Why is 2024 makeup so lazy?

Why is 2024 makeup so lazy?

by Robyn Pullen
4 min

When did makeup get so… lazy? Five years ago, wearing makeup was a ritual that took hours of the day to perfect. Twenty minute long, YouTube-based makeup tutorials gave precise instructions on the eighteen-product routines needed to achieve viral looks, and we followed them religiously, never missing a step. So, when did makeup become a “roll out of bed, smudge on some eyeshadow” routine?

In 2024, despite maximalist makeup making a return, we’re hard pushed to do more to our faces than smear coloured glitter on our eyelids… or at least that’s how it seems. Gone are the days of precision brushes and cut creasing; TikTok makeup artists like Frankie Darling and Lara Violetta channel looks so simple you can do them with your fingers.

@laravioletta ©

Although, that’s not to say the 2024 style of makeup is easy though. It takes an expert understanding of blending colours, textures, and the right amount of glitter, just to pull off a makeup look that looks like you woke up in it. But why are we curating the image that we’re not trying?

It could have something to do with indie sleaze (the term coined by Mandy Lee) dominating our feeds, a trend that promotes casual carelessness when it comes to your appearance. The rise of the Y2K smudged liner and messy bed hair coinciding with a mid-2010s Tumblr revival and our synced Saltburn obsession has resulted in some pretty grungy looks filling our feeds.

@carorolee ©

The whole point of the naughties’ “Kate Moss party girl” aesthetic is that you’re too distracted by having fun (and allegedly sniffing substances) to spend time doing your makeup. Is this what we’re seeing make a resurgence in 2024? Or is it deeper than just another Y2K revival? We already know that eras of instability (economic, political, social, etc.) affect the way we behave, so could the turmoil of the world right now have something to do with it?

You’re probably familiar with the economic theory that uses hemlines to track how well the economy is doing, with longer skirts indicating financial hardship and shorter skirts aligning with economic booms. But could grungy, lazy, and careless makeup be more than a trend too?

It’s arguable that in periods of economic optimism (although I use the word “optimism” lightly), we spend more care in our makeup routines, spend more money on expensive products, and dedicate more time and energy to putting it on.

@lynskiii ©

If that’s the case, then when the economy is bad we’ll put less energy into our makeup routines, sacrificing precious for smudged eyeliner. It’s kind of like using glitter as a band aid. The main thing that backs up this argument is that the last time the UK, in particular, suffered a moment of economic downfall was in the late 2000s, right when the indie sleaze style took off. Coincidence? Maybe not.

If you’re one of the people returning to the Kate Moss style of rubbing last night’s makeup around your eyes and calling it a day, take some time today to think about whether it’s because of the cost of living crisis or just a personal preference.

Featured Image via @anatakahashiii ©

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