What Will Be The “It” Beauty Look Of 2024?
In a recent episode of the “Fat Mascara” podcast, co-hosts Jennifer Sullivan and Jessica Matlin discussed The New York Times article, “Why Culture Has Come To A Standstill.” Written by Jason Farago, the article asks, “What piece of clothing or accessory could you give a model to mark her as ‘Young Lady in 2023’? A titanium-cased iPhone is all that comes to mind, and even that hasn’t changed its appearance much in a decade.”
Sullivan and Matlin stretched the article’s theme to the beauty industry, pondering the beauty products and trends that characterize the modern era. In beauty, many trends of late have been references, directly or indirectly, to past trends. It seems like every Hailey Beiber-inspired viral TikTok beauty moment is a 1990s throwback. Whether it’s lip stains, lip oils or hot pink blushes, a big portion of buzzy items have a yesteryear quality to them, too. The result is that there may not be a distinct beauty look this year that people years from now will recall as prototypically 2023.
As we peer ahead to 2024, we’re curious if next year will be the year that encapsulates beauty in the 2020s. To try to pinpoint a beauty style that will epitomize this period of beauty, for the latest edition of our ongoing series posing questions relevant to indie beauty, we asked 23 beauty entrepreneurs and executives the following question: What do you think will define the beauty look of 2024?
- Jeff Lee Co-Founder and CEO, DIBS Beauty
It's still early to be calling out what the overall 2020s look will be for future generations, but 2023 was about blurring food with recognizable, monochromatic looks. Strawberry, tomato, doughnut and latte, the look was as much about the "feel" and the sensorial mood as it was about a specific technique.
In other words, whether or not you're simply glazed and glistening or layering different shades of coffee and brown, you're using a specific color or textural range in makeup to help you become a living mood board.
I don't think that'll change in 2024 even if we run out of food items to draw inspiration from. Even if the colors, the adjectives, the vibes and the inspiration cycle in and out every month (trend life cycles run a lot faster now than they ever have before), the overall philosophy will have staying power.
- Jerrod Blandino Co-Founder, Polite Society
I think we got kind of lazy in 2023, and I think cancel culture mixed with post-pandemic, mixed with political, mixed with wars made the world just so heavy, so scary and so intimidating that people stopped feeling free to experiment, celebrate and play.
In 2024, I think we are going to look towards a more optimistic, celebratory, positive, playful, energetic future. I don’t think we are going to jump into using 15 different eyeshadows on our eyes again, but I definitely believe that consumers are going to be looking for happy, playful, sexy, feminine, color on lips and on eyes. I don’t think we’re going to be wearing masks of makeup like we were in the 2010s, but I think we’re going to start seeing color come out in more inspirational ways and playing with color again, not being afraid.
This very neutral, natural thing, it’s kind of like yoga pants. During COVID, we all started wearing yoga pants constantly, and that’s a habit. We need to get out of that habit of just being comfortable and getting back into the joy of expressing ourselves and relishing in the pageantry of getting dressed up and getting ready again, so I’d say a little more sprinkle of party and fun will be there.
- Regina Merson Founder and CEO, Reina Rebelde
The predominant beauty look of 2024 will continue to be very safe and referential to aspects of the ‘80s and ‘90s: a focus on glowy skin, nude lips, blush and a whisper of eyeliner with the occasional pop of color.
Any experimentation will be more with technique and less with color. It’s not what anyone would call fun or memorable, but it will be low maintenance for sure and in this regard maybe prototypical post-pandemic.
- Megan Rein Co-Founder, Siia Cosmetics
We are just now emerging from the pandemic and its aftershocks, so 2023 was really more of a transition year getting back to a “normal” life of living outside of the home. I don’t agree that there wasn’t a unique 2023 “look.” The “Young Lady of 2023” had Botox, fillers and lash extensions.
The big trend in 2022-2023 was the normalization of fillers, Botox and minor plastic surgery in very young women and not just influencers and celebrities as well as the growth of expensive “maintenance” treatments that used to be only for celebrities like eyelash extensions, hair extensions and nails that happen on a regular basis.
I’m not sure how long it will take, but I think there will be a backlash to this and move towards a more natural look. There seems to be a backlash against overconsumption and a recognition of the harms that can come from using fillers and Botox too early. I’m not sure if it will be the look of 2024, but it is coming in the next few years.
