Why I’m Over Cool Girl Makeup

Written by Jessica Brite

I am sitting at my desk getting ready for the day ahead, I have a decision to make. To the left of me is my set of acrylic drawers filled with loose glitters, colorful eyeliners, blinding highlighters, rainbow eyeshadow palettes, and bold lipsticks. To my right, a makeup bag with sheer blush, neutral bronzer, brow gel, mascara, and nude lipstick. Though my creative heart yearns to play with color and glitter, I knew that a more natural look was more in line with what “cool girls” wore. A bold lip and a thick liner would make me look like I tried too hard compared to the girls whose skin radiated an inner glow and whose natural lips were accentuated by a layer of balm. 

Every season, makeup trends come and go, but the fresh-faced makeup look is, seemingly, here to stay. In the summer of 2018, the internet was loaded with “no-makeup makeup tutorials,” much of which consisted of minimal products like light coverage foundation, cream blush, and mascara. Though the winter of 2018 brought back the matte skin craze and dark lipstick, the natural makeup look was revived early on in 2019 at the Spring fashion shows. Designers like Christian Siriano, Pamella Roland, and Michael Kors, had their models in minimal fresh-faced makeup looks giving the appearance of flawless skin and slightly flushed cheeks. Since then, the “cool girl” trend has broken through and it seems like everyone’s taken to the liking of dewy-natural makeup, and flushed cheeks. Though we’ve transitioned from summer vacation and into the academic fall semester, everyone still seems to be frozen in the trend. 

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Cool girl makeup emanates confidence, through its embodiment of flawless skin and subtle pops of color. Makeup artists and beauty influencers like Katie Jane Hughes, Mariah Leonard, and Sarah Feingold personify this trend. Their looks are mainly based on quite a luminous light base with some sort of subtle accent, ranging from glossy lids to graphic liners with gem accents but most importantly, a perfect face. Slowly, this trend is beginning to saturate the feeds of influencers and the daily routines of everyday makeup users.

While this “cool girl” look is ideal for everyday wear and easy application, it is rather inaccessible for those who don’t have the same slim face, defined structures, and clear skin as these influencers. For many, a full coverage base and heavy bronzer are what makes them feel confident rather than the dewy “no makeup-makeup” look that influencers portray as a standard of beauty. Just because someone is rocking a fully beat and baked face does not mean they are insecure, it’s just how they prefer to express themselves. Personally, a dewy look turns me into an oily mess, and without the help of bronzer my facial features all mush into one. 


Makeup is an art form that can be personalized to everyone’s own needs and personality. This natural makeup trend that we are going through seems to be a step back from accepting it as art and negates it as an art form. To be frank, I’m bored of this natural makeup phase. I want to be able to sit at my desk in the morning and reach for the yellow eyeliner instead of the plain black one. I want to put on a deep purple lip without feeling like someone is going to be judging me harshly for rocking it. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable using makeup in the way that best suits them and their creativity, rather than simply mocking the trend they see on Instagram and the runways. While makeup is universal, it is also important to remember that not every look will work for every person. 


In a world where we claim to celebrate individuality, it is important to respect others’ decisions to represent themselves in an artistic form. When I first started wearing more unique makeup looks, I felt ashamed for looking too “extra” and discouraged by others’ judgmental looks, to step outside of my comfort zone. While the trend embraces pops of color that add an extra flair, some prefer to wear full eye looks that showcase their talents. Colorful makeup transcends a single pink liner, it can be a perfectly blended out purple smokey eye, a sunset cut crease, or even a cow inspired design. Makeup is more than a trivial thing; it is a craft that some people have spent so long to perfect and that hard work and dedication should be recognized in the open and not hidden away. The art of blending out a crease to perfection and cutting it with a crisp line of concealer will forever impress me. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look fresh-faced if that's your personal style and what makes you comfortable. But there are so many possibilities with makeup and every avenue should be explored if a person is inclined to do so. So next time I get ready in the morning, I know that I will be breaking through the basics and rocking whatever look I feel my creative juices gravitating towards.


The Avenue Magazine