting traditional standards. After years of striving to achieve the perfect ‘no makeup-makeup’ look, consumers have become drawn to the rebellious side of beauty, encouraging a spontaneous approach to creativity and freedom. 

This carefree and intuitive approach, reminds consumers that makeup should be less about hiding imperfections, and more about releasing their inner-child by playing with colour. It inspires an adventurous collision between contrasting shades, textures and shapes, steering the focal point towards an exaggerated eye. 

The Julia Fox effect

The crowd went wild when Julia Fox debuted her striking, black liner. Makeup maniacs praised the look’s expressiveness, while others questioned her choices. Fox even uploaded a tutorial on her Instagram page, showing viewers a step-by-step demonstration on how to achieve this deliberately messy, and rather calculated look. It was precisely curated, motivating individuals to find beauty in imperfection despite its heavy criticism.

Julia Fox at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party
Julia Fox at the Vanity Fair Oscars 2022

On the runway

Even back in 2020, during what would be one of many lockdowns to come, fashion houses saw the opportunity to express peoples’ desire for freedom through beauty – messy makeup was implemented in their Spring/Summer shows. At House of Holland, statement colours were fused with a glittery hue that extended from the eyelid all the way to the temples. Salvatore Ferragamo opted for unblended swatches of pigmented colour stacked one on top of another. Tomo Koizumi added futuristic elements, playing with geometry through hyper-extended shadow, drawing thick, shimmery brushstrokes along the hairline and jawline.

A beauty dilemma

Consumers are accustomed to ricocheting between the two ideals; a perfectly sculpted cheekbone and symmetrical eyeliner, or a simple yet flawless application that alludes to natural beauty. Perhaps the goal is not to look effortless at all, but simply to feel; to reflect our inner colours. For decades, society has encouraged humans to be conscious of their looks. As the media continues to promote an interrelationship between beauty, self-worth and identity, individuals feel the need to chase these unrealistic standards, hoping to attain societal acceptance and self-validation.

Is it here to stay?

Beauty is subjective and feeling beautiful holds different meaning from one to the other. However, there is a fine line between following makeup advice and feeling obliged to satisfy a specific beauty standard, even finer recognising when this becomes a matter of toxic perfectionism. People are tired of conforming to unrealistic metrics and following ‘makeup rules’. It’s safe to say that seeing beauty standards transcend into the medium of genuine self-expression, has been quite refreshing. Today, authenticity is key; uniqueness is encouraged and gracefully embraced. 

It’s no doubt that messy makeup will be on everyone’s radar this coming year.

The verdict? Messy makeup is here to stay.

Written by Stella Georghiou

View more colourful beauty looks here.