fbpixel Beauty in focus: 2023 trend projections. - MG Empower
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Written by - Saoirse Cleary

Beauty in focus: 2023 trend projections.


In the world of beauty, 2022 was the year of juxtapositions and micro trends. Fluffy brows competed with the revival of super thin Y2K brows (if you’re a millennial, the re-emergence of this trend will no doubt make you shudder), whilst bleached brows were donned by the Kardashian clan, the Hadids and Julia Fox on the red carpet and in editorial spreads. You were as likely to see ‘clean girl’ aesthetics and passport makeup looks on your For You page as you were indie sleaze homages and ‘I actually did it myself’ graphic eyeliner. Copper hair and wolf-cuts lived in harmony with Matilda Djerf-esque big blowouts. Slugging gave way to skin-cycling, and in the latter part of the year, we saw droves of beauty creators creating viral ‘I’m Cold’ looks – less shivering with a hot water bottle in your flat, more rosy cheeks of a Nancy Meyers leading lady type. The prevalence of ‘tweakments’ and cosmetic surgery continued to rise (a quick search of TikTok and you’ll see #babybotox has amassed nearly 100 million views). That’s not to mention the AI beauty trend that had social media users in a chokehold in December thanks to the LensAI app, begging the question, is the Meta face the new Instagram face?

While some trends seemed to uphold the beauty standard, others appeared to subvert and challenge traditional ideals. But in an online age, with the world at our fingertips and new trends dropping daily, how hegemonic is beauty culture anyway? With the rise of digital subcultures and niche communities, beauty has the power to offer something for everyone.

Struggling to keep up? I don’t blame you. The face of beauty has reinvented itself many times. But whilst the micro trend cycle might have moved at a rapid pace in 2022 and will likely continue to do so in 2023, arguably the macro sentiment remains the same. For many, beauty is a means of expression, a form of play that allows people to align with their communities and engage authentically in society on their own terms. If anything, the rapidness of the micro trend cycle and the magnitude of contrasting aesthetics suggests an open-mindedness and fluidity that’s intrinsic to the beauty community. 

For brands and advertisers, take this willingness and desire to experiment as an opportunity to embed inclusivity and diversity into your mission, to work with beauty-adjacent communities, tapping into diverse verticals in your creator marketing. Get creative with your campaigns whilst demonstrating the efficacy of your products. And of course, continue to speak to your core audience, but don’t be afraid to get creative with different niches and subcultures. There’s no good reason why a luxury brand can’t work with a creator known more for their love of cooking or clubbing than beauty.

So what’s next for beauty? Here’s what I’d wager.


Deep in the throes of recession and an accelerating global cost of living crisis, 2023 will see the Lipstick Effect fully kick in. The Effect entails women spending more on lipsticks compared to other products in times of economic downturn, due to their ability to provide emotional uplift without breaking the bank. Dubbed ‘recession-proof’, lipstick is widely perceived as a transformative yet affordable luxury that offers ‘hope in a bottle’. 

We’ll see consumers seeking joy, escapism, and indulgence from their makeup, creating lip heavy looks that offer an emotional boost. Brands such as Dior, Hourglass and Clinique have already achieved virality due to their lip products in 2022, and as the purse strings tighten further, expect to see brands launching lip products or pushing existing SKUs. 


While we may not be experiencing the promised Roaring 20s 2.0 just yet, we can still expect to see party-centric sensibilities further infiltrate culture in 2023, from music to fashion and of course, beauty. Both Beyonce and Drake dropped albums in the latter half of 2022 that were heavily influenced by house music, once again nodding to economic downturn and our collective desire for reprieve and escapism. Expect to see fun, creative, party makeup looks all over your timelines in the next few months, drawing inspiration from decades gone by and, of course, drag queens. 

It almost goes without saying that we’ll see the continued reinvention of popular 70s, 90s and Y2K aesthetics, but we also predict 80s makeup is about to make a long overdue comeback. Think bold, uber colourful eyeshadow and statement blush. Indie sleaze inspired beauty looks will continue to grow in popularity, with slept-in kohl eyeliner looks reminiscent of 2010s IT girl Daisy Lowe.


As Gen-Z gets older and skincare shoppers become increasingly clued up, we predict prevention, innovation, and efficacy, as well as rituals and wellness to be major trends in the skincare category. Already dwindling in popularity, we’ll likely see excessive routines be swapped out in favour of simple yet highly effective routines, with consumers seeking out multi-tasking products to save money – and confusion. After years of over-exfoliating, beauty fans will prioritise their skin barrier, while results-driven, preventive retinol will continue to take centre stage in 2023.

With cosmetic procedures such as Botox and filler at an all-time high, we anticipate beauty consumers will look to make the most out of their ‘tweakments’ at home or find a needle-free alternative to such procedures. Non-invasive, DIY treatments such as LED facials and sculpting tools will grow in popularity, as beauty fans look to replicate the effects and benefits of Botox et-al, without the pain and commitment.

Brands and products that offer the promise of the rituals, self-care and wellness will thrive in our collective desire for respite and relaxation.


In 2022, TikTok came out on top for discovering beauty, dominating Google’s top trending searches. This is something we’ll no doubt see more of in 2023. A platform where beauty, creativity and education thrive in perfect harmony, TikTok is the go-to place for users wanting to learn about new products and experiment with new looks and routines. Whilst the Instagram algorithm changed more times than we care to remember in 2022, making it hard for creators and brands to know what to create and how to reach their audience, this year I predict we’ll see Instagram slyly start to shift their focus back to the community – finding new ways to foster intimate connection and incentivise users to stay on the app. YouTube Shorts will be a thing, but that doesn’t mean long-form content is dead. They’ll happily co-exist. 

2023 will be the year more and more brands finally stop sleeping on Snapchat and incorporate the Gen-Z favourite platform into their strategies. 

For brands and creators looking to get off the well-scrolled, beaten track, community-first apps that are all about fostering real connection and authentic conversations like Flip, Supergreat, Nowness and Geneva will likely grab the attention of beauty lovers in 2023. With OG TikTok titans Addison Rae, Hyram Yabro and Sommer Ray all pedalling Flip, you can be pretty sure this one will take off. 

Saoirse Cleary is our Senior Strategy Manager and a key member of the Creative Strategy team behind our global and award-winning campaigns. If you’re a beauty brand and you want to go deeper into any of the trends detailed above, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

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