My relationship with makeup didn't blossom into a full-blown romance until I was about 20, so trying new beauty trends remained a scary concept for a long time. Back in high school, I had no faith in my own makeup application skills (which, based on how my eyeliner looked throughout most of those years, was pretty valid). I worried that I couldn't "pull off" certain looks I was lusting after, remaining terrified of trying anything that might make me stand out in a crowd. These reasons combined with my limited arsenal of beauty products discouraged me from taking beauty risks in those younger years. And my hair chalk, false lashes, and yellow eyeshadow never saw the light of the day.
Thankfully, a lot has changed in the time since. As a beauty writer and a more fully formed human who loves to stand out, I'm always experimenting with new looks. Turning beauty into a career has definitely helped eradicate my inhibitions surrounding makeup. But most importantly, I have begun deconstructing a lot of ideas concerning "beauty rules" and what's "flattering."
Loving myself and developing my own take on beauty has allowed me to appreciate it more and feel empowered when trying new things. Here are just some of the ways to feel more comfortable when trying a new beauty trend.
1. Try It For A Night In
Sometimes the best way to get comfortable with something is by taking it for a solo test drive — like on a night when you aren't going anywhere. I often like to set aside alone time for trying out a myriad of different beauty looks with my newer products, and particularly for the less conventional looks (hello, sparkly green eyebrows).
Showcasing the look to myself only — in a setting where I don't have to worry about the judgment of others — helps me form a more honest opinion about the look in question while also establishing a stronger foundation of body positivity. Because I'm a sensitive human, getting less than glowing reviews about a look I'm trying out for the first time feels particularly scathing. If I didn't take the time to talk myself up and take a bunch of cute selfies in the look first, it's even worse. Even if I ultimately decide not to wear the makeup in public, at least I'll have a bunch of cute selfies to use for my stories and social media.
2. Try Out The Looks With A Friend
Showing your new look to others doesn't have to threaten or compromise your body positivity. I enjoy going through some of my newer products with my partner or friends, particularly if all of us are equally new to the trend and/or inexperienced in makeup application.
This time can be incredibly fun, explorative, and — if your friends are as sweet as mine — filled with confidence-boosting comments. Having a good buddy and fellow body pos human enlighten me with the most mindful and creative observations helps me muster the confidence needed to rock the trend out and about.
3. Watch Beauty Tutorials
There are very few beauty trends that are completely out of your reach. But some of them (like contouring) can be daunting in their complexity and amount of steps. If you're at all unsure about application, it could be useful to check out tutorials online. Doing your makeup with the guidance of a beauty vlogger can actually be fun and relaxing.
If, however, it stresses you out and the instructional is infuriatingly inaccessible in terms of your wallet or abilities, just relax and take a step back. Beauty should be fun and body positive, not discouraging.
4. Accept The Flaws In Your Execution
It's pretty unrealistic to strive for perfection with anything, including (and especially) beauty. Oftentimes what we perceive as "perfect" stems from mainstream standards and so-called rules that are both oppressive in their specificity and obsolete in their ever-changing definitions. Your makeup might not look exactly like that of the vlogger on your laptop screen, but you still look beautiful. Embrace your imperfections, and strive for loving any mistakes you might make.
5. Forget "Flattering"
I used to avoid lipstick out of fear that it would make my lips look thinner. I also avoided the bold brow trend out of fear that it wouldn't be flattering amongst by naturally lighter features. But as I learned to embrace body positivity, these beliefs firmly began to seem silly.
I love how I look in dark lippies, and I rock a bold brow almost every day. I've abandoned ideas of "flattering" and recognized them as a body negative part of my past. Now I feel comfortable trying any beauty trend, even if it's "weird" according to the beauty standards of other people.
6. Forget Beauty Rules
Beauty rules regarding lipstick colors, hair maintenance, and even blending have always been huge nuisances in my life. As a stubborn human who naturally hates invisible red tape and is a bit clumsy at applying makeup, I've broken more beauty rules than those I've followed.
Plucking my eyebrows, blending eye products "properly," and avoiding colors that supposedly wash me out just weren't for me. These so-called beauty rules are super limiting, and can negatively impact whatever enjoyment you might get out of trying a new trend. Keep in mind how little these rules mean (since they seem to evolve year by year) and just do you.
7. Don't Be Afraid To Make Alterations
Sometimes trends can be a little extreme. For someone who doesn't experiment with them often or prefers a more conservative beauty look, there's nothing wrong with altering a look so that it feels more "you."
Interested in wild brows but not so into going as bold as your favorite gold eyeliner? Consider dusting some primer and loose glitter into your brows. Intrigued by colored mascara but hesitant about how you might look with green eyelashes? Channel a little of that wild color into a winged eyeliner instead. Beauty trends are fun to try, but being comfortable is an essential part of enjoying them.
8. Try Combining A Look With Other Trends
If you're reluctant to try a certain trend or happen to think it's not particularly exciting, try combining it with another one! Personally, I'm big on bold makeup and sometimes feel the need to look even more peculiar or alien-like than usual. Mixing bold-colored eyebrows with an unconventional lip or matching your eyelashes to your gloss might sound odd. But based on personal experience, it's "odd" in the best of ways.
9. Don't Be Afraid To Explore Trends You Formerly Condemned
I used to hate pink lipstick more than anything in the beauty realm, because the color always struck me as inherently feminine, and made me feel at odds with my genderqueer identity. But recently, I gave pink lips another shot, putting a queer twist on the hue. I actually ended up loving what I came up with.
As my body positivity expands, as well as my understanding of gender, I find that I've been changing my mind about the trends I once felt so negatively about.
Experimenting with beauty trends should be fun and explorative. And the best way to go about these new endeavors often involves letting go of your inhibitions as well as your previously held beliefs about what's "flattering" or not.
My advice? Take a plunge into some of these new looks. And hey, if you really don't like what you see, you're only a makeup wipe swipe away from a fresh face and a new start.
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Images: Meg Zulch