6 Millennial Beauty Trends We Can’t Get Enough of in 2023

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Like so many other millennials, we grew up with the inception of YouTube, where we watched hours of eyeshadow tutorials, curl-scrunching methods and concealer hacks. Many years (and many social platforms) later, millennials now find themselves walking a tightrope between wearing their hair and makeup the way they’re used to and getting bullied by Gen Z peers for their choices. Be it scalp skincare or thinner brows, find out which beauty trends appeal most to millennials below.

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Meet the Experts

1. Gunmetal Eyes

From moody runway looks to celebs showcasing their smoldering lids on the red carpet, ’90s grunge is kicking down the door (with biker boots) this year. “It was all the rage when older millennials were in high school, and we're seeing it re-emerge in a more sophisticated way now,” says Patinkin. And what’s more grunge than challenging old norms? To reimagine the trend for 2023, Patinkin tells us to trade the textbook grunge “smudge of greasy, opaque black product” with “cooler, gunmetal, grey and silver tones, applied just one color at a time.” When brushing on the product, focus on “diffusing it on the lid for a softer look.” adds Patinkin. In our rush to ready ourselves for a date or drinks with friends, a swipe of grey shadow is just the amount of effort we’re looking to expend. 

2. Highly-Groomed Brows

Thin arches are back. Before you recoil at the recollection of your sparse high-school brows, hear us out. In a step back from the heavy, over-filled and over-fluffed brows we were seeing in the years preceding, Healy tells us millennials are favoring a more groomed look. To achieve what he calls a “compact brow,” ease into it by trimming longer hairs. “This allows you to get a thinner, more polished look without sacrificing the hair follicles,” Healy explains. “Other ways to achieve the look are by tapering the tails of your brows so they’re a bit finer or removing one row of hairs directly underneath the arch of the brow.” And no matter what you do, please step away from that magnified mirror when plucking. 

3. Underpainting

While we’re not willing to part with our beloved buccal fat, we do love the look of sculpted cheeks. Whereas before, many millennials relied on heavy contouring to create more definition in their faces, we’ve now been introduced to a new technique called underpainting, courtesy of celeb makeup artist Mary Phillips. Underpainting offers a subtler take on contouring wherein you apply any contouring and highlighting products pre-foundation. In other words, you switch the order of application.

“Not only does it help to naturally define your features, but it also provides more flexibility for those who may be new to makeup application. It’s a foolproof method to achieve a defined look with minimal effort,” says Fortier. To give it a go, she advises “applying concealer to the under eyes, center of chin, bridge of nose, and forehead with your fingers or a brush.” Without blending, follow up with your contouring shade (Fortier prefers cream or liquid products that melt into the skin). Then, top everything off with a light layer of foundation and blend it all together. “You are essentially blending your concealer, contour and foundation together for a more cohesive look.” says Fortier. 

4. Scalp Microbiome Care

Millennials are known as a people-pleasing bunch, busy peppering work emails with exclamation marks and starting sentences with “sorry.” All that stress means we often look to our beauty routines to service our wellbeing in ways that go beyond our outward appearance. Enter: scalp microbiome care, which helps us slow down our usual harried showers and has the bonus effect of improving our hair health. “A major contributing factor of scalp conditions is inflammation, which could be due to poor scalp and hair cleansing, using the wrong products or other underlying medical conditions. When in balance, the scalp microbiome can defend against and recover from aggression,” shares Dr. Farhang. The latest crop of scalp skincare, from vitamin-rich serums to soothing scrubs, aim to do just that by bringing our crown chemistry back into equilibrium.

5. Supercharged Sunscreens

It’s taken us years to track down a mineral sunscreen that doesn’t leave a chalky residue. And while wearing SPF daily affords us a great sense of pride, Dr. Farhang says millennials can expect even more from our sun protection products this year. She tells us brands are building newer, souped-up formulas filled with retinol alternatives and skin barrier-restoring ingredients. After all, why go for the bare minimum when there’s a sunscreen out there that can help clear acne or even out skin tone? Look out for key add ins like antioxidants, niacinamide, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which are featured in several new ‘screens.

6. Skin Flooding

Winter weather can cause a host of skin issues. For some, this shows up as dry patches, flaking and tightness. This explains why millennials are turning to “skin flooding,” which now has three million views on TikTok, to bring some much-needed moisture back to their complexions. The trend, which according to Dr. Dray isn’t anything new, “aims at improving water content in the skin by layering lightweight products onto damp skin. It enhances penetration of ingredients that are aimed at improving water-holding ability,” the derm adds. 

Here’s how it’s done: cleanse your skin as you normally would, but rather than drying it off with a towel, slather on a hydrating serum or two directly onto damp skin (some proponents of the method mist their skin with thermal water spray for an added boost after washing). To lock in all that good stuff, add a thick moisturizer with occlusive properties like butters and waxes on top. Dr. Dray warns against layering too many mists and products when skin flooding, especially when dealing with conditions like rosacea and eczema as it can further irritate the skin. To play it safe no matter your skin type, check in with your dermatologist before switching up your skincare.

purewow author

Senior Social Strategy & Trends Editor

From 2017-2023 Michaela Magliochetti held the role of Senior Social Strategy & Trends Editor covering wellness, horoscopes, trends and more.