On the face of it, five years might not seem like a very long time. But think what has changed since 2016. Back then, the Kardashians’ heavily contoured, airbrushed look was all the rage, 90s fashion was enjoying a comeback and looking good was all about appearing highly polished and ready for the red carpet.
Fast forward to 2021 and things couldn’t be more different. Having been deprived of parties and social engagements for the past 12 months, we’ve all been embracing our natural sides – without ditching the makeup completely, of course. Instead, this coming year is all about glowing skin, full, fluffy brows and blusher in place of bronzer.
To highlight just how much things have changed, some beauty influencers have taken to TikTok to share their interpretation of both looks, in a video trend that’s fast becoming a viral hit.
As of today, these “2016 vs. 2020” videos have amassed a combined view count of more than 90 million – which is not something to sneeze at. So what’s the story? In the short clips, beauty fans and influencers can be seen dividing their face into half. One side, it soon becomes clear, represents the 2016 look, while the other is done up to reflect more recent beauty trends.
Amazingly, the result really does emphasise just how far we’ve come. In one video, posted by the London-based beauty influencer Ling Tang, one half of her face is given a no-holds-barred, 2016-style makeover, complete with a heavy layer of bronzer, winged eyeliner and more contour than you can shake a stick at. On top of that, the look is completed with cut crease shadow above the eyes, lashings of highlighter and big, full false lashes. All in all, it’s an effect that would not look out of place on reality TV.
Then, on the other side of Ling’s face, she applies a more “2021 look.” Essentially, this involves swapping the bronzer and contour for just a light layer of foundation and concealer, a touch of highlighter and lips in a deep berry hue. For the eyes, meanwhile, she opts for more natural looking falsies and trendy, feathered brows.
Looking at the two looks side by side, it’s clear that 2016 was all about glamour turned up to the max, while the 2020s have seen us opting for a more toned down appearance. And a look at the sales figures confirms it. With skincare products experiencing a meteoric rise, it’s easy to see why influencers are keen to let their natural beauty shine through instead of smothering their healthy glow under layers of foundation. But once things reopen and nights out are back on the cards, will we see a return to the heady, highly-polished styles of 2016? Only time will tell.