For 2024, my big prediction for the beauty look will be an embrace of color in minimal and sophisticated ways like a bright eyeshadow or a bright lip with the rest of the face and look being neutral. People will move away from the minimal, monochromatic palettes and looks that have been dominant and start adding a pop of color, not as far as maximalism and a full embrace of colors like in the mid-2010s, but starting to add a bit of color and sparkle back.
I think it’s interesting that everything feels like a throwback, but I think that’s because of social media. When I was young, I’m sure a ton of stuff we did were throwbacks or old trends, but we just weren’t aware or didn’t have the easy access to education about the old trends like people do now.
Now, celeb MUAs from the ‘90s explain the old trends and products, so we are all aware of the throwbacks. But I think people have always looked to 30 to 40 years before for inspiration in fashion and beauty, we are all just better educated and hyper aware with social media of the evolution of those looks.
- Minara El-Rahman Co-Founder, Mora Cosmetics
As the gen Z cohort continues to dominate platforms like TikTok, we will see them focus on a skincare-first routine. I personally see the beauty look of 2024 as dewy skin, glossed lips with a pimple patch being worn as a badge of honor, especially if it’s a fun-shaped patch like a star or cloud.
In terms of color cosmetics, 2024 will still lean heavy into a neutral color face for every day. Think washes of color to sculpt bone structure and soft glimmering highlighter. Don’t discount crazy sparkles for special events, though. Think fun-shaped face jewels inspired by Britney Spears or graphic eyeliner inspired by Twiggy for a fun night out.
- Mark Curry Co-Founder, The Inkey List
I don’t think that there will be a defining Jennifer Aniston x Rachel haircut type of defining cultural impact on beauty ever again because consumers of all ages are inundated with content and endless inspiration in today’s digital age.
We’ll continue to see an amalgam of looks that may look the same at low resolution, but will all look different close up. There are just too many influential sources nowadays versus 30 years ago when the bandwidth of differentiation and mass influence was way more controlled.
- Jeremy Lowenstein CMO, Milani
In the ever-evolving realm of makeup and beauty, we're witnessing a rapid transformation of trends, driven by a fusion of nostalgia and a strong push towards expressive individualism. This evolution signals a departure from a singular "staple look" to multiple beauty paradigms, each resonating with different groups of people.
The diversity in trends for 2024, which we’re already seeing as we wrap up 2023, will be largely fueled by collective nostalgia, manifesting across various domains, including beauty, fashion and music. The resurgence of iconic 2000s elements epitomized by the popular return of the Jonas Brothers and the revival of low-rise jeans is a testament to this trend.
In 2024, we're set to see the beauty scene become a melting pot of 2000s influences and modern-day techniques. There's a noticeable revival of quintessential 2000s features like skinny eyebrows and bold lip liners, reimagined through contemporary perspectives.
Articles such as “Getting The Skinny Brow Look Without Tweezing” are gaining traction, showing an upward trend in this movement. It is important to note that this revival isn't merely a repetition of the past. It will be an inventive blend that reflects the creativity of gen Z, known for tastefully mixing together old and current nuances.
Furthermore, we're experiencing a revival of 2000s microcultures, particularly emo, scene and goth. In parallel, the timeless charm of prep and old-money aesthetics reminiscent of brands such as Abercrombie will continue to see a steady appeal in the new year.
Geek culture is also becoming popularized in pop culture and, in tandem, in beauty, with new techniques on cosplay makeup being showcased on social platforms. WGSN names cosplay makeup as an upcoming trend in 2024, so we can expect to see multiuse and duo-chrome makeup become popular. All of these subcultures reflect a broader embrace and appreciation for varied aesthetic expressions, signaling a shift towards inclusivity in beauty.
To encapsulate, the beauty landscape of 2024 will be characterized by a diverse and rich blend of influences, marrying nostalgic elements with contemporary values. A renaissance of 2000s trends, a celebration of diverse subcultures and a heightened awareness of sustainability and ethics, this eclectic mix will cater to the varied tastes and principles of today's diverse audience, offering a broad spectrum of beauty expressions.
- Tisha Thompson Founder and CEO, LYS Beauty
In 2024, I’m predicting a decline in eyelash extensions or dramatized lash looks. With such a strong emphasis on achieving that clean, flawless-looking complexion, I think we will see more makeup wearers swapping our falsies for brown and black mascara on their natural lashes.
There are incredible mascaras on the market that offer the volume and length that we all love without the hassle or upkeep of lash extensions. These also come with a steep price tag. and consumers are becoming increasingly more mindful of how they are spending their money across their entire beauty routine.
