The 19 Biggest Beauty Trends of the 2010s

They might have only just ended, but the 2010s were riddled with beauty trends you have probably already forgotten (even if your Facebook memories try their hardest not to let you). Beauty has always been a means of self-expression, but thanks to social media, it became even more of a space to make a statement, large or small. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest became a go-to source to discover new ideas, reveal new haircuts, swap recommendations, and share opinions on the latest looks, for better or worse. Thanks to this newfound democratization of trends, beauty also became increasingly more inclusive, with many brands embracing people of color and different body types, as well as genderless products.

Of course, celebrities were at the forefront of many 2010s trends, including one famous family in particular. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the Kardashian-Jenners’ (often controversial) contributions to the industry. (We named Kim one of the 21 women who defined style in the decade for a reason.) You’ll see them pop up several times in this list, along with other influential names like Rihanna and Cara Delevingne.

So as we set our sights on new 2020 looks to conquer, it’s officially time to pause and remember some of the best—and best-to-forget—looks, products, and techniques that took over the previous decade. Some might be long gone (we hardly knew ye, strobing), but others, like clean beauty, have surpassed “trend” to become movements that we’ll continue to see in the industry for years to come. 

Celebs have been putting their names on fragrances for decades, but in the 2010s, the branding bubble exploded. Kylie Cosmetics made Kylie Jenner a billionaire, while Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty became a best seller at Sephora, largely thanks to the brand’s inclusive and extensive shade ranges.

This buildable foundation comes in a boundary-breaking range of 50 shades.

The concept of using makeup to exaggerate and visually sharpen the angles on one’s face using different shades of makeup, contouring skyrocketed in popularity thanks, again, to Kim Kardashian West, who shared her technique on Instagram.

Eventually, Kardashian went onto monetize the trend with contouring palettes in her namesake line, KKW Beauty.

The shiny stepsister to contouring, strobing involved piling on the highlighter to play up the cheekbones, as Gigi Hadid demonstrated at a 2015 event. 

Our strobing days might be over, but a swoosh of strategically placed highlighter on the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, or Cupid’s bow never goes out of style.

Imports from the Korean-beauty world, BB cream (aka, beauty balm) and CC cream (aka, color-correcting cream) burst on the scene circa 2012 as tinted moisturizers with bonus skincare benefits.

Toward the end of the decade, makeup became more subdued as people started eschewing overdone looks in favor of going natural—or even sans makeup altogether, which BFFs Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz did in this gorgeous selfie.

No brand was more at the forefront of the “no-makeup makeup” movement than Glossier with products like its multipurpose Balm Dotcom.

Everyone put down their tweezers (and began cringing at their overly groomed early aughts brows), thanks to brow-endowed celebs like Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins.

A soft pencil with a spoolie brush helps define and add shape to thin or unruly brows.

Pinterest opened our eyes to a wide world of braids we never knew existed before—from fishtails to Dutch braids to braided headbands.

Beginning around 2012, it became a rite of passage for every celeb to dye their hair a different shade of the rainbow.

To get the look at home, use a brightly colored semi-permanent hair dye. Bleaching your hair first gets the brightest results, but you’ll see some color on lighter hair colors sans going platinum as well.

Another Pinterest-fueled obsession, legions of women suddenly let their hair get dramatically lighter from root to tip on purpose, inspired by the likes of Chrissy Teigen.

Long bobs became the HOTM (haircut of the moment) starting around 2016 when celebs like Nina Dobrev started making the chop.

As Botox, fillers, and other procedures became more common, they also became less taboo. Kylie Jenner first admitted to getting lip fillers in 2015 (and dissolving them three years later), while sister Kim Kardashian West even shares her visits to dermatologist to the stars Simon Ourian with her millions of followers. 

Transparency in beauty has also extended to product formulas, with consumers seeking out nontoxic beauty alternatives stripped of potentially harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and even fragrances. From Tata Harper’s naturally sourced serum to Kopari’s organic coconut oil, there’s a “clean” product for every need.

Another K-beauty import, single-use, serum-soaked masks became a skincare—and selfie—staple.

Karlie Kloss’s mask of choice? These hyaluronic acid–packed foil sheets from Estée Lauder. (The supermodel is a brand ambassador.)

These soothing stones have been a part of Chinese beauty rituals for generations. Said to help increase circulation, they grew in popularity—and color choice—as self-care and skincare became increasingly intertwined.

More realistic-looking faux tans and higher-quality sunscreen formulas—many of which are physical sunscreens, which are reef-safe—got people out of the tanning beds and underneath beach umbrellas.

From subtle accent nails to all-out extra manis, our nails became tiny canvases to express ourselves on (and post on Instagram in #clawpose).

These reusable, pop-on nails allow you to give yourself an Insta-worthy at-home mani in minutes.

These long, pointy acrylics looked cool AF but had us wondering how Kylie, Khloé, Zendaya, and all the other celebs who wore them actually did anything while wearing them.

The decade’s most invisible trend? Le Labo’s Santal 33, a spicy, smoky, unisex scent that seemingly everyone wore and name-dropped.

Essential oils have been used since, well, forever, but their popularity spiked as holistic alternatives to all sorts of ailments, from acne to anxiety. In reality, are they cure-alls in a bottle? The short answer: No, but they sure smell nice.

Still feeling nostalgic? Up next: These Are the Biggest Fashion Trends From the Last Decade.

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