Every beauty trend, everywhere, all at once

Influencer Rachel Rigler, 23, always starts her day with an iced latte, but during a mid-morning sip in June and a scroll through Pinterest, she saw more than usual in her cup of coffee.

“I saw pictures of this bronzy, smokey eye makeup look while I was drinking my latte and I thought, you know what, it gives a kind of latte makeup look,” said Rigler, from Atlanta, who immediately took to TikTok to create a look. photo to share. tutorial for the appearance.

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Her opening video has since been viewed more than 2.7 million times, liked 183,000 times and spawned numerous spin-off looks, including matcha makeup, pumpkin spice makeup and mocha makeup (not to be confused with cherry -mocha make-up – a success story to a slightly greater extent) .

“It was definitely a gradual build,” Rigler said of the momentum for latte makeup, which saw a co-sign from Hailey Bieber a month after its debut (when Trendalytics data indicates the trend was peaking) and a ushered in the next era of gourmand-inspired beauty aesthetics, including strawberry girl makeup, cherry cola lips, blueberry milk nails, tomato girl makeup and the like.

But before that, it was the all-pink “cold girl” makeup that put a stranglehold on TikTok’s beauty community. There was also Douyin’s Chinese-inspired makeup, which shared similar minimalist components to its predecessors ‘clean girl’ and ‘that girl’. Office siren makeup — which in reality isn’t so much about makeup as it is about donning rectangular glasses à la Giselle Bündchen in “The Devil Wears Prada” — also rose through the ranks.

Now, mafia makeup, characterized by bold lips, full lashes and an all-matte finish, is the latest entrant into the breakneck cycle of TikTok beauty aesthetics.

Rigler puts on the latte makeup look she came up with.Rigler puts on the latte makeup look she came up with.

Rigler puts on the latte makeup look she came up with.

When it comes to what exactly starts a trend, “it doesn’t necessarily have to be Hailey Bieber, but it has to be something — a culturally significant person or thing,” says Kendall Becker, director of trend and editorial strategy at Trendalytics. .

“Sometimes the beginning of a trend isn’t as important as the person who decided it was the beginning,” says art historian and cultural commentator Seema Rao. “It can be the person who is at the right height, has the right amount of ‘power’ to say a trend is good, to be the one to drive it.”

Whatever the catalyst, most of these aesthetics are what Trendalytics classifies as microtrends, or trends that “appear weekly on TikTok and are usually hyper-specific or reactionary to things like celebrity posts,” says Michael Appler, Chief Operating Officer. and creative director at Cancel Communications.

The average life cycle of a microtrend hovers around six months or less, but “the more specific a trend is, the shorter its shelf life will be,” says Lauren Bitar, head of innovation and strategy at Trendalytics.

During the July-August peak, latte makeup generated approximately 35,000 weekly Google searches, which dropped to just over 4,000 weekly searches in January. The Mafia Woman, meanwhile, peaked on January 20 after entering mainstream discourse in early January, indicating a potentially shorter life cycle.

‘Clean girl’, on the other hand, has had a rare longevity. One of the first aesthetics to gain fame on TikTok, the trend includes a radiant, no-makeup beauty look, but also a certain wellness-focused lifestyle; the so-called beautiful girl is one who wakes up early, drinks green juice, exercises regularly, wears a slicked back bun, and embodies countless other stereotypical signifiers of connection.

The ‘that girl’ aesthetic, which also emerged in the summer of 2022, is an almost identical concept, although perhaps slightly less controversial (‘clean girl’ was quickly criticized for its seemingly exclusionary and inaccessible nature).

Unlike most of their peers, the two trends have grown in prominence since their emergence almost two years ago, never completely disappearing and even seeing significant spikes in search results and social buzz around March 2023, and again last December. seen, according to Trendalytics. .

“Something like a ‘clean girl’ is one of those looks that’s easy to pull off, it can be made up with products you already have — it hits a lot of those key factors that make it want to come back again and again, Becker said.

For beauty creator Alissa Holmes (@alissajanay1), who likes to dabble in new trends as they emerge, “clean girl” serves as a kind of base look, while trend-driven videos or tutorials can be a tool for gaining an audience.

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A “sugar plum fairy” look from Holmes.

