The Makeup Trend We Didn’t See Coming (and No, We’re Not Talking About Soft Glam)

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For a while there it really seemed like 2022 was going to be the year of soft glam. After saying goodbye to Euphoria and hello to Bridgerton, we were starting to see more minimal makeup looks popping up on our social feeds. Thanks to pearlcore and the “clean girl aesthetic” on TikTok, pink lids, rosy cheeks and glowing skin were everywhere. But recently another Y2K trend caught our eye: rockstar makeup.

Ok, What Is “Rockstar Makeup”?

This makeup trend goes by many names. Whether you call it “soft grunge,” “rockstar girlfriend aesthetic” or “rockstar makeup,” they all mirror the same edgy style: smoky eyes, bold lashes and deeply contoured cheeks. In short, it’s the complete opposite of the prim and proper looks you’ve seen with soft glam. Add a wolf haircut and a leather jacket and the whole rockstar package is complete.

Why Is It So Popular?

Inspired by the punk scene of the early ‘00s (and the '70s before that), celebs like Bella Hadid and Megan Fox have been bringing these looks back to the red carpet. Of course, the trend then made its way over to TikTok, where creators have been borrowing further inspo from "rockstar girlfriends" like Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Kourtney Kardashian.

Since the pandemic, we’ve been trying bolder liner looks and adding statement blush to our repertoires, so bringing back the edgy smoky eye seems like par for the course.

We also can’t forget the massive influence ‘00s pop culture and the early days of social media (i.e. Tumblr and Myspace) had on our collective style. And after spending a few years mostly indoors, we want to relive those carefree and experimental times again. Case in point: Even punk hair, cutout dresses and our favorite artists have made a comeback this year (which proves to our moms that our emo days weren’t just a phase).

How To Wear The “Rockstar” Look:

When it comes to this trend, there’s no need to be overly crisp or precise with your makeup application. One of the many reasons it’s become so popular is because of how freeing it is. But to help get you started, TikTok creator Shayne Marie recreated Emma Chamberlain’s red carpet look from the Oscar’s, so you can follow along and become a rockstar at home.

  1. Apply a neutral eyeshadow (like mauve or taupe) to your entire lid. Next, apply some gold or silver shimmer to the center of your lid. The messier, the better.
  2. Grab a pencil eyeliner and draw on a simple cat eye. It’s up to you how dramatic you want the tail to be. Go ahead and unleash your inner Julia Fox if you want to.
  3. Use a small blending brush to smudge the line.
  4. Go over the newly smudged cat eye again with a liquid eyeliner this time to really make things pop.
  5. Apply a darker eyeshadow (like black, brown or blue) along the outer edges of your lid and just above your cat eye flick.
  6. Use the liquid eyeliner to define the inner corners of your eyes and the pencil eyeliner for the rest of your water line. Gently smudge the color with the blending brush.
  7. Apply a light shimmer to the center of your waterline, across your brow bone and onto the inner corners of your eyes.
  8. Sweep on a voluminous mascara to bring out both the top and bottom lashes.
  9. Complete the look with a nude pink lip.

OK, time to jam out to some My Chemical Romance.

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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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