Faux Dark Circles? Are Beauty Trends Starting To Go Too Far?

TikTok introduced faux dark circles, have we finally lost the run of ourselves?


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Lately, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy by actually getting out of the house, taking my dear old dog for a walk, attempting to exercise with the help of YouTube, playing with makeup and further attempts at cooking up a storm (which I can’t say for sure that Gordon Ramsey would be too impressed with, but that’s a story for another time).

Of course, some days all of the above fails, and I find my self yet again scrolling through each and every social media app that I have on my phone. It was one of these times, as I sat cosied up, eyes glued to my phone as if I was entranced, that I came across well-known Irish makeup artist and beauty brand owner Keilidh Cashell talking about one makeup trend that I really couldn’t get my head around: faking dark circles and under-eye bags.

It was then where I had a real Carrie Bradshaw moment and couldn’t help but wonder… why?!

Keilidh herself chatted about it on her own Instagram Stories, sharing that she has seen a lot of this trend on TikTok, explaining further that while most of us wouldn’t care to highlight the bags under our eyes, there are some people out there who find it attractive, so much so that they’ll add further steps in their makeup routine to fake it.

I delved a little further and came across one TikTok video that was a tutorial on how to achieve dark circles. No, it didn’t include cutting your sleeping time in half and trying to survive off coffee as you would expect. But it showed a popular TikTok-er adding what I presumed was a cream contouring product just under her eyes, parallel to the bridge of her nose and blending it outwards. The result was, exactly what you would expect this time, emphasised dark circles that some people would be using product after product to try to banish.

@saracarstenshope this helped you find beauty in your insecurities (: #eyebags #darkcircles♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

This one video, at the time I saw it, had over 1.1 million likes. Not even views, but likes. I’m taking that as a hint that these 1.1 million people are basically on board with this trend. People were quick to praise the video, sharing their views that these so-called flaws should be celebrated, which I can completely get on board with, but adding additional steps to your routine to create a more tired look, in general, goes completely over my head.

And faux circles aren’t alone – you also might be seeing people online doing a foundation challenge that involves using nearly a whole bottle of the stuff that quite frankly makes me gag, or makeup artists putting a blueish red lipstick (yes, lipstick) under their eyes to colour correct before concealer – a wholly unnecessary step that just reeks of having too much time on your hands – and perhaps too much money.

I’m a big fan of beauty products and the big world of beauty in general, so I like to think that I can admire an ‘out-there’ makeup look as much as the next gal. At this stage, we’ve all seen a lot of beauty trends come and go. A few which spring to mind that literally send a shiver down my spine include foundation lips (honestly, what were we thinking?), pencil-thin brows and as much black liner as the waterline could take. But still, people can pull off certain trends from decades in 2021 and it will suit them down to the ground: Let’s just leave foundation lips where they belong, shall we?

Reverting back to my Carrie Bradshaw moment, I thought of where these beauty trends stem from. Surely, it can’t be as simple as one person rocking a floating liner, then the majority of the world jumping on board?

As recent as 30 years ago, even 15-20 years ago, the majority of trends came from the capable hands of those who painted the faces of world-renowned celebrities, looks straight from the catwalk and the red carpet. Back then, they were easy to keep track of. Even these three words: ‘smudged smokey eyes’ will make you think of nineties Kate Moss. But in the last few years, while we can still associate certain trends with certain people (we know that we can thank Mario Dedivanovic for Kim K’s prominent contouring routine), beauty trends are getting more difficult to attribute and keep track of.

The beauty industry is constantly changing, and it’s changing faster than ever before thanks to the speed of how trends come and go online. Trends, both beauty and non-beauty related seem to be surfacing from another realm of the internet altogether, until they’re spotted on various different platforms, from Instagram to TikTok.

The more wearable trends, such as the pastel moment of summer 2020 and back to basics beauty, are stemming from some of the more popular beauty influencers. While the more ‘out there’ trends are those which seem to pop up on the likes of Instagram and TikTok from nowhere at all, such as the eye bags and dark circles trend.

We all know that social media platforms, in general, can be a breeding ground for insecurities, whether physical or otherwise, the two go hand in hand. This seems to be able to play into beauty trends that start off online. For example, taking the many tutorials we see various forms of contouring and methods of concealing: or Clown Contouring, to choose just the one (where multiple shades of concealer are used to map out the face, resembling clown makeup before it’s all blended together).


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Many people can be insecure over their skin, whether they’re dealing with acne, redness, blemishes, or all of the above. We all know that perfect skin is just something that many of us chase after, rather than achieve, but the surge of seeing the ‘perfect’ skin all over Instagram, teamed with trends such as Clown Contouring, can really send our insecurities around the bend.

The same big bouncy curls, the glam makeup, the ‘perfect’ bodies: All portrayed in an effortless sense, with the pretence that all this glam takes no effort at all. In the last couple of years ‘Instagram vs Real Life’ took off on Instagram, with that, what followed was an almost resurrection of actual life shown on Instagram rather than the perfected images. From people showing their real skin, pores and all, to sharing their own insecurities.

The one thing to keep in mind is that trends will continuously come and go, and if you want to partake in the latest trends then you do you.

Whether you want to try smudged lip liner or graphic, neon eyes, even going as far as the dark circles trend, just to see what it’s like. But many of these trends may stem from insecurities and how the beauty industry can easily target our insecurities to encourage us to ‘fix’ them.

Remember that nothing needs to be ‘fixed’, so by all means find out what suits you and what you’d like to incorporate into your beauty routine. At the end of the day, whether it’s about what you want to wear, out on your face, eat, drink or spend your time on, you do you, boo.


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