Lacking Individuality: Is The Beauty Industry Creating Clones?
'Beauty is a big part of selfcare and selflove, so it’s great that we now have the habit of a beauty routine, but it is something that should inspire you to feel confident by expressing your own sense of creativity'
Even though the very definition of the word trend is still under construction, I’m sure you’d understand if I said to you that something is trending right now, right? You’d think of it ‘a current style or preference’ in the doing or making of things – and you’re not wrong. The thing about it today is, because of how fast everything changes and passes, specially on the internet, that preferred style might only last a month, sometimes and even less – and that’s not good for us as a society. All trends now have shorter lifespans and a lot less of a cultural impact than they did before because we now live a life where we need to be overstimulated with constant newness and dopamine hits – and the easiest way to get those are with the infinite scrolling on social media. And that is the topic that really starts our conversation: trends are now started by influencers and personalities on our TikTok’s ‘for you page’ or Instagram feeds – I have to say they usually pop in TikTok first, thanks to GenZ.
Consumers are constantly exposed to new trends and looks through the influencers they choose to follow, and this makes them seem more attainable and impactful. These influencers now have the full attention of the largest beauty brands as in many cases they are actually setting the trends themselves, so they are even allowed to create their own products and lines based on what they love. Giving brands the opportunity to also be setting trends. As this is the main process of the beauty industry, they’re more and more çeading consumers to look toward influencers and brands when deciding how to shape their beauty routines, and because their videos get super popular and viral, most people end up having the exact same one – do you see the problem here?
The first time we saw something like it happening was at the ‘Instagram makeup’ era. It was somewhere around 2014 and 2016 when we started to see what would soon be called ‘Insta brows’ to this day – and not always with love – but soon after that we got Insta contouring, highlighting, lips and eye makeup - a literal full face of Insta makeup. We would see it all over social media – as expected – and not long after that we started to see it on the streets and daily activities – and there’s no way you can tell me it looked good all the time. You could see very clearly how the app’s aesthetic had taken over the whole idea of doing makeup in every part of the world as every other girl would look the exact same with their face app like smoothskin, perfectly defined eyeliner, cheekbones carved like marble, and of course, the famous Insta brows – and that’s when our on going situation started.
We’ve moved on from Instagram MakeUp and even from Instagram a little, but things haven’t changed a bit, so what happend right now is that TikTok makeup gets all the likes - and there isn’t much overlap between those who are seem as the biggest influencers. Just as everyone had the same face back then, they’re trying really hard to do the same thing now, even if thigs are a lot more subtle this time – but every video on TikTok is about ‘how to be that girl’ or ‘the clean girl aesthetic’. It all creates a feeling of it being ubiquitous, and maybe even a bit soulless as everyone is just trying to look identical, which is not so hard with hundreds of tutorials and ‘get ready with me’, so it’s no surprise the cloning effect is back – all you have to do is have the same products and follow the steps.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all bad to follow internet trends, it’s not even possible to say that when it has sort of democratized beauty. Make up and beauty trends have been around forever, but you had to be part of the fashion pack to know about it on the spot, or to buy a fashion magazine as soon as it arrived on the market, but now, thanks to the Internet it’s all free and available whenever you want it – and that’s a great thing. Also, we all want to be cool and part of something, we all have insecurities and wearing some specific kind of make up makes you feel better about yourself – believe me, I’m not denying any of that. It even seem like a good step for us to see how we came from a trend that would totally give people new face structures to something different, the point is those two things are essentialy the same: a trend that’s making all people look the same. Also, how natural it really is?
Most videos you see are being made by influencer or micro-influencer – or just ‘TikTok famous people – with perfect clear skin, lash extensions and lip fillers selling ‘natural beauty’ with a list of products you can use to achieve the same look and look like them. So you see how it’s a different thing, but it’s for the same purpouse? Actually, it can be even harder this time – and a lot more cruel if you ask me. When we were going for Insta makeup, it was totally possible to get the look if you did everything right, after all, it was like drawing a whole new face, but now, you just have to look like a supermodel using five dots of concealer, skin tint, some mascara and lipgloss – don't forget your slick bum. So in order to get that flawless, perfect and natural look, we had to turn to something that goes way deeper than makeup, and fill our faces with fillers and plastic surgery, all that to be just as naturally pretty as all the influencers we follow. And that’s why all people in social media, more than ever, look the very same. We stopped celebrating individuality and the things that make us unique and special.
Beauty is a big part of selfcare and selflove, so it’s great that we now have the habit of a beauty routine, but it is something that should inspire you to feel confident by expressing your own sense of creativity. Whatever trends – or not – that you choose to swipe on should come from what you really want to try and experiment, in the spirit of finding something that will help you feel even more like yourself – not like an Instagram filter. Your beauty routine and habits are not supposed to make you feel bad and it sure shouldn’t feel like a chore you have to complete in order to hide your natural aspects and become what is said to be ideal. But with the current expanding empire of social media aesthetics that no longer confine to makeup alone, but the whole lifestyle topic, the so important ritual of a beauty routine is now frozen in very well thought and edited process that puts all in a box full of people who are camera ready all the time, all captured by filtered lens that cares more about the mass appeal than the individuals.