year in review

The 8 Most-Hyped Makeup Trends of 2023

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Retailers

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Can someone please check on the beauty TikTokers? After a year in which makeup microtrends appeared on the scene faster than your new favorite Formula 1 crush, we’re all left wondering if these creators are simply hungry (see strawberry-girl makeup), undercaffeinated (see latte-girl makeup), or just wishing they were back in the Y2K era with their quasi-glam-grunge eyeliner.

Whatever the emotional state of beauty’s biggest trendsetters, there was no shortage of looks to try in 2023, or at least to watch slack-jawed as yet another 20-something gets freckles tattooed on her face. Don’t worry — not all of the year’s most-hyped makeup trends were this extreme.

1. The year “cloud skin” came on the scene

Matte makeup made a comeback this year with the “cloud skin” look. To DIY, swap your cream blush and glossy lips for a mattifying blurring powder and a seriously glam matte lipstick, and don’t forget to prep the skin with a primer to eliminate excess shine. Embrace the soft focus and blurred effect, and leave the glazed-doughnut skin for another day.

Before applying your base makeup, lock in essential moisture with this emollient-rich formula. Then your skin will look smooth and supple.

Grab your fluffiest brush and add a wash of tinted blurring powder to absorb excess oils, even out discoloration, and minimize texture.

Matte lipstick doesn’t have to leave your lips drier than the Sahara. Swipe on this richly pigmented formula and marvel at how hydrated your lips feel hours later.

2. The year of faux freckles

It may be the Meghan Markle effect, but freckles have never had more of a moment. If your genetics didn’t bless you with freckles — and you know better than to spend time outside without sunscreen protection — there are still plenty of ways to achieve a faux-freckle look. Either turn to a long-lasting liquid pigment, a.k.a. a freckle pen, or book an appointment with a tattoo artist for a much more permanent effect.

Touted as the first-ever freckle pen, this long-wear liquid tint provides a natural-looking freckle effect and is easy to apply via the ultrafine brush.

This budget-friendly pen is available in light, medium, and dark shades as well as a magenta option for anyone craving a colorful twist.

With a subtle, stainlike finish, this formula utilizes caramel and maple tree sap to tint your skin with natural-looking freckles.

3. The year our lips tasted like cherry cola

The dark-lip-liner craze of the ’90s has found new life with this glossy, cherry-cola-colored rendition. All you need to achieve the look is a brown or deep-nude liner to outline your lips, shading slightly at the corners for added dimension. Add a high-shine cranberry or deep-red gloss to the center and voilà — delicious cherry-cola lips.

With a sinfully creamy formula that glides over the skin, Dame Pat McGrath’s signature liner makes contouring your lips nearly effortless.

For a blendable, mid-tone brown that refuses to feather, this velvety lip pencil from makeup artist Fara Homidi is a must.

To finish out your cherry-cola lips with some glasslike shine, reach for this moisturizing shea-butter-and-grape-seed-oil formula in a rich berry shade.

4. The year “strawberry makeup” took over TikTok

Do you have no clue what that means? You aren’t alone. Hailey Bieber popularized the “strawberry makeup” look: a mixture of dark- and light-pink blush — ideally a cream formula — applied across the cheeks and nose where the sun would naturally hit the skin; a smattering of faux freckles; a peachy highlighter; and a sheer, glossy lip.

The go-to cream blush of fashion “It” girls, this lush pink shade is perfect for replicating that juicy look.

Add a few dots of this liquid highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones and above the Cupid’s bow for an ultradewy effect.

Already a TikTok favorite, this cult-favorite oil helps bring out your natural lip color and provides a high shine.

5. The year we leaned into food-themed makeup

Along with strawberry makeup, beauty influencers pushed another food-themed look: latte makeup (which is just a bronze look in shades of brown and nude). The key to achieving this look is keeping all the colors blended and soft — no harsh contour necessary. It’s a foolproof and undeniably pretty trend that works for any skin tone, budget, or occasion.

This creamy contour kit remains a cult favorite for a reason: It leaves your skin looking luminous and sculpted with little effort on your part.

If you love applying makeup with your fingers, make sure this shimmery cream bronzer is on hand for your winter latte look. Swipe it across the eyelids for a healthy golden glow.

Finish off your latte makeup with a hint of nourishing lip gloss in a sheer brown shade.

6. The year of clumpy spider lashes

Combing through your lashes to keep any rogue clumps at bay became a relic of the past. Instead, try applying a volumizing mascara as haphazardly as possible, embracing every glorious, messy chunk. Don’t worry about being too precious with your application. In fact, forget the mirror altogether and apply three to five coats of mascara during your daily commute — the more turbulence, the better. Just think extra thick, extra drama, and extra bottles of makeup remover when you finally need to wipe it all off.

A drugstore staple that will leave your lashes insanely thick and spidery. Just remember to curl the lashes prior to adding mascara for extra volume.

Open any makeup artist’s kit and you’ll find a tube of this volumizing mascara. Add at least three coats to achieve the spiderlike effect.

Makeup artist Jo Baker debuted a mascara that editors have called “lash extensions in a bottle.” The lightweight formula offers volume and lift for a gravity-defying lash look.

7. The year of barely-there makeup

With almost 300 million TikTok views, #softglam’s blend of natural-looking makeup and full-on drama continues to shine. Products that can deliver soft and subtle coverage, a barely perceptible tint, and a your-lashes-but-better lift are a must for this look. You’ll need skin tints and richly pigmented lip balms, as opposed to full-coverage foundation and lipstick. Prep with hydrating skin-care products to boost skin radiance, and follow with plenty of neutral eye shadows to sculpt the eyes. Basically, if it looks as if your skin is being bathed in candlelight, you’re on the right track.

For a second-skin finish that also plumps and smooths the complexion, this lightweight skin tint provides the perfect luminous base.

Like the name suggests, this eye-shadow palette has every essential neutral shade to define the eyes and add a hint of drama.

Finally, a lipstick that offers a comfortable balmlike feel with serious color payoff. Swipe on this rosy shade to complete your soft-glam look.

8. The year of grunge makeup

Grab those smudging tools, or simply smear a heavy coat of eyeliner with your fingers, so long as it looks as though you’ve been up all night taking tequila shots. Top it off with a few coats of jet-black mascara and you’ll be ready to crowd-surf in no time.

Leave it to Posh to create the silkiest, most blendable eyeliner pencils right now. The pigment glides on for easy application and creates a rock-star-level smoky eye.

Sculpt the lids with this easy-to-use shadow stick, blending out with your fingers to soften the edges and leave you looking perfectly imperfect.

For full and fanned-out lashes with plenty of volume, add two coats of this long-wear mascara.

The 8 Most-Hyped Makeup Trends of 2023