It’s hard to believe we’re already at the end of another year and the close of this year brings us to 2020. The 2010s were a wild decade for makeup and beauty, with some trends that were strong wins and some that gladly faded quietly into obscurity.
Unfortunately, we’ve forever memorialized both the good and bad on our social media accounts. There is no escape from the photographic evidence of makeup experimentation gone wrong in the day and age of tagged photos.
The best of the decade in makeup and beauty is worth celebrating and remembering. Some of these trends came in with a bang and left just as forcefully, but some of them we’ll keep using well into the 2020s. In no particular order, here are the things we loved most from the last decade of beauty.
Gel and Dip Nails
Remember when you could either paint your own nails or get a French manicure, and those were pretty much your only choices? Yeah, those were rough, boring times. Now the options are far better than just polish or full acrylics, with gel manicures and dip nails both widely available.
Unlike normal polish, both gels and dip can last three weeks to a month depending on the rate your nails grow and how well you take care of them. They also don’t require filing your nails down hard the way acrylic sets do. This leaves you without the nail damage many people used to associate with salon nails, letting stylish nails also be healthy nails.
Smoky eyes are one of those looks that defined the middle part of this decade, anchored strongly by Urban Decay palettes. YouTube is full of videos, most from 2015 or so, with beauty vloggers showing us how to achieve the perfect smoky eye.
When Urban Decay discontinued its best palettes for these looks, the Internet erupted into wild grief at the loss. Bold eye looks are still in, although the full smoky eyes are less in vogue right now. This decade was also good for showing us the importance of eyeliner and solid mascara. Pick one you won’t cry or sweat off.
The first time I saw these, I thought they were weird. But magnetic lashes have been here for more than a year now and look much nicer. As a massive bonus, you no longer need to use glue right next to your eye. Magnetic lashes are also usually reusable, depending on the brand (such as Ardell from Ulta), so they’re good options for the frugal-minded. Just keep them clean.
At this point, what can’t be ombre? Hair, eye makeup, nails — you name it, it can be ombre. Ombre is credited to both early Britney Spears and Aaliyah, and it hasn’t left the scene since 2000. Ombres seem to be most appealing to people who like things that fade in and out, with patience for color that isn’t uniform.
It’s impossible to think of lip kits without also thinking of Kylie Jenner, the Kardashian clan mogul and Instagram maven. Other brands make lip kits or sets of lipstick and liner, but Jenner’s are famous both for the incessant, viral messaging and the huge following and wealth Jenner amassed this decade from makeup.
The strong benefit to lip kits: perfect matches for products. Lip kits are a bad fit for people who like to mix and match, don’t wear liner, or prefer to select their own components. Try a lip kit if you’re looking for easy and polished lip wear.
Instagram isn’t a makeup brand, but its effects on the way we do our makeup can’t be undersold. The 2000s brought social media up front and personal with makeup and beauty vloggers, people selling products and looks over the internet.
Instagram allows beauty bloggers to upload perfectly curated images to sell looks and ideas, and to demonstrate how to use products. Instagram also brought us scandals over sponsored content and the lack of transparency from many of these so-called self-made models and where they were getting their money and products.
Contours might have started with online beauty bloggers, especially the Kardashians, but they haven’t stayed there. Now you can pick up a basic contour kit in any drugstore makeup section, because the contour concept is here to stay. It’s pretty amazing to watch what the real contouring pros can do, using color and blending to make some features pop and others fade into the background.
Remember how fun it was to get things in the mail as a child? If you ever had a monthly magazine or a family member who regularly sent you cool things in the mail and miss that feeling, consider a subscription-based beauty box. These came into style hard this last decade and show no real signs of slowing down.
They come in varieties for clothes, makeup, jewelry, or a mix. Set a price point, decide how often you want your box, and then wait to see what you get. It’s a low-risk, high-reward idea for most regular subscribers. You get to experience products you wouldn’t normally try and find new favorites.
This was also the decade K-Beauty went mainstream. K-Beauty lines might seem complicated because of the number of steps in the routines, but they offer beautiful, clear skin, and a way to try to fight back against the inexorable march of time. K-Beauty is mainstream now, despite being unheard of before 2012 or so. Think of all those weird-but-whimsical face masks you can now buy everywhere. K-Beauty is responsible for their wide availability and innovation.
This decade has changed how we do beauty. Hopefully, the next decade will keep bringing flattering, fun, and healthy trends.