Crowd Shortcuts: Bad Beauty

Crowd Shortcuts – a quick chat about something that’s caught our attention. This week, the bad beauty revolution…

What’s all this then? People deliberately applying ‘bad’ makeup, posting it online, and dismantling conventional beauty ideals in the process. Think grey lipstick, green freckles and influencers glueing baubles to their eyelids. 

Sounds messy. What’s wrong with a flash of red lippy? Quite a bit, it turns out. Bad beauty is there to disrupt old-fashioned beauty standards and make us think twice about concepts like learned attractiveness. 

Gotcha, but how is it different from any other beauty trend? It’s more than just a new ‘look’. The question of what makes bad beauty bad is rooted in the dismissal of an entire industry. Although trends of attractiveness ricochet through the beauty world and are always evolving – there are certain rules that have remained fixed when it comes to the idea of ‘attractiveness’. Bad beauty bluntly rejects that with its absolute disruption of makeup’s dos and don’ts. 

Fun! Exactly, the rules are well and truly out the window. Each look is unique, and no one post is the same.

So the opposite of ‘selfie face’? Yep, that’s a good way of looking at it. Bad beauty’s irregularity jars with the uniform that we’re used to seeing on social media: big lips, wide-open eyes, and feature-enhancing makeup perfectly applied. 

I’ve just clumped my eyelashes together – am I ready? Absolutely. Just be aware that things are moving away from being solely concerned with defying conventionality. Bad beauty is also about inhabiting spheres of expression that extend beyond the limits of binaries and societal constructs (you look lovely, by the way).

Ah, so it’s not really ‘bad’ then. More ‘transgressive’ beauty? Sure, but that’s not as catchy. There is a shift, though, toward influencers applying bad makeup as a way of transgressing boundaries of gender, race and sexuality. It’s becoming more about expressions of total honesty, and the power that comes from ownership of personal narratives.

TL;DR: Bad beauty is so much more than aggressively clashing eyeshadow and offensively bright lip liner. It’s a new-wave beauty movement that goes against the grain and chooses self expression over conventional attractiveness.