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Then vs Now: Looking Back at 5 Years of Makeup Trends

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Five years seem like a short period of time for drastic changes. Thank to the Tik Tok challenge “2016 vs 2021 make up,” we are able to see drastic differences in our beauty trends.

Makeup in 2016: Glitz and Glam

In 2016, I was just a 10th grader getting into makeup, and most of my ideas came from the explore pages from Instagram. During 2016, the best way to describe the makeup era was using products to achieve this idealistic look. There weren’t as many expressive ways to do your makeup, with an exception if you were a creative, but for the most part, people stuck to glamorous aesthetics.

Some examples of the 2016 makeup era include:

  • Full coverage foundation

  • Very matte

  • Cut crease

  • Insta-brows Brows

  • Baking

When you look back at the beauty era in 2016, you can remember that all of the trends came from two sources, Instagram and Youtube. The makeup looks that were popular were essentially the same things in different colors. Many people followed the baking technique: wearing matte lipstick, doing their eyebrows to match the Instagram models aesthetic, and the most creative people got with these looks was the cut crease style.

Products perfect for this look and why:

  • Ohemaas Eyeshadow Palette: Most eye looks were created with eyeshadow

  • Loose Setting Powder: Setting powder and using lots of it is essential to the technique

  • OG Lash Bundle: These lashes are black and most falsies at the time use natural lashes or lashes that are more glamorous.

Makeup in 2021: Expressive and Creative

Makeup by simplylayxx and ninamariemakeup
Find more of Nina's Graphic liner looks on her Instagram, @ninamariemakeup

There is no time like the present! During this year, we've made a lot of drastic changes. Makeup has been less about an idealistic look trying to fit a standard, but instead a community that makes you feel comfortable expressing yourself.

Some examples of the 2021 makeup era include:

  • Graphic Liner

  • Monotone makeup

  • Dewy Skin

  • Natural coverage

  • Lip glosses

When you look at the 2021 makeup trends, many of them originate from Tik Tok or Pinterest. Both of the social media platforms inspire creative people to move out of their comfort zone and try new styles based on different aspects, like the aesthetic the person strives to have. People use a lot of lip glosses now, use more eyeliner and a natural shimmer eyeshadow on their eyelids, don’t use a lot of face makeup, and only lightly put on powder.

Products perfect for this look:

-Monarch Highlighting Palette: Highlighter plays a huge role in the dewy skin look.

For ways to implement highlighter into your routine, be sure to check out our post on how to implement highlighter in your routine this summer.

-Bright Water Activated Liners Set: Graphic liners to the beauty community was what eyeshadow was in 2016.

-Colorful Lash Collection Gift Set: This is a perfect way to spice up your monochromatic makeup looks when you don’t feel like applying graphic liner.

For more details, check out this blog post about the top beauty trends in 2021: 5 Hottest Makeup Trends of 2021

How did This Beauty Evolution Happen?

A Switch in Media Popularity

Instagram for the longest period of time was known for its idealistic image. While Tik Tok does have issues like people stealing from creators and demonstrates the advantages of pretty privilege, the content itself is never about perfection. The quickness and quirkiness in the content of Tik Tok allow for more creatives to really be expressive about their makeup looks, as opposed to Instagram or even Youtube, which were more about sticking to popularity.

Staying Home and Outdoor Restrictions

Due to the lack of events and staying home for the majority of 2020 and 2021, using makeup for an image appeal decreased drastically. The use of makeup in these years has been more about having something that makes you feel motivated and an outlet for you to express yourself.

The Rise of Self-care and Accepting Differences

Self-care includes understanding what goes in and on our bodies, paying attention to ingredients, and overall making sure what you use is best for you. There has been a rise in the use of things like skincare products because many people wanted to invest in themselves and their development. Also, people are recognizing not every look suits everyone and are researching what’s best for their features. Think about how many people started eyeliner trends based on their eye shapes such as puppy eyeliner, cat liner, fox eyeliner, etc.

My Prediction for the Future of Makeup

Photo/Makeup by @Mua.Desirea on Instagram. Desiree is wearing Baaba Lashes

I personally prefer 2021 makeup because I adore creative makeup looks. However, I predict once we start going out a lot more, 2016 makeup will be back. I will say it all depends on you, there is no right way to wear our make-up, and I truly believe that these past 5 years are an example of it. The beauty trends we have at this point in time are bound to change once again.

Which makeup era do you prefer, 2016 or 2021? If you recreate a 2016 or 2021 makeup look, be sure to tag or @simplylayxx on Instagram!

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