The year was 2009. You were invited to the movie theater to see 500 Days of Summer with a group of your high school pals. The occasion called for some makeup, a dusting of gold-flecked bronzer perhaps, or a generous smudge of black eyeliner. But you didn’t feel put together without one more thing: a swipe of concealer across your lips.
Much to our embarrassment when uncovering old mirror selfies, millennials were taken with concealer lips at the end of the 2000s. Revealed to Gen Z via a TikTok filter called “Makeup Back to 2008,” the cosmetic choice was met with confusion and cringe. How, the younger generation asks, did we decide that concealer was a supreme stand-in for lipstick? We pose three theories here.