I was born in 1996, which means I’m truly on the cusp of being a millennial and being part of Gen Z. I’m technically a millennial, but I’ve always felt a bit lost between the two generations—too young to identify with many millennial calling cards (I’ve never understood the affinity for side parts), but too old to feel at home in Generation Z. As a makeup lover, I’ve officially decided to embrace my younger side since the Gen Z makeup trends right now are just too good to pass up.
Gen Z is following a whole new set of rules when it comes to makeup. “Millennials focused on being maximalists with the baking, coverage, and heavy over-the-top lashes,” says celebrity makeup artist Melissa Hurkman. “Gen Z has taken the opposite approach and brought us back down to a minimalist approach to makeup.”
The younger generation has fully embraced glowy skin, strategic pops of color, and makeup that enhances natural features. The new generation isn’t afraid of taking risks and playing around with makeup, which is what makes the trends so fun. Check out our favorite Gen Z makeup trends below, according to celebrity makeup artists.
Face contouring is so millennial. Make way for lip contouring—Gen Z’s answer to achieving fuller, more enhanced lips. Stila Beauty Director Charlie Riddle explains that lip contouring is shaping your lips by using lip liners that match your lip tone. Try just overlining the Cupid’s bow and the very center of your bottom lips for a natural look.
This fresh take on millennial cat eyes is a defining makeup trend for Gen Z. Think of fox eyes as toned-down cat eyes. You can achieve fox eyes with black eyeliner, but many opt for a brown shade for a softer appearance. “For the wing, it’s important to emphasize elongating your eye, so the direction and shape of the wing should be small, going straight out toward the temple,” says Hurkman. You can add a flick of eyeliner to your inner corner to make your eye look even more elongated.
Riddle and fashion and celebrity makeup artist Gilbert Soliz agree that reverse cat eyes are big for Gen Z. For perfect reverse cat eyes, “the focus lies along the lower lash line and wings out at the end,” says Soliz.
As a natural freckle face, I’ve never been happier for freckles to be trending. If you don’t have natural freckles, dotting on your own has never been more common. According to celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon, this trend is “so much fun to apply, gives the skin a dose of youth (in my opinion) and can help hide an annoying blemish.”
Unlike generations before them, Gen Z is not afraid to incorporate color into their makeup. You can go for a super-bold look with vivid color, but Hurkman recommends going for a more minimal variation by going for a light wash of color on your lids in a shade like mint, lavender, or blue.
For Gen Z, it’s all about blush and lots of it. If you really want to channel the younger generation, try a different approach when it comes to application. “We are seeing a much higher application, closer to the under eye and further toward the temples to lift the face,” says Hurkman.
Blush is no longer confined to cheeks. When placed strategically, blush can help warm up the entire face. Try dabbing a pop of rosy red blush on the tip of your nose for a “fresh wind flush,” recommends Soliz.
Fresh, dewy skin is a cornerstone of Gen Z makeup trends. The key is to choose makeup products that enhance your skin rather than going for mattifying, more full-coverage options. Aharon and Hurkman recommend skin tints for a gleaming finish.
Take a cue from Gen Z and throw your application rules out the window by applying blush and contour first. Use foundation on top to blend everything together. “It’s a trick that I’ve used for applying blush for years,” says Aharon. “It gives the effect of your blush coming through the skin rather than sitting on top.”
Create a “lip-stained effect with a heavier product placement in the middle and then [go] over the lips with a clear gloss for a glass-like stained effect,” says Riddle. The end result looks like you just ate a Popsicle in the best way possible.