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Beauty looks at Notting Hill Carnival 2023
Photography Rae Martins Ashton

See the best beauty looks from Notting Hill Carnival 2023

Photographer Rae Martins Ashton shares her photo diaries from Carnival featuring colourful hair, impressive braid patterns and intricate 90s-inspired make-up

While as busy as ever, this year’s Notting Hill Carnival seemed to stand out as particularly hectic compared to previous years. Skipping family day, I went straight in to explore the beauty looks on the bank holiday Monday. The looks were as incredible and diverse as always – alongside the gems, glitter and feathers seen across the floats, beauty highlights took the form of bright hair, impressive braid patterns and intricate make-up with nods to the 90s.

Possibly the biggest trend spotted among carnival goers was nostalgia – dark-lined lips, thin brows, block colour hair dye, gold jewelled accessories and braiding techniques derived from various African and Caribbean regions were among the common themes.

While walking through the crowds, it felt like stepping into the pages of Ekow Eshun’s 2001 Seen: Black UK Style. It was interesting to observe young Black Brits reimagining this to incorporate today’s beauty standards and techniques.

Notting Hill Carnival has been, and likely will always be, the biggest showcase of Black British culture, fashion and beauty in the UK. Somewhere for us to celebrate our identity, while being able to compare it to our parents, grandparents and others that came before us – a cross-generational celebration of cultures typically lacking authentic representation the additional 363 days of the year.

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