TikTok’s Latest Beauty Trend Is ‘Crying Makeup’

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This one is for the unstable girlies. It’s time to enter TikTok’s latest trend: crying makeup.

It’s a trend that encourages all the unstable girlies to embrace those glassy eyes, rosy noses, and flushed cheeks you might see when you sneak a glance in the mirror while having a lil cry.

In a clip that has now been liked more than 520,000 times on TikTok, this Boston-based content creator Zoe Kim Kenealy takes viewers through a step by step tutorial on how to recreate the aesthetic crying look, even “if you’re not in the mood to

@zoekimkenealy #greenscreen crying makeup look tutorial 😅 Can I go as a crying person for Halloween or is that not a thing #cryingmakeup #tearmakeup #cryingeyes #makeupforhalloween ♬ Show Me How (Album V) – Men I Trust

Starting with the lips, Kenealy blurs around the edges of her lips and covers them with gloss to emulate a puffy and bitten look. Next up she applies red eye shadow under her eyes, cheeks, and nose. Her final touch is the liquid glitter to glisten those eyes and cupid’s bow.

The entire effect looks sad, beautiful, and tragic — a look that feels like it was meant for a sad girl singing along to a Lana Del Ray or Taylor Swift ballad. But where exactly has this trend come from?

Keneally has already credited two East Asian makeup trends, Douyin and Ulzzang, as inspiration for her glistening crying makeup.

@hayleybuix This look yay or nay? #makeuptutorial #makeuptransformation #kawaiigirl #douyin #fypシ ♬ all I want is you – Rebzyyx

Combining several East Asian beauty techniques into one look — think generous amounts of pink eyeshadow under the eye and ample parts blush placed high up on the cheekbones — the style has many names, one being the “Little Red Book” look because of its pink pigmentation.

It became popular among Chinese and other East Asian celebrities, content creators, makeup artists, and enthusiasts on TikTok. And has since been popularised by the West.

Ulzzang, on the other hand, literally means “good-looking” or “best face” in South Korea.

It’s a technique that encapsulates that healthy glow, a staple to Korean beauty that has been translated into Western makeup trends.

Aside from the rich cultural history the new trend has borrowed from, crying makeup feels like 2022’s version of ‘the sad girl’ — a household name to highschool Tumblr days.

As past users know, melancholia and sadness was the Tumblr aesthetic, one that naturally lives on through TikTok today, and actually maybe Tumblr as well… hello comeback story?

“Misery, or at least the performance of it, is all over TikTok — probably because it’s all over the world,” The Guardian’s Alaina Demopoulos reckons.

And she has a point. While it might be a performance and we should be careful to over romanticise sadness or depression, there is a communal aspect when young people are able to share similar feelings online.

It’s something that became invaluable during the pandemic when we couldn’t physically show our emotions to one another for some time — something that artists like Billie Eilish have leaned into for their music and have garnered huge fan bases from.

Popular culture and television have enormous powers over aesthetics and beauty trends as well.

Euphoria’s season two flower shot with Cassie weeping beautifully is now iconic to the internet, as is the show’s entire makeup aesthetic.

Ultimately it seems quite natural that beauty trends have emerged to match such universal feelings, allowing young people to express themselves.