In the 2010s, artificiality and authenticity factor heavily into the decade’s dialogue. The ideal eye has shifted from Kim Kardashian’s spider lashes to full brows and barely-there eye makeup à la Cara Delevingne. Microblading – a semi-permanent tattoo process for the brows – has become increasingly popular. Meanwhile, the advertising industry prevents mascara brands from including lash enhancements in their ads without disclaimers. The social media boom welcomed a coterie of beauty influencers whose tutorials and product reviews helped popularize products like the Urban Decay Naked Palette, which Allure reported sold every six seconds in 2015. Today, the Galaxy Eye Palette from Rihanna’s 2017 cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, suggests a vibrant alternative to these subtle hues.
Gendered perspectives on makeup continue to be reconsidered. Cover Girl appointed its first male spokesmodel, James Charles, in 2016, and television shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race have brought cosmetic transformations to millions of viewers. The same woman can sweep Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced over her lashes and frame her face with Glossier’s Boy Brow, a wax formula inspired by moustache pomade.
Moving into the 2020s, cosmetics consumers will have an unprecedented amount of choice. What will constitute beautiful eyes in the coming years? This will be left to the beholder to decide.
Marie Claire (American, founded 1994)
Maybelline “The Nudes Palette” Advertisement featuring Jourdan Dunn, October 2015
Fenty Beauty (American, founded 2017)
Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette, 2017
Glossier (American, founded 2014)
Boy Brow in Brown, 2017 (introduced in 2015)
Courtesy of Glossier
Tina Davies Professional (American, founded 2016)
Harmony Microblade 9 Classic, 2017
Courtesy of Tina Davies Professional
Too Faced (American, founded 1998)
Better Than Sex mascara in Black, 2017 (introduced in 2014)
Urban Decay (American, founded 1996)
Naked Eyeshadow Palette, 2017 (introduced in 2010)
Allure (American, founded 1991)
Photograph by Daniel Jackson (British, born 1976), January 2018
Graphics: Milk Makeup Eye Marker Advertisement, photographed by Amy Troost (2016); Photograph of Amanda Googe, with makeup by Gucci Westman, at Monse Fall 2017 show, Harpersbazaar.com (February 2017); PatrickStarrr, still from makeup tutorial video with Kim Kardashian West, YouTube (August 2017); Ashley&Angelique, still from product review video of the Fenty Beauty Galaxy Eye Palette, YouTube (October 2017)