The 10 Biggest Makeup Trends of 2023, According to Makeup Artists
Say “’80s makeup” and my mind goes straight to neon everything. The 90s? Lined lips—easy. Early 2000s? Frosted shadow and Juicy Tubes-the end. Makeup trends have and will always have a major impact on their respective eras, and 2023 is no exception. “This year it’s all about the ism; minimalism and maximalism. There’s nothing in between,” says makeup artist and executive director of creative beauty at Too Faced Elyse Reneau (opens in new tab). “You’re either simplifying and going for the effortlessly beautiful aesthetic or leaning into bright colors, metal-shifting pigments and glitter in unexpected ways for an instant dopamine hit.”
The extremes take shape in a wide range of appearances. On the one hand, there’s the underpainting foundation technique, which was created by Mary Phillips and made possible by the introduction of dozens of lightweight, sheer coverage formulas. “We’re finally embracing skin and products that enhance our skin and leave a skin-like finish, versus having a more full coverage finish,” says celebrity makeup artist and CCO of CTZN Cosmetics Sir John. “The atmosphere is definitely much more natural, dewy and fresh.”
At the other end of the spectrum come intense lips and eyes—and the bolder the better. There’s a hint of grunge going on, lip liner is all over the line, and glitter has a place on stage. “We’re definitely seeing makeup trends circling back from the ’90s and early 2000s,” says makeup artist Tobi Henney. “There are lots of brown lips, white eyeliner has made a comeback, pastel blues are big, and kitty cat eyes are back.”
For a more in-depth breakdown of the makeup trends of 2023, along with some tips on the benefits, scroll ahead and prepare to take a screenshot.
Fat, faint blush
“People wanted more and more blush and I’m here for it,” says Sara Smith (opens in new tab), Bobbi Brown Cosmetics National Makeup Director. “It’s the perfect way to build natural warmth on the skin.” Textures will continue to be uber-creamy and blendable (the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge (opens in new tab) is a favorite), with the new addition of blurring formulas that blur pores. As Reneau puts it, “Filters may be out, but looking like your skin is filtered will be in—in a very big way.” To get the look, she recommends Too Faced’s Cloud Crush Blush (opens in new tab), “which has blurring technology that softens pores and texture.”
How to apply blush this year? Stay away from applying product to the center of the face and go for a more sculpted look. “The placement of the blush will move away from high on the cheekbone and do more of a sculpting on the apples of the cheeks, wrap it under the cheekbone,” says Half Magic founder and lead Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy (make in new tab open).
Soft focus skin
Everyone from Makeup by Mario to Kosas and Jason Wu Beauty (opens in new tab) have come out with light-coverage, barely-there formulas in recent weeks—and they’re right on point. “Pretty girl makeup was popular last year, but barely-there makeup is going to be popular this year,” predicts Jason Wu, fashion designer and founder of Jason Wu Beauty. “People aren’t as interested in those full-coverage foundations and trade them for skin tones or none at all.” This adoption of lighters, serums and tints goes hand in hand with embracing imperfections. Davy says: “We’re going to see more real skin. There’s less acne scarring and more of an unapologetic attitude about breakouts — especially when breakouts coexist with cool makeup.”
Pop on the Pout
‘Tis the era of bold lips. “Darker lips are back and can stand alone. Pair this trend with clean fresh skin and a groomed brow,” says Smith. In addition to rich red, brown, berry and purple lipstick shades, it is important to call out that lip liner is also going to have a big moment. On the one hand, there’s going to be a resurgence of using a lip liner that’s a shade or two deeper than your actual lipstick. On the other hand, lip liner is totally going to be used in place of lipstick. Wu recommends using his Stay In Line Lip Liner (opens in new tab) over the entire base. It can be worn alone, or, if you decide to layer lipstick on top, your color will last longer.
Bleached brows have continued to dominate runways, Julia Fox continues to rock the look, and according to Davy, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. “The bleached brows are having a moment and I think it’s given people the confidence to experiment more with their brows. I think we’ll see a lot more thinly plucked brows and people experimenting with the shape of their brows. Maybe even people who swing in the opposite direction and go for dark and thin eyebrows.”
Just don’t pluck away unless you’re *really* sure you want to get on board the thin-brow train—there’s no going back. “I think it’s important to ask yourself: Do I want thin eyebrows forever? Because that’s what you decide when you start tweezing your eyebrows,” warns Reneau. “Instead, I lean toward the raised and curved trend—let’s call it glam. It’s lifted (but not straight!), and defined and natural-looking.”
“Whether it’s chrome, metallic or a sheer wash of shine, sparkle will be back in a big way this year,” confirms Smith. “What I love about this trend is that you can wear it in so many different ways.” Do a soft wash of glitter over your lid (we’ve rounded up the best glitter eyeshadows!) or up the ante with a straight metallic liquid (I love the Half Magic Glitter Pill (opens in new tab) for this). Essentially, to have fun and party.
The Cat Eye Resurgence
“The eyes are your canvas for self-expression this year and you don’t have to be an artist to get creative,” says Reneau. “Using a liquid liner, like Better Than Sex (opens in new tab) that has a super sharp tip, you can easily create double-winged liner, faux lower lashes and cat-like inner corners that draw attention right to the windows of your soul will move.” Bottom Line: Eyeliner is beginner-friendly again. Impossibly graphic eyeliner takes a back seat in favor of kitty flicks and classic cat wings. (Pro tip: “When you apply your eyeliner, draw it up and out,” says Smith.)
Chalk it up to Wednesday core or call it a makeup evolution, but grunge glam is where it’s at this year. To some it may look like a deep lip. “Rather, everyday makeup, like a more elevated version of Wednesday Addams makeup, is big,” says Davy, noting that plum stains, burgundy lip creams and dark brown glosses are going to have a moment. “It’s a more fierce everyday look that’s less about being soft and pretty and more about embracing your edgier side.”
If you want to translate the trend to your eye makeup, take a page from celebrity makeup artist Dani Parkes’ playbook. “Put on black eyeliner and then wash your face—it’s perfect for going out if you don’t want to wear a lot of makeup,” she says. “It will intensify the color of your eye and make your eyelashes look better. It gives you that ’90s glamor look.”
We’re only a few weeks into 2023 and underpainting, a term coined by makeup artist Mary Phillips, has already gone viral. “Start by applying your concealer and contour before foundation to achieve this look easily,” explains Parkes. “It defines your natural features and brings out your natural, glowing skin. The less makeup, the better.” While the excitement surrounding the technique may be new, it has been around in makeup circles for years. The technique is commonly used on stars such as Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Lopez.
This goes hand in hand with the beauty community’s preference for lightweight foundation. If you don’t have any freckles to shine through, why not draw them on a la Alix Earle? “It makes your nose look smaller and your makeup look more natural,” says Parkes. “The best product to use for this is Freck (opens in new tab). It’s a fake freckle serum that looks real when applied.” Just stick on a few dots and spread the product with your finger.
In the same way that dopamine dressing dominated 2022, we’re going to see dopamine makeup take center stage in 2023. “People crave color in their beauty layers,” says Sir John. “When I’m working on a client and looking to make them feel confident and raise their vibrations, I use color.” This can take the form of denim liner, a deep red lip (Sir John loves CTZN Cosmetics’ Code Red collection (opens in new tab)) or funky eyeshadow.