“Clean girl makeup is more like my everyday makeup, but by posting about trends you can get your content out there more and then people start thinking, ‘oh, it’s her again — now she’s doing this trend — some of those people would “I couldn’t find you if they hadn’t looked for the trend,” says Holmes, who has just over 800,000 followers on TikTok and typically uploads one video per new trend she decides to join. experiment.

For brands, jumping on these trends can be more of a hit and miss.

Not only does speed-to-market need to be intensified, which is difficult in itself, but brands that try to ride a trend and miss the mark pose the ultimate risk: trying too hard.

“The hope is that a brand can capitalize on an organic trend, but I think that is also the point where consumer fatigue and frustration comes from. Then they could say, ‘Okay, I’m not going to respond to that.’ says Spate co-founder Yarden Horwitz.

It may come as no surprise that it is fast-fashion retailers such as Boohoo, Shein and Fashion Nova that most often integrate trend language into their products and marketing. Data from Trendalytics shows that more than 86 products in Boohoo’s range currently reference the ‘that girl’ trend.

“Pumpkin spice make-up” by @ravelyce for Armani Beauty.

Beauty brands, on the other hand, import these trends into their marketing through influencer content. For example, Armani Beauty tapped a group of makers, including Meredith Duxbury, to lead a “pumpkin spice makeup” campaign last fall, while Holmes says she has completed a number of trend-focused assignments for brand partners, particularly around latte makeup. make-up and hot make-up. chocolate makeup.

“It’s all about timing; if you are a brand and you follow a trend, you could be late and that could date you,” says Cecilia Gates, founder of Gates Creative Agency.

Jade Beguelin, co-founder of 4am Skin, added: “There is definitely a careful balance; instead of being a trend follower, as a brand you want to be a trendsetter – and that can sometimes be a slower game.”

Yet brands can benefit from responding to trends that clearly align with their identity.

“Category trends can be easier to incorporate than makeup look trends, which can be a bit more fleeting,” says Gates, who partnered with MAC Cosmetics to facilitate a series of lip combo campaigns in which the brand tapped a number of popular beauty products. creators like Jodie Woods and Alissa Ashley to create their own lipstick, gloss and liner bundles.

“Everyone on TikTok was talking about their lip combos, and MAC has the range to back that up. You have to make sure what you do is true to your brand, otherwise you run the risk of looking like you’re doing everything,” Gates said.

In fact, Gates’ distinction between product trends and these more emerging “look” trends is increasingly important – especially considering how often trendy looks with different relevance share core components.

“A lot of people will look at what’s happening on TikTok and assume they’re looking at a different consumer, or a consumer whose interests change very quickly,” Horwitz said. “Strawberry girl is not that far removed from clean girl, but it does evoke a completely different feeling.”

Much of the appeal of joining TikTok’s trend du jour lies not in any specific novelty about the look itself, but rather in indulging in a new vibe along with a community of people doing the same.

“Beauty is the most accessible change anyone can make for themselves,” says Rao, adding that this low barrier to entry fuels consumers’ appetite for constant innovation while fueling the trend cycle.

However, the speed of these trends is not as decisive for actual product trends as you might think. Bronzing drops, which are at the heart of the latte makeup look, continue to see continued interest long after latte makeup’s peak, with searches increasing 218 percent in the past three months compared to last year.

In addition, the emergence of one trend does not necessarily mean the end of another.

“People say [mob wife] is the death of clean girl – our data doesn’t indicate that,” says Horwitz, adding that searches for “clean girl makeup” continue to increase 29 percent year-over-year.

As a testament to the importance of the right trend name at the right time, Mafia Woman actually shares the ideals of the slow-growing Tumblr girl and indie sleaze trends, Horwitz said — the look just happened to go mega-viral as Mafia Woman (which some have theorized is related with the 25th anniversary of “The Sopranos” this year).

And while the mafia woman is indeed reactionary to the fair maiden and the quiet luxury aesthetic, “these trends exist in the same ecosystem and benefit from each other,” Appler said.

“We don’t know that ‘mafia woman’ will necessarily stick around into the fall, but the hair and makeup aesthetic will certainly continue to see continued growth,” Horwitz added.

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