2016 vs. 2023: Make-Up Trends We Miss

I don’t know about you – but I miss 2016 makeup trends. Let me elaborate:

2016, sweet 17 turning 18, was the time for me (like many others) to really get into makeup. In general, looking back: 2016 seemed like a much easier time. Snapchat had its heyday with dog-filter selfies and flower crowns. Instagram wasn’t a place for influencers, but for people like me to share said selfies. And Kylie Jenner’s “King Kylie era” was all the rage. And makeup was anything but natural, whether it was at school or going out to a party. I remember standing in gym class with a glitter cut crease and a full mate base. Products were also more hyped than ever: we would stand outside the Mac store to pick up the Velvet Teddy lipstick and be incredibly happy when we were given a Kylie lip kit or an Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow palette. Bonus points if it was the Soft Glam. 


I miss this era so much! 😭 also take a shot every time i say crease @ABH Cosmetics dip brow pomade @ColourPop Cosmetics eyeshadow palette @urban decay heavy metals glitter liner @maccosmeticsusa soar lipliner @Huda Beauty liquid lip in Bombshell #2016makeup #eyeshadowtutorial #makeuptutorial #fyp

♬ vlog, chill out, calm daily life(1370843) – SUNNY HOOD STUDIO

In the 16s, makeup trends were all about bold, intense smoky eyes, clean-cut wrinkles, heavy contouring, matte foundations and thick, matte liquid lips. Quite different from the looks we see today, which are more natural in comparison, with bushy brows, glossy lips, glowing skin and rosy cheeks. Similarly, the thick layer of concealer applied under the eyes and baked in 2016 has been replaced by concealer only in targeted areas to hide blemishes. Contouring, only recently discovered by the public, was fully embraced in 2016 (remember the phrase “carve out your cheekbones”?). Today, a light dusting of bronzer is favoured, while highlighter is more golden and light, or has largely fallen out of favour altogether, and when it comes to the eyes, the thick, arched IG brows of 2016 have been replaced by more natural, brushed up brows, and the dramatic, precisely cut creases have been ditched in favour of a bit of mascara. Today it’s all about looking as natural as possible with as little product as possible (Keyword: clean girl). That’s great, of course, but in 2016 it was all about challenging your own creativity with make-up. Thanks to YouTube tutorials, we all became make-up artists in our bedrooms.

I’m not saying that today’s trends are inferior to those of 2016 – but still, the casual feeling of nostalgia makes me miss the times when me and my friends would sit together on the floor in our bedrooms, trying to follow a Nikkietutorials makeup look we found on YouTube. I remember almost vividly a conversation with a former friend in which she asked me how I got my eyebrows so boxy in the front. Hers looked too natural for her liking. Of course, I shudder at the thought of having boxy brows on my face, because a thinner and lighter brow suits me better. Or so I think – maybe I will be cringing at my most recent makeup looks in 7 years as well.