From wispy moustaches to visible acne, Love Island to lipgloss, as another year inexplicably slips by, we look back at the biggest beauty moments of the past 12 months.
Pencil it in: Rihanna’s Vogue eyebrows
The first September issue of Edward Enninful’s reign at British Vogue saw cover star Rihanna rocking glossy, dark berry lips, a crown of flowers and, in what would be the major talking point, pencil-thin drawn-on brows – quite a shocking sight after the full-brow renaissance of the last few years.
Ushered in by Cara Delevigne, we’ve seen a number of evolutions in this bushy-brow trend, from the “Instagram brow,” a drag-inspired and hyper-sculpted brow, to the fluffy, brushed-up eyebrows popular more recently. In stark contrast, these super thin, drawn-on eyebrows – conceived by our very own creative director Isamaya Ffrench – called back to the noughties and the glory days of John Galliano when, as Dazed Fashion writer Emma Davidson reminisces, “avant-garde was the word du jour, and the catwalks were awash with drama.” And while the trend has not caught on either in the fashion world or on the streets since the cover debuted in July, it was nice to get lost in the drama for a moment.
We need to talk about Ezra
From the pages of magazines to the red carpets of film premieres, this year Ezra Miller has been serving beauty looks left, right and centre. A black lip to match the, frankly bonkers, black padded gown courtesy of Piccioli for Moncler at the Paris premiere for Fantastic Beasts. Silver paint under his eyes for what many people thought was a homage to Hedwig (or the result of prolonged exposure to Tilda Swinton at a formative age) in London. A bright red lip accompanied by a hairy chest at the Burberry x Vivienne Westwood party. Various vampy lips on shoots in GQ Style and Playboy.
While Miller has worn make-up in the past – a 2012 Paper Magazine cover saw the actor rocking a red lip – this Fantastic Beasts promo cycle has really seen the openly queer Miller experiment and embrace his self-described “very strange and fluid expressions” of gender. We can’t wait to see what 2019 holds.
“Unreal”: Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson
This summer four million of us watched islanders including Dani Dyer, Georgia Steel and Eyal Booker crack on, mug each other off and be initiated into the “do bits society”. Trapped in a Mallorcan villa for our viewing pleasure, the islanders paraded their bodies around in a form of mating ritual usually only seen on programmes narrated by David Attenborough.
With her sculpted cheekbones, petite nose, full lips and massive tits, Megan Barton-Hanson was all of western society’s beauty standards and expectations wrapped up in one blonde, five-foot-five Essex package. The men of social media were in awe, lauding the blonde’s body as “unreal”, something many were quick to point out was literally the case, as comparison pictures of the old and new face of Megan soon flooded our feeds.
Our collective obsession with these “before” pictures and the speed with which they came to light epitomised our perverse fascination and insatiable appetite for uncovering and exposing the surgical enhancements of those in the public eye – and our entitled demand to know the truth. With the growing popularity of Instagram accounts such as @celebface which thrive on the schadenfreude of uncovering celebrity modifications, whether digital or surgical, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Trash Bandicoot: sleaze is in
As our friends over at Dazed Fashion christened it, this summer was the summer of sleaze. “It’s half-Miami drug lord, half-psychedelic skate bro,” they explain. It’s the love child of James Franco’s Riff-Raff inspired Alien in Spring Breakers and the mullet-sporting Billy from Stranger Things. It’s Bieber’s open Hawaiian shirt and Jonah Hill’s basketball jersey tucked into dress pants.
The two were key players in ushering in the style trend which, in terms of beauty, manifested itself as dodgy hair and dodgier moustaches. Think the wispy efforts of Timothée Chalamet and Brooklyn Beckham – the facial hair equivalent of a semi, they just aren’t quite there yet. Think the bleached blonde hair of Pete Davidson and Ansel Elgort, the straggly ends of Post Malone, long-time pioneer of the trend who, despite getting a haircut earlier this year, still retains that sleazy je ne se quoi. Think Jonah Hill’s pink hair, that he styled with a fuck tonne of tie dye.
