The 19 Biggest Beauty Trends of the 2010s

They might have only just ended, but the 2010s were riddled with beauty trends you have probably already forgotten (even if your Facebook memories try their hardest not to let you). Beauty has always been a means of self-expression, but thanks to social media, it became even more of a space to make a statement, large or small. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest became a go-to source to discover new ideas, reveal new haircuts, swap recommendations, and share opinions on the latest looks, for better or worse. Thanks to this newfound democratization of trends, beauty also became increasingly more inclusive, with many brands embracing people of color and different body types, as well as genderless products.

Of course, celebrities were at the forefront of many 2010s trends, including one famous family in particular. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the Kardashian-Jenners’ (often controversial) contributions to the industry. (We named Kim one of the 21 women who defined style in the decade for a reason.) You’ll see them pop up several times in this list, along with other influential names like Rihanna and Cara Delevingne. 

So as we set our sights on new 2020 looks to conquer, it’s officially time to pause and remember some of the best—and best-to-forget—looks, products, and techniques that took over the previous decade. Some might be long gone (we hardly knew ye, strobing), but others, like clean beauty, have surpassed "trend” to become movements that we’ll continue to see in the industry for years to come. 


1. Celebrity Beauty Brands


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Celebs have been putting their names on fragrances for decades, but in the 2010s, the branding bubble exploded. Kylie Cosmetics made Kylie Jenner a billionaire, while Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty became a best seller at Sephora, largely thanks to the brand’s inclusive and extensive shade ranges.

2. Contouring


(Image credit: @kimkardashian)

The concept of using makeup to exaggerate and visually sharpen the angles on one’s face using different shades of makeup, contouring skyrocketed in popularity thanks, again, to Kim Kardashian West, who shared her technique on Instagram.

3. Strobing


(Image credit: Getty Images)

The shiny stepsister to contouring, strobing involved piling on the highlighter to play up the cheekbones, as Gigi Hadid demonstrated at a 2015 event. 

4. BB and CC Cream

5. Going Fresh-Faced


(Image credit: @drewbarrymore)

Toward the end of the decade, makeup became more subdued as people started eschewing overdone looks in favor of going natural—or even sans makeup altogether, which BFFs Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz did in this gorgeous selfie.

6. Full Brows


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Everyone put down their tweezers (and began cringing at their overly groomed early aughts brows), thanks to brow-endowed celebs like Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins.


1. Braids


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pinterest opened our eyes to a wide world of braids we never knew existed before—from fishtails to Dutch braids to braided headbands.

2. Colorful Hair


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Beginning around 2012, it became a rite of passage for every celeb to dye their hair a different shade of the rainbow.

3. Ombré Hair Color


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another Pinterest-fueled obsession, legions of women suddenly let their hair get dramatically lighter from root to tip on purpose, inspired by the likes of Chrissy Teigen.

4. The Lob


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Long bobs became the HOTM (haircut of the moment) starting around 2016 when celebs like Nina Dobrev started making the chop.


1. Going Under the Needle


(Image credit: @kyliejenner)

As Botox, fillers, and other procedures became more common, they also became less taboo. Kylie Jenner first admitted to getting lip fillers in 2015 (and dissolving them three years later), while sister Kim Kardashian West even shares her visits to dermatologist to the stars Simon Ourian with her millions of followers. 

2. Clean Beauty


(Image credit: Courtesy brands)

Transparency in beauty has also extended to product formulas, with consumers seeking out nontoxic beauty alternatives stripped of potentially harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and even fragrances. From Tata Harper’s naturally sourced serum to Kopari’s organic coconut oil, there’s a "clean" product for every need.

3. Sheet Masks


(Image credit: @karliekloss)

Another K-beauty import, single-use, serum-soaked masks became a skincare—and selfie—staple.

4. Jade Rollers

5. Sun-Conscious Skin


1. Nail Art


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

From subtle accent nails to all-out extra manis, our nails became tiny canvases to express ourselves on (and post on Instagram in #clawpose).

2. Talon Nails


(Image credit: @zendaya)

These long, pointy acrylics looked cool AF but had us wondering how Kylie, Khloé, Zendaya, and all the other celebs who wore them actually did anything while wearing them.


1. The Cult Fragrance

2. Essential Oils

Still feeling nostalgic? Up next: These Are the Biggest Fashion Trends From the Last Decade.

Freelance Contributor

Lindy Segal is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. She's originally from Atlanta, but she's sorry to report she doesn't have an accent. However, she does still have her taste for carbohydrates, love of losing sports teams, and fear of driving during rush hour. She's been in editorial for over eight years as a social media manager and writer covering beauty, fashion, and lifestyle at Glamour and People. Most recently, she was the women's editor at Express. These days, in addition to Who What Wear, you can see her byline at places like Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Ipsy, and WeWork. Both a skincare obsessive and a minimalist, she keeps her routine short, sweet, and effective—and she doesn't go a day without sunscreen. She's also deeply passionate about sustainability, and she strives to recommend products she truly believes are worth the investment. When she's not writing about the best and brightest beauty finds, she can usually be found hunting for vintage and secondhand treasures, attempting to find zen at a yoga class, bingeing Bon Appétit YouTube videos, or napping under her weighted blanket.