year in review

The Year Food-Inspired Beauty Trends Reigned Supreme

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

From Hollywood’s obsession with biopics, movie remakes, and reboots to the rise of wildly overpriced basics (a.k.a. “quiet luxury“) and a lack of innovation in the fashion industry, it seems originality is dead. And in the year 2023, no cultural sector made this more obvious than the beauty industry. The world of beauty was hungry for ideas and quite literally turned to food to fill the void.

It all started when Hailey Bieber revealed her skin-care secrets in a YouTube video two years ago: “My standard when I go to bed at night is that if I’m not getting into bed looking like a glazed donut, then I’m not doing the right thing,” she said. “Find yourself a moisturizer that helps you look like a glazed donut at the end of the day.” And boom! The glazed-donut skin trend was born and took over everyone’s Instagram and TikTok feeds. (For the record, even though Bieber popularized the look, she didn’t actually invent it.) At the time, it was cute, coveted, and appropriately named. We all want supermodel skin, and if that means slathering on facial oils and petroleum jelly, then so be it.

But of course, the internet did what the internet always does and took the trend way too far. In 2023 alone, beauty looks inspired by tomatoes, lattes, strawberries, and hot chocolate all went wildly viral. For those not fluent in TikTok speak, allow me to translate: Tomato-girl makeup involves applying bronzer and a red-toned blush to the high points of your face (including across the bridge of your nose) to create a sun-kissed look that emulates a freshly picked tomato; latte makeup is a monochromatic look that features mostly brown and nude shades; strawberry makeup is characterized by using red and pink hues for the look of a flushed complexion; and hot chocolate manicures refer to any look using chocolate brown polishes. You get the point — it’s safe to say 2023 was the year of food-themed aesthetics. In fact, they are now so engraved in the trend cycle that regular blue nail polish is being rebranded as “blueberry milk.” I’m sorry, but why? Renaming something that already exists (to then mimic a food) is not a trend.

Have we, as humans, simply hit a creative block? Is AI making us think less hard? Could it be the content overload? It’s tough to say. But the beauty industry is in need of some serious creativity because food-themed looks are not feeding me (pun intended). I, for one, do not want to rely on my pantry for makeup inspiration. So here’s hoping that, in 2024, beauty trends will be more original and less … appetizing.

The Year Food-Inspired Beauty Trends Reigned Supreme