The consensus is in and it seems we all agree 2018 was the worst year ever. Although let’s not forget we did also say that about 2012, and 2014, and 2016. At least 2012 had the spooky excitement of the forthcoming doomsday, according to ancient Mayan predictions, and 2016 had the ironic humor of dumpster fire memes. What did 2018 have? Both of the aforementioned, and a whole lot of boisterous beauty trends that, at the very least, gave us a distraction from the state of the world.
So before we move onto 2019, let’s pay respect to the cosmetic discoveries that stole our attention this past year.
Did highlighter even exist before 2018? If it did I never heard about it. Highlighter quickly became a beauty essential this year, replacing a dab of mascara as the most important thing to throw on before work in the morning. I had no idea until recently that my cheekbones are supposed to shimmer from across the room, or, for some, from space. Extra points if the highlighter somehow becomes a sentient being that knows intuitively how to sparkle in a selfie. 2018 loved everything shiny: nails, bags, shoes, bodysuits, sunglasses. I can’t tell if everyone is trying to look like they’re from the future or like a human highlighter palette. Maybe they’re one and the same.
Shock Value Collaborations Are the New Power Move
I went back and forth on whether to have collaborations on this list because I thought to myself, Cazzie, collaborations have always been around, it’s all in your head. But then I saw an ad for a Virgil Abloh x Cha Cha Matcha collaboration in West Hollywood and I realized I needed to say something. Sure, Wu Tang had one with Milk Makeup and Gloria Steinem had one with The Lipstick Lobby—and on the fashion front, there were those Post Malone Crocs . . . but collaborations with inanimate objects is where I draw the line. Is the existence of this list a Cazzie x Laptop collaboration? I can’t tell anymore.
Facetune Is the New Normal
Like collaborations, I’m not going to pretend Facetune is a novel concept, but the difference between then and now is that we no longer care when it’s obvious. Before, we used the photo-editing app to look like slightly better versions of ourselves (i.e. to cover up a zit, a wrinkle, or maybe take five pounds off your waist—harmless!). Now, it has become such a rampant phenomenon, it seems to be used to make one look as fake as possible. I’ve seen noses completely blurred out—some people just don’t have noses anymore. What’s the goal? My best guess (from staring at everyone’s Instagram pages for the last hour) is that it is to look as much like the alien emoji as possible. No one even questions why, when we show up in person, we’re not an anime video game character. But that’s not