From Hair to Nails, These Will Be 2023's Most Controversial Beauty Trends

Whether we decide to recognize it or not, there's no denying that at one point or another, we've all been faced with a decision: Do we want to participate in a trend? Whether a trend has true staying power or is fleeting may very well be the determining factor for many. For others, it could all boil down to understanding how and why something is trending in the first place. Dior's Lip Glow Oil, for example, dominated the TikTok For You Pages of beauty lovers everywhere for months (I own nearly every shade of it available) before completely selling out for a period of time, during which, other lesser-known lip oils and balms rose to the challenge of sparking the interest of Gen Z users.

While it's always fun to keep track of controversial trends as they come and go (seemingly at a lightning-speed pace), it's also useful to know what to keep an eye out for before a movement in the beauty industry becomes recognized as a trend. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to four individuals whose job is to see these trends and create a unique look for their clients. Read on to see which controversial trends beauty experts predict will make an appearance (or in some cases, a reappearance) in 2023.


(Image credit: @nikkilee901)

Metallic Eyes and Highlighting Powders

To better understand which controversial makeup trends may make an appearance in 2023, I reached out Tisha Thompson, founder of LYS Beauty. Specializing in clean beauty solutions for the everyday makeup wearer, Thompson has made it an ongoing mission to diversify the industry across every touchpoint from marketing representation to product innovation. In 2020, Thompson took a leap of faith to launch her own brand, becoming Sephora’s first Black-owned clean color cosmetics brand, LYS Beauty. The company specializes in clean, everyday formulas that satisfy that craving for coverage and performance while still offering the skin amazing benefits. 


(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

For Thompson, the most controversial beauty trend of the year will be glitter and metallic eyes and lip liners. "The pendulum is swinging back to the really artistic and expressive side of beauty, so while many are striving for that 'your complexion but better' look, it’s likely to be paired with a bold eye or lip to take it up a notch," Thompson says. The makeup artist also sees the rising popularity of another product: highlighting powders. "Highlighting powders have been shelved the last couple of years, but I do anticipate them making a comeback," she begins. "Dewy skin is still all the rave, and highlighter can be so helpful in creating a natural glow for those with normal to dry skin types."

While I'll always love the ease of being able to mix my liquid highlighters with my foundation of choice, I'm excited to try adding powder highlighters back into my makeup routine for some variation.

Minimalist Skincare

Skincare specialist Priscila Fadul is who I went to for answers about all things skincare for 2023. Having grown up in a family involved in the beauty industry for over 50 years, Fadul has been a beauty insider her entire life (her family worked on the exclusive distribution of top beauty brands such as L’Oréal, Shiseido, Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana, and more). She began her career with a strong background in the industry and is driven by her desire to solve the problems consumers are facing. Recently, Fadul founded Lendava, a skincare brand with the goal of providing a luxury, multistep skincare routine without relying on a high number of products for healthy skin. In other words, it's a unique, minimalistic approach to skincare.


(Image credit: @aysha.sow)

Fadul believes that this year, consumers will shop smarter, finally focusing on quality over quantity. "People want to invest in better products with scientific formulas that actually work and veer away from trendy ingredients," Fadul says. She also sees is skincare extending into bodycare with beauty routines indulging the entire body, "with the same skin-loving formulas as the face." Lastly, Fadul predicts that consumers and brands will move towards supporting sustainable beauty. "Whether it's using biotechnology to formulate products or switching to reusable packaging, our future should put less stress on the planet (and us)," she muses. 

The trend she hopes will make a comeback? Minimalist skincare routines. "The beauty industry has us believing that we need infinite products and steps in our routines, but regardless of age, skin type, or gender, all human skin requires the same things to be healthy," says Fadul. She also identified so major ingredients that should be part of a healthy skincare routine and are making more appearances in products. These include vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, peptides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and mineral SPF

"Absurdist" Chrome Nails

Meet Sonya Meesh, a New York City–based celebrity nail artist that's worked in celebrity, runway, commercial, and editorial spaces since 2014. Meesh also possesses a unique background in photography, ceramics, woodworking, sculpture, and glass, which they incorporate into their experimental manicure style. In addition to working with celebrities like A$AP Rocky, their work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Allure, and Vogue. What's more is that Meesh has created content for brands like Over Easy, Orly, Deborah Lippman, and Edie Parker Flower. 


(Image credit: @betina_goldstein)

In 2023, Meesh wants to see more absurdist nail tutorials or nails that absolutely have no business existing. "I think that nail charms and piercings will come back this year," they explain. "TikTok hasn’t had its day with piercings yet, but it'll be here any moment!" Could this mean an official departure from the chrome look we've been seeing everywhere? Don't throw away your chrome powder just yet; Meesh is all for its continued popularity. "I will continue to push the chrome agenda into 2023 and beyond, especially in really absurd ways. Think orbs or alien blobs on nails," says Meesh.

You've heard it here first: Chrome most likely isn't going anywhere this year; it just may be making appearances in less traditional ways everywhere you look. 

Sleek Blowouts and Warm Tones

For this year's most controversial hair trends, I turned to Rita Hazan, a New York–based hairstylist who's created looks for many celebs including Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Jessica Simpson. Known for her knack for making dark hair blonde without it becoming brassy or damaged, Hazan has launched a line of hair products and most recently opened a new salon location in NYC where they specialize in coloring and styling but also offer services in makeup, nails, and skincare.


(Image credit: @nikkilee901)

Hazan predicts that bangs will be the breakout hairstyle this year, in addition to sleek blowouts that are "not so layered and voluminous." Think effortless glam styles: with windswept tendrils, face-framing strands, and a lot of movement. She also thinks that natural tones will be making a major comeback in 2023. Hazan describes these as being, "easy, effortless hair color with multidimensional highlights in warm buttery, sun-kissed tones." This is a huge departure from one of the biggest trends over the summer of 2022: the resurgence of the bleach blonde. Whether this is due to the excitement around the upcoming release of Greta Gerwig's Barbie and the consequent exploration of Barbiecore on social media platform, it's clear that hair trends are taking a step towards embracing the all-natural.

Next: From Bobs to Wolf Cuts—10 Hair Trends We'll See on Our Favorite Celebs This Year

Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.