If you want to keep up with the latest TikTok trend, then why not join the "2016 vs. 2021" challenge? This basically involves applying different makeup to either side of your face to compare the trends and techniques popular in 2016 and in 2021. And makeup trends seem to have moved at lightning speed over the last five years, going from bold, verging on OTT looks, to a more natural effect.
TikTok challenges keep coming thick and fast in all shapes and forms. And while the social network is a regular hivemind of beauty tips -- some excellent, some slightly more dubious -- it's a new kind of challenge that's been proving a hit among Gen Z users in recent weeks. Visible via the "#2016vs2021" hashtag, it basically involves beauty fans filming themselves drawing a vertical line down the middle of their faces, then applying different makeup to either side to show just how much their looks have changed in the space of five years. The challenge has already notched up some 120 million views.
And, there's no denying that the results are pretty amazing -- especially since five years seems more like a decade, or even a lifetime, in the beauty industry. And that's without adding a global pandemic to the mix, turning consumer beauty habits on their heads. From 2016 makeup, it seems like beauty has moved from the wildest of extravagances -- did we even realize it at the time? -- to a style that seems more natural than ever.
Flashback to 2016, and to the rise of various makeup techniques for sculpting and shaping the face. Terms like "highlighting," "strobing" and "contouring" were the buzzwords of the day among makeup enthusiasts, who integrated these techniques into their daily routines with no holds barred, creating beauty looks worthy of the sector's major influencers, namely Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. In fact, that's one of the most striking differences when looking at the hundreds of these beauty challenge videos springing up each day on TikTok. In 2016, skin was particularly heavily loaded, playing with light and shadow to sculpt certain parts of the face and highlight certain features, and with bronzers offering the kind of healthy glow that couldn't be less natural. Fast-forward five years, and makeup is more about taking the time to embellish or conceal anything considered a "problem zone," resulting in a lighter, more natural makeup look.
It's the same story for eyes too. Although eyes have become something of a focal point since the pandemic put us all in face masks -- leading makeup fans to go all-out with their eye makeup looks -- in reality, eye makeup has been dialed down considerably compared to five years ago. Forget voluminous eyelashes, XXL lash extensions and bright colors, because eyes are generally much less eccentric in 2021. Although undoubtedly more emphasized than lips or skin, they remain very understated compared to the makeup looks of 2016. And that goes for brows too, which have also been toned down for a more natural look.
The final striking comparison is lips. The matte shades that promised infinite holds seem to have faded away in favor of gloss. Five years ago, matte reds and browns, and the most vibrant of pinks were all the rage, whereas these days, beauty fans tend to reach for shiny, clear or lightly tinted shades -- again, keeping it natural. And the effects of the pandemic -- with bars and restaurants closed, curfews, and face masks -- don't give anyone much of an opportunity to go all-out with lips.
See you all on TikTok in five years' time to see just how quickly things change again.