London, United Kingdom
aoife cullen


"I don’t do make-up with the intention of ‘beautifying’ or ‘perfecting’.”

Blue lipstick topped with purple glitter, yellow blush paired with grey lips, pastel mint green eyebrows – we’re often told that make-up has no rules, but when it comes to colour combinations these aren’t ones you’re likely to read about in Cosmo. That’s not stopping make-up artist Aoife, who has built up a huge social media following thanks to her avant-garde editorial looks, which subvert beauty expectations one Weird Lip Combo at a time.

Alongside Doja Cat and Julia Fox, Aoife is leading the way on the “ugly make-up” trend that has dominated this year, actively shaping a new era of experimentation and beauty rule-breaking. Her looks reject notions of conventional attractiveness and speak to a new attitude about make-up, one far removed from the meticulous, full-coverage approach of last decade’s Instagram Face. A bold, at times transgressive, statement, “ugly make-up” is about choosing self-expression and authenticity over prescriptive ideals and palatability.

“I don’t do make-up with the intention of ‘beautifying’ or ‘perfecting’,” Aoife told Dazed earlier this year. “I get frustrated that [some people] don’t understand that my goal in life may not actually be to be more attractive or fit in. But at the same time it also makes me feel empowered for someone to point out that I don’t look good in their eyes because it’s like, ‘Good, I have a lot more to offer than that.’”

Text Alex Peters