Insta Makeup Trends: What I Really Think

Instagram: the place where good, bad, ugly and just plain weird makeup looks have a platform. I follow a lot of cosmetic companies and pro makeup artists, and I love seeing some of the stunning, creative and retro looks they post. But I sometimes get wind of Instagram makeup trends that aren’t quite so well done. You’ve seen some, right?

I’m going to go over some of the popular Insta makeup trends of the past year or so, and I’ll let you know exactly what I think (as if you had any doubt about that).


The trend: Faux freckles.

What it is: Using eyeliner or eye shadow to draw on fake freckles.

What it looks like on Instagram: Faux freckles

My professional opinion: Pro makeup artists have been doing this for years. I think it gets overdone on Instagram (and I’m not even referring to the glitter faux freckles trend), but it can be done in a more subtle way. For a pro take on this trend, check out the end of this tutorial from Nic of the Pixiwoos.

The trend: Clown contouring.

What it is: Using contouring, highlighting and color corrector products, as well as blush (and sometimes lipstick) drawn on like clown makeup to sculpt the face.

What it looks like on Instagram: Clown contouring

My professional opinion: Like many of the non-clown contouring techniques out there, that is a lot of makeup. (Keep in mind those highlight, contour, color corrector and blush cream products are put over foundation, then powder goes on top of them.) Like with any contour tutorial you follow, you have to make sure the makeup artist or model has the same face shape and eye shape as you do, or else you could end up accentuating the features you are trying to minimize. From what I understand, clown contouring was started as a sort of creative challenge between some beauty influencers and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. I say, go with that attitude. If you want to do clown contouring for fun, do it to it. But if you want to learn how to contour for your own face shape, check out my Shape Up series (Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4).

The trend: Glitter lips.

What it is: Using a glitter-infused lipstick or patting glitter on top of lipstick.

What it looks like on Instagram: Glitter, glitter lips, glitter lipstick

My professional opinion: Due to my 2006 One Particle of Glitter Lodged In My Eyeball incident, I hate glitter. If you give me a birthday card with glitter, I’ll stop responding your texts. That being said, I don’t hate the look of this trend. However, I have to assume it would not be comfortable to wear and would dry out your lips very quickly. Glitter has come under some heat lately for its negative effect on the environment. (Most types contain micoplastic–tiny pieces of glitter that end up in the waterways, harming fish and hanging out in our water supplies.) There are biodegradable glitters that don’t hurt the environment, and there are also edible and non-toxic glitters which you might want to consider if you are putting something on your lips. Because, you know, you’re going to end up eating some of it. So if you are going to try glitter lips, be smart about it!

The trend: Baking.

What it is: Leaving a translucent powder on the skin for 5-10 minutes to really set into areas you want to highlight. This technique has been used in the drag community for years.

What it looks like on Instagram: Baking, makeup baking, powder highlight

My professional opinion: Again, it’s a lot of makeup (but you might have guessed that when I said “drag community.”) It requires several layers of product–both creams and powders–which can easily cause caking. (Baking, caking–am I writing a food blog now?) Especially if you are dry in any of the areas you are going to bake, you’ll likely see the powder adhere to the dry patches. And if you’ve got large pores or fine lines and you’re baking over those, you can expect to see some of the layers of product settle into those pores or lines. If you’re going to try baking, I recommend making sure your skin is well exfoliated and moisturized first, and prepped with a pore minimizer if enlarged pores or fine lines are a concern.

The trend:  Lollipop lips.

What it is: Intentional lip color smudging outside of the lips, to mimic what I think is how a child looks after eating a lollipop.

What it looks like on Instagram: lollipop lips, Instagram makeup trends

My professional opinion: Why????? I’m all for messy makeup, but not to this degree. I prefer a blurred/stained lipcolor, which has a similar effect but doesn’t make you look like you did your makeup after five cocktails…in the dark…with mittens on. That blurred/stained look I’m referring to can be achieved by applying a lipstick, blotting on a tissue, then patting the edges with your fingertips. It’s okay to go slightly over the natural lipline since the lipstick would be soft and undefined, but “slightly” is the key word. If you want to be a Lollipop (Lips) Kid, don’t let me stop you. But if you’re wondering what I think of this look, I don’t approve.

The trend: Feathered eyebrows.

What it is: A part down the middle of the length of each eyebrow, with the brows hairs then smoothed down by brow gel, pomade or glue (yes, glue stick glue.)

What it looks like on Instagram: Feathered eyebrows, Instagram eyebrows, Instagram eyebrow trends

My professional opinion: Points for creativity, but I can’t see this look being flattering on anyone. Can you imagine having a normal conversation with someone whose brows looked like that? You know you would be looking at their brows the whole time. If you’re into statement looks and you don’t mind some “What the hell?” stares, go for it. It’s not what I consider a wearable look, but to each her own.

The trend: Doing makeup with weird shit. (I mean, can you think of a better description?)

What it is: Using things other than makeup brushes and tools to blend or to guide the lines for contour, highlight and eyeliner wings. Some objects I’ve seen beauty influencers use: spoons, tampons, fidget spinners, silicone bra inserts, hard boiled eggs and condoms.

What it looks like on Instagram: Weird Instagram makeup trends, hard boiled egg makeup

My professional opinion: Ridic. I guarantee an actual makeup brush or sponge does the job better than any of these weirdo ideas. This one annoys me the most so I’m stopping it at three sentences.

I’m all for being creative and having fun with makeup. My issue with some of the Insta beauty trends is that people aren’t learning how to correctly apply makeup, or they are going for super overdone looks that aren’t going to translate well in person. Play around with makeup all you want, but remember that a lot of these Insta trends aren’t wearable. If you want to improve your makeup game, watching a tutorial from a legit pro makeup artist like Lisa Eldridge is a better use of your time than trying to figure out how to use a fidget spinner to contour your face.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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