Not to speak in cliches, but everything is cyclical — especially beauty. Trends are always changing and going in and out of style. Even in just five years, something as simple as an everyday beauty look has taken on a completely different life. If you don't believe me, believe the new TikTok trend of 2016 makeup to 2021 makeup. I hadn't realized so much has changed since my first year of college, but wow. Just wow.
Let me take you back in time five years. Beyoncé's Lemonade just dropped; so did the first season of the The Crown. You couldn't leave your house without seeing hundreds of Stan Smiths dotting the sidewalks. Lips were matte, people baked their face, and eyebrows were sculpted to perfection. It was a different time. Now, the world is in a global pandemic, Euphoria came out two years ago, most of the past five years have felt like a dumpster fire, and, for the one silver lining, there's TikTok.
TikTok makeup artists, in what feels like a celebration of nostalgia and enjoyment of how (some) things have changed, are now dividing their faces into two to show how beauty techniques and styles have changed over the past several years. Some differences are obvious, like cut creases versus press-on gems, or soap brows over ultra-sculpted brows. But there are so many other makeup techniques I didn't even noticed had changed up, let alone the difference they made to my face.
Abby Roberts, an established TikTok makeup artist, broke down all the differences in her video. Back in the day, full-coverage, matte foundation was the go-to. Once you had everything covered, it was time to bake and pile on that bronzer, and contour your face like you were Michelangelo carving David. Impeccably cut creases and lashes to the max came next. Then, you could finish off your look with matte lipstick, grab your fidget spinner, and be on your way.
Now, things are sheerer and glossier than ever. Roberts kept her foundation light and extra dewy with only sheer coverage. Instead of caking on a huge inverted triangle of concealer, her 2021 look used the lifting technique (just a bit of concealer on your inner and outer corners) and maybe a little bit for spot treatment. Fluffy, soap box brows are now a must. Also, instead of opting for a full, fluffy falsie, Roberts went with the now-favored, more open half-lash. She kept her eyeshadow minimal, with neutral shades and a soft, upward wing. Instead of bronzer, the generous amount of egirl blush made an appearance over a cool, soft contour. Lastly, Roberts overlined her lips and added lip gloss for that must-have shiny finish.
Of course, many TikTokers had their own takes. I loved that user naomijon included Euphoria-inspired eyelid gems and vibrant eyeshadow, as well as the egirl massive eyeliner wings. Not everything is wildly different, however. Glazed-donut levels of highlighter had just started becoming a thing in 2016, and that trend is still here to stay, it seems. While I don't miss all the makeup practices from five years ago, I do love the rose-tinted look back on how things were. You can check out some of the most fun 2016 vs. 2021 makeup TikToks below.