Bags of Beauty: Why is the new make-up trend causing a divide in the online community?

Posted on 21 January 2021
By Isi Cairns
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In a world of Photoshop perfection and Insta-worthy glamour, an unexpected trend has appeared and is dividing opinion amongst faithful followers of fashion.

The mid-2010’s saw beauty trends reaching Barbie-doll like perfection, with full-coverage faces and crazy contouring being the skills to hone.

However, this all changed as the closing months of 2020 saw make-up artists opting for more natural and stripped back looks – one of which is embracing a feature we love to hate: eye bags.

TikTok users have been reacting and sharing their thoughts on the trend. This new beauty fad has gained traction over the past few weeks, with one of the most popular videos racking up an impressive 6.7 million views and 1 million likes.

The video in question features a young female applying a brown contour crayon under her eyes, joyfully lip-syncing to a remix of Greek Tragedy by English indie band The Wombats, before smudging it into her skin, achieving a blurred haze under her eyes not dissimilar to the dark circles many of us know and love (kind of).

The video also gained over thirty thousand comments, with some viewers praising the original creator of the video for starting the trend, and others seemingly upset that their insecurities were now suddenly being deemed “fashionable”.

One user wrote: “Are we finally making this a trend? I’m gonna cry. Praise God I am so happy, my bags are huge.”

Another disgruntled TikTok viewer stated: “I did not spend 18 years trying to cover these up for them to become trendy.”

And as a more seemingly exasperated user simply put it: “This is the most dramatic generation ever.”

So, how come this shift in the ideal standards of beauty has caused such a rift in this corner of the internet?

Although this fake dark circle trend seems as though people may finally be embracing their insecurities and imperfections, to some it may seem like more than that.

Dark under eyes can be caused by lack of sleep, dehydration, age, and genetics, and sometimes can even be triggered by stressful episodes or certain medication.

Some may feel that by others painting on these circles, they are turning people’s struggles into nothing more than a fashion trend, hence rendering them soon to be discarded and forgotten.

For centuries women have been subject to incessant marketing and ad campaigns over what “beauty” really looks like.

Whether it’s been trying to make parts of ourselves smaller, or bigger, or lighter or darker, sometimes these standards can feel simply unrealistic or even impossible to achieve.

But others may see it as a sign of never being good enough. Never being able to keep up with society’s ever-changing idea of what is acceptable or not.

As fashions and trends disappear as quickly as they arrive, somehow we are all expected to keep up with them with no mind for the consequences this can take on one’s mind and body.

This, along with social media has caused us to compare ourselves like never before and has been found in research many times to be a contributor to people having a negative view of themselves.

One study conducted in 2018 at York University in Toronto asked participants to take a selfie on an iPad and post it to Facebook.

One group could only take a single picture before uploading it to Facebook, and the other group was allowed to take as many selfies as they liked as well as being allowed to retouch the photo using editing software before posting.

The results found that all participants reported feeling less confident and less attractive after posting the selfie than when they walked into the study – including the group who were allowed to retouch their images as much as they liked.

Speaking to BBC Future, the psychologist conducting the experiment, Jennifer Mills, had this to say about the results: “Even though they can make the end result look ‘better’, they still are focused on aspects of what they don’t like about the way they look.”

We can take from this – that fleeting trends and fashions come and go and we will still always have parts of ourselves we don’t like and want to change. We can’t help that – we’re only human.

But now, more than ever it’s so important to utilise style and fashion as a tool to bring out the best in ourselves and what makes us feel most confident.

Overall, in terms of how fashion trends go, this is hardly one of the most destructive. Although it is undoubtedly exhausting trying to constantly change ourselves to fit in with societal norms, going back to basics and exposing our flaws and imperfections (whether drawn on or not) and celebrating them, may be a welcome shake-up for how society views beauty and perfection in the future.

Get involved and tell us what you think of this new make-up technique, will you be trying it? Let us know on social media: @PurpleRevolver @iacairns97