If there was one domineering trend over the last couple of years, it wouldn’t be that collared shirts are cool again, or that wrap-dresses are the garb to be wearing - it would be the fact that just about everything in fashion is veering away from conventionally attractive and into full jolie laide territory. Think high-fashion crocs, denim jackets with 2-metre sleeves, combined with every hellish ‘00s trend weaselling its way back onto the runway resulting in the masses wearing those kitschy designs in full irony of their perceived "ugliness”. This year, however, there’s a new kid on the block. Following in the Balenciaga Croc-donned footsteps of the fashion industry is the #uglymakeuprevolution, but on a very different mission.
In contrast to the breath-taking winged liner that could cut, whispy lashes long enough to fly away with, and glowing halo eyes that grace the faces of just about everyone who knows how to hold a makeup brush, the #uglymakeuprevolution prioritises creating art in all its unconventional glory, and making meaningful social statements at the cost of your “on-fleek” aesthetic (which is admittedly a small price to pay).
Berlin-based makeup artist Eszter Magyar, and the great mind behind the tag says, “to me, makeup isn’t making yourself more beautiful. I don’t try to hide myself behind a mask of makeup. Makeup has been a coping mechanism for me for a long time. I express myself with it. I take all my awful thoughts and feelings and make them into art. Those feelings disappear as you put them into creating a meaningful masterpiece.”
Though created initially as a lighthearted joke, #uglymakeuprevolution started to gain traction and a meaningful following. It gained approval across the platform with users tagging their artful pieces and embracing their newfound community that accepted all forms of expression, especially irregularity.
Profundity over pretty, and a perception that beautiful is boring are both concepts the beauty industry has become fascinated with over the years. Case in point: Alexander McQueen “ugly chic” aesthetic reigning supreme since the late ‘90s - who could forget the iconic AW09 gargantuan glossy pout? And John Galliano, the master of transportive beauty statements who conjured up the jet-black pencil brows and burgundy bruised cheeks on his SS11 runway.
There are plenty of reasons why ugly makeup is back en vogue. Looking at history, it often resurfaced as a counter-response to the sophisticated and glamorous, like the grungy ‘90s replacing the glammed up ‘80s. It could also be attributed as a reaction or a social statement, like the ‘Insta-ception’ makeup trend laughing in the face of Instagram perfection. With this in mind, the new #uglymakeuprevolution couldn’t possibly have come at a better time.
Now, in a time of growing social uncertainty and unrest, the hero hashtag is allowing us to better express ourselves without holding us to unrealistic beauty standards. It champions creativity. It is a community embracing the imperfections in being unapologetically human. And no matter how we perceive it, it is here to stay.
Photos: Instagram and Supplied