We optimistically await the next trend.
The comeback kid: Ariana cements the return of lipgloss
Between break-ups, engagements, Big Dick Energy, the release of Sweetener and the various viral music videos it spawned, and the sad news about Mac Miller, Ariana was rarely out of the headlines this year, momentum that she harnessed for her most hyped single yet – the breezy break-up song “thank you, next”. The music video for the single, featuring an inspired cameo from Kris “I’m not a regular mom” Jenner, broke records with 55.4 million views in its first 24 hours of release and rivalled Gambino’s "This Is America" and Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Louvre-set "Apeshit" for most talked about video of the year. And with its teen rom-com nostalgia, “thank you, next” perfectly captured the hyperglossy, lacquered lips of the noughties that have slowly but surely made their way back into our lives.
Long out of favour with the sophisticates of the beauty world (think the make-up equivalent of Carrie Bradshaw’s impassioned feelings on the humble scrunchie), the Juicy Tube has risen again, with brands including Glossier, Charlotte Tilbury and Fenty coming out with their own grown-up version of the lipgloss.
We see blue eyeshadow and glitter mascara on the beauty horizon.
Pimple minded: Eighth Grade allows space for teen acne
Recently named by Dazed as one of the best films of the year, Eighth Grade follows socially-awkward 13-year-old Kayla (played by Elsie Fisher who earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role) as she navigates her last week of middle school. In the movie Kayla, like last year’s Lady Bird McPherson, is seen with the hormonal breakouts typical of a teenager. Not so typical is that we’re seeing these pimples onscreen.
With high school characters on television and films more often than not portrayed by actors long out of their teen years, we rarely get to see the true awkward reality of adolescence – the braces, the features our faces haven’t quite grown into yet, and, of course, the acne. So it makes a refreshing, and welcome, change to see Kayla with bad skin, her age-appropriate acne lit up by her phone screen as she scrolls through the endless stream of photoshop-perfected bodies on Instagram.
Also continuing to champion acne representation this year was model Louisa Northcote who, after suffering from depression and insecurity so severe it left her unable to leave the house due to her acne, created #freethepimple, a movement aiming to de-stigmatise acne and empower others to embrace the skin they’re in. Celebrities including Justin Bieber and Lili Reinhart have also been speaking up about suffering from bad skin (Bieber declared "pimples are in" to his 103 million Instagram followers in March), and with upcoming brands such as Julie Schott’s Starface bringing some much needed fun and glamour to acne treatments, we hope this normalisation of spotty skin is here to stay.
Here today, gone tomorrow: Kylie Jenner removes her lip fillers
Love her or hate her, Kylie Jenner’s impact on the beauty industry and the soaring rise in popularity of lip fillers is undeniable. When Kylie first admitted to having lip fillers in 2015, after months of speculation from the media, there was a 70% rise in enquiries for lip filler within 24 hours, and Kylie went on to make a career out of it, turning this intense public fascination with her lips into a near billion dollar cosmetics company.
Kylie’s announcement, therefore, that she had taken out her signature fillers and returned to a more natural lip in July unsurprisingly made headlines. Was this the end of our love affair with fillers? Were the Kardashians turning their backs on surgical enhancements to embrace a more natural look?
Despite many people on social media celebrating Kylie’s decision and praising her “natural beauty”, it didn’t last long and by October the fuller lips were back, with Kylie thanking an LA dermatology clinic for “coming through late last night with a lip touch up!” And the world continued to spin.
There's something about Jazzelle
Uniquely beautiful and never afraid to experiment, with her shaved head and eyebrows Jazzelle is the perfect canvas for expressions of wild creativity and has an ability to make any look instantly memorable. From a face plastered with plasters (courtesty of Val Garland, no less) to an eye patch worn with a black lip at the Dazed Beauty x Margiela party, a cherub face tattoo, sculptural manicures by Juan Alvear, Nike tick eyebrows, and a floral painted head, model and Dazed Beauty Community member Jazzelle has been our beauty hero this year.