I also think we’ll see the emergence of glowy cheeks with the introduction of blush and highlighter hybrid products. Liquid and cream blushes have been popular in recent years and will continue to be, but I’m anticipating the return of the highlighter as well to round out the look. This time, instead of the 2010s powder highlighter with glitter, we'll see a more flexible cream or liquid formula, the 2024 rendition.
- Shannon Davenport Founder and CEO, Esker
I think we still have some juice left in the glassy/glazed/shiny look of the past few years. I think tight, super dewy skin will be one of the signature looks of this era as well as strong, thick and shaped brows and ultra plumped lips.
I don't know if 2024 is the year we'll see these trends change, but I do think that some of the emerging looks that haven't been super popular recently will start to cycle back into the mainstream. Specifically, thinner brows and more mattified skin inspired by the '90s feels like it'll be fresh again.
It’s the continual evolution of the “clean girl” look. Even the things we came out this year like the “latte” look, it’s all derivative of the "clean girl" look, it’s just a more smoky version of it. Everything has a lifted liner, which is completely different from the ‘90s. if I look back at pictures of myself in the ‘90s, the eyeshadow was so round and ashy.
People talk about ‘90s throwbacks, but I think the makeup in the 2020s has evolved so far beyond the looks in the ‘90s. It was so comical what it looked like back then. I was there, I was doing makeup, and we did cat-eyes that don’t look like they do now. They were ridiculous. They didn’t go up, they went out.
I think social media has been great for the evolution of beauty looks. You can debate whether it’s been good for people or not, but in terms of how people apply their makeup, it’s been incredible. I think everyone’s makeup looks way better than it did in the ‘90s.
- Nikita Charuza Founder, Squigs Beauty
The defining beauty look of 2024 will continue to be a mixture of nostalgia, but with a modern flair. During my time as a fashion and beauty editor for the past 10 years, I've seen time and time again that customers are attracted to the sense of remembrance, which is why nostalgic trends and trends from yesteryears keep making an appearance.
What I think will be different in 2024 is that the younger generation isn't afraid of trying out beauty looks from different segments that have once been only designated to different types of customers. They are now more chameleon-like than ever.
For example, they are now more open to switching between beauty trends like opting for the minimalistic clean girl aesthetic one second and a bold futuristic, bright-colored look the next. This will be seen throughout not only makeup, but haircare and skincare, too.
It's all about being a chameleon and access to learning about new brands and tutorials through connective social media platforms like TikTok.
- Sarah Cheung Founder, Sacheu Beauty
It’s no secret that beauty trends are largely influenced by social media. I think the reason it is difficult to pinpoint a singular 2023 “look” is largely due to the acceleration of trend cycles as well as a fear of the future which moves people towards nostalgia for the ‘90s/’00s.
Instead of just one “’90s look,” each era is dissected into “balletcore,” “cybercore,” “supermodel core” to draw inspiration from every niche subculture in that era. One example is my most recent makeup tutorial on YouTube inspired by the 2000s office siren, which specifically speaks to the corporate chic look of the 2000s that is often overlooked because people mostly associate the Y2K era with denim and bling.
Despite these rapid trend cycles, there are some things that I can see trending for 2024 in beauty. First is category disruptors, aka products that are first of its category. It is not uncommon for people to be recommended 20 different products they “must buy” in a span of a 10-minute scroll on Tik Tok. This means people get ad exhaustion much quicker.
To truly stand out from the noise, a product must be able to set itself apart, usually within the first give seconds of it reaching the target audience. The Sacheu Beauty Lip Liner Stay-n is a great example of that because it immediately makes people question, “What does this do?” Ad exhaustion also means multipurpose products will be much more popular, especially products that mix cosmetics with skincare, e.g, The Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment, which is both a lip treatment and a tinted gloss.
- Donni Davy Co-Founder, Half Magic
While there isn’t a distinct beauty look that is prototypically 2023, I believe we are currently in the most expressive beauty moment in modern history. I was very much inspired by things I saw in the real world when I created the makeup for “Euphoria,” young people on the streets of LA experimenting with beauty in their own journeys of self-discovery and self-expression.
I saw everything from half-shaved eyebrows and piercings in new places to graphic liners and, yes, in some cases glitter. That desire for expression coming from today’s youth inspired me to create the viral makeup looks on “Euphoria,” which became a cultural zeitgeist, ultimately bringing these types of looks into the everyday, all around the world.
