Watching beauty trends change throughout history, two things become very clear—beauty is subjective, and what is seen as beautiful is always changing. For some time, having a unibrow was considered be an attractive quality. In Ancient Greece, this facial feature was believed to signify intelligence, according to The New York Times. With the passage of time, this preference swung to the opposite side of the spectrum. During medieval times, women removed their eyelashes and sometimes their brows as well. This was done to accentuate their foreheads, which was then largely regarded as the most beautiful part of the face, according to Marie Claire. [pullquote align=”center”]If something is unusual, it will always garner more attention.[/pullquote] On the dangerous side, plenty of women and men have done some incredibly extreme things in the name of beauty, or at least, what was seen as attractive at the time. A 1936 newspaper ad shows an eerie picture of invention created by Isabella Gilbert: a machine that allegedly creates dimples on the face (spoiler alert, it did not create dimples). And in the 18th century, lead poisoning was rampant because of the popular practice among men and women to lighten their faces with lead-based makeup. Strange, right? Interestingly enough, though, many of the beauty trends of today are just as unique. Yet now, social media provides the perfect medium for quickly sharing and spreading new trends. “I can tell you that anything that provokes a strong reaction causes a chain reaction,” explains Aimee Davison, an Instagram user who has gained over 13,000 followers by trying out unusual beauty trends. “If something is unusual, it will always garner more attention. Also, if any trend is relatively easy to attempt with products one already has, it’s more likely to catch on.” It’s a unique time for the beauty industry. In a digital age, makeup trends can catch fire within hours. Here are some of the strangest beauty trends that have gone viral in the new age.
You put glitter where?
Although shaving your armpits has long been the status quo in the United States, this is a trend that is changing among the millennial generation. Since 2013, the number of women who keep their armpits bare has been declining. In 2016, nearly 25 percent of women surveyed by Mintel reported to have quit shaving their pits completely, according to The New York Times.
Lately, millennials are taking things one step further, beautifying their armpit hair with glitter to make a point—it’s 2018, and women are free to do what they want with their bodies, including their armpit hair. Still, this trend might not catch on beyond posed Instagram photos, namely because it isn’t all that comfortable. “The combination of long, damp armpit hair and abrasive body glitter is totally not comfortable, and it leaves a giant, sweaty, flaking mess,” shares Davison. “There is no practical reason to bedazzle your pits other than as a conversation piece, which is mostly why I try or start most of the weird beauty trends that I do.”
Armpits aren’t the only body part getting a little glitter love these days. Actress Bella Thorne made headlines when she posted pictures of herself wearing glitter makeup as a bra. Davison tried this trend as well, telling HealthyWay that she found it beautiful, despite the fact that she hated having glitter on her pits. She recommends glitter bras as a bold choice for a rave or music festival.
Trend or trick?
Depending on who you ask, this incredibly strange beauty trend is less of a trend and more of a joke gone viral.
In the last couple of months, nose hair extensions are becoming a thing on Instagram. According to Cosmopolitan, this all started with user GretChen Chen, who only had 173 followers when she posted a picture of herself sporting nose hair extensions, which were actually just fake eyelashes glued into her nostrils. Now, no one is certain if this was meant to be taken seriously, but the picture went viral, resulting in copycat posts by several Instagram users in the beauty world.
Always up for a challenge, Davison reports having tried this trend after it became popular. “Utterly ridiculous,” she says. “You need to stick lash glue up your nose, which winds up ripping out your actual nose hair after the fact.”
Raise a Brow
Nose hair extensions may have been inevitable, considering the fact that the beauty world seemed to have exhausted every possible iteration of eyebrow art over the course of six months. Creative eyebrows just might go down as the defining makeup trend of 2017. We know that brow art took off in the Spring, Allure reports that the earliest viral brow art seems to date back to March 10th, when Instagram user @athenapaginton shared a picture of barbed wire brows, which quickly went viral. Next came feather brows, which was accidentally started by popular beauty influencer Stella Sironen. On April 8, she posted a picture of her brows styled as feathers.
The very next day, Sironen was back with another picture of feather brows and a little explanation of exactly what she was thinking. As it turns out, it was just a silly joke that got taken way too seriously. Now it’s totally a trend. Moving on, we have carved brows. Using makeup, artists are creating the illusion of brows shaped in squiggles, lightening, and more. Makeup artist Lucky Martinez tells HealthyWay exactly what he thinks of this trend.
“I tried the ‘brow carve’ trend,” he says, explaining that the look is created by putting shadow around the brow and then using concealer to create a ‘shadow carved’ look. “It wasn’t really for me because it isn’t very natural, and I wouldn’t ever see me repeating it at all.” Lastly, we’ve got squiggle brows. They seem to be creation of hugely successful Instagram influencer Promise Tamang, who shared a picture of squiggle brows and squiggle lips in August. The picture now has over 27,000 likes and plenty of comments, both good and bad.
“Promise, how could you be responsible for this monstrosity,” user @luz_822 posted under the original picture.
Looking Yellow in the Face
If, like me, you missed the memo that yellow eyeshadow was on trend, you may be just as surprised to hear what else yellow makeup is being used for. According to Allure, yellow blush became hugely popular over the Spring.
It’s applied like any old blush, only the color is bright. It’s strangely flattering, to be honest, and Davison says she was surprised by just how much she likes the look on herself. “It’s not a color I would have ever thought to use, but the end result was interesting,” she says. “I love when unusual makeup trends force you to rethink your makeup choices and lead you to new styles.”
Sometimes beauty trends quickly fade away after gaining popularity, but this trend seems to be here to stay. Double liner has become so popular over the last couple of years, and it likely was inspired by a look worn by Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid at a Chanel show in January, 2016.
“The double liner is something that recently came into play, and I love it,” Martinez shares. “It’s a winged liner within a winged liner. I really like it because not only does it not require a lot of work, but it adds a bit of color and pop to the face without completely turning the look into a certain color.”
Do you glow?
Perhaps the most widely embraced of recent unusual beauty trends, neon makeup has become super popular among instagram makeup artists. Some artists are using actual neon makeup that reacts to black lights, but many are just really, really good at tricking the eyes. Different makeup colors are layered to make it look like the eyes or lips are glowing.
Too much, or just right?
Unusual beauty trends get a lot of negative attention. Growing out armpit hair has been called unhygienic, and it’s really no surprise that the comment sections of brow art pictures on Instagram are a free-for-all. Many makeup artists simply don’t care. For them, it’s about doing their own thing, not conforming to the status quo. “When I use makeup, it’s always only about makeup,” explains Martinez. “Using makeup as an art for me is when I’m able to enjoy my time alone and create something new that I believe will put a … smile on someone’s face.” And although Davison is quick to admit that the trends she tried are strange or weird, she doesn’t think that is necessarily bad. “Our bodies are canvases, and makeup is a tool to create a masterpiece,” she says. “I think we are at an incredibly liberating point in history where makeup is so accessible and affordable, and tutorials [are] so easy to find, that anyone can become anything they choose. Makeup enables self-creation, and creativity is art!”