- Jeanne Chavez Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, About-Face
It's tough to predict, but the ‘90s and ‘2000s have been cycling back. They seem to be hovering and are 100% here to stay. I would love an ‘80s comeback, which was the most fun for a mix of brights, sparkle, pastels and neon colors, where my love for makeup began.
But what I really think will really define beauty in 2024 will be freedom to express rather than follow one defined, trending look. Building out a badass smokey eye or playing with shimmer and metallics on the eyes, face and lips and a continuing celebration of individuality will define beauty in the year ahead, embracing the freedom to create.
- Jasmine Rose Founder, Laws of Nature Cosmetics
In 2023, the "clean girl" aesthetic gained momentum during the Pandemic, and I believe it will shape the beauty look of 2024. This trend is particularly evident in complexion makeup such as foundation or skin tint-skincare hybrids paired with either a bold lip or a simple, single "one-and-done" eyeshadow application, but not both simultaneously. The look maintains the ethos of simplicity and natural beauty, yet it is impactful.
- Christin Powell Co-Founder, Kinship
Based on the mistakes we made in the 2010s (heavy eyeliner, excessive contouring that most people didn't get right, too much exfoliating that damaged our skin barrier), I think we may be entering our soft girl era in 2024, meaning a more bare-faced, natural look as the skin gets healthier and there is a blurring between makeup and skincare.
- Sue Katz Founder, Amazing Cosmetics
I’m thinking Taylor Swift has to be part of the equation for making 2024 an iconic year for makeup. Her simple yet elegant look is iconic: Glass skin, glitter lids, winged black liner and a new Taylor Swift Kansas City Red glossy lip.
- Ashley Prange Founder, Au Naturale
Wearing Wellness: True beauty comes from within and requires a lifestyle consisting of nutrition, sleep, hydration and an enhanced scope in performance skincare that includes peptides, ceramides and vitamin C.
An investment in wellness constitutes luminous, radiant skin is foundational to the natural look that celebrates people's natural features and veers away from the heavy, makeover makeup popular in years past. For color, I expect to see healthy faces displaying a bold lip and flush blush.
- Kim Day Founder and Formulator, Biotrium Lab
In the realm of beauty, wigs have journeyed a long way since their inception in ancient Egypt. The year 2023 marked a transformative era for wigs, particularly in their appeal to Black women. The innovation lies in the artistry of creating natural-looking wigs, with a focus on the hairline's realism through lace wigs and the inclusion of diverse “baby hair.”
The popularity of this trend is evident in the staggering number of over 3.2 billion TikTok results for the hashtag “baby hair.” This surge reflects how consumers and stylists are keenly addressing the demand for wigs that closely mimic natural hair.
As we reflect on this period, it becomes clear that 2023 and 2024 are pivotal years in revolutionizing wig-wearing. While the adage, “there's nothing new under the sun,” often holds true, the current era is exceptional in its advancement towards wigs that are unprecedented in their realistic and natural appearance.
- Anna Weatherlake Co-Founder, Váhy
Quiet Luxury: We think that enhancing what is you with well-made luxury products will be huge. There will be a shift towards exclusive, intimate and not mass-produced items with less visible branding to help the real you shine, and the high-quality products just complement who you are, and a focus on getting the basics very, very right. It will be subtle and minimalist, but oozing class and charm. Quiet luxury has been big in fashion in 2023, and we think it’ll extend into beauty in 2024.
- Kate Macdonald Co-Founder, Váhy
Individuality: We also think that individuality in fragrance will be important for 2024. Fragrance layering is already a huge trend, and we think this will continue with people continuing to experiment and create their own custom blend with hard-to-find fragrances.
- Jillian Dempsey Founder and Makeup Artist, Jillian Dempsey
Beauty will be determined by a lot of different factors. I think 2024 will be the time to be real and expressive with beauty, and we will see a lot of different techniques and looks popping out, not just from one source.
- Camille Bell Co-Founder and CEO, Pound Cake
I think 2024 will be the year of nudes and vibrant pops of color, whether it be via eyeliners, eyeshadows or experiments with colorful lip colors. It will kick off the start of the transition back to people “beating” their faces again, something that may not return in full swing for another few years.
I also think perfume, although not necessarily a look, will define 2024. Fragrance is a category that we’ve seen grow exponentially in the last two years. As folks are now fully back in the office, attending events, etc., the want and desire to smell your best at all times have set a precedent for the rising interest in different perfumes. You don’t have to be “experienced” or, for the most part, have a specific skin type to enjoy and wear perfumes fully.
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Feature photo image credit: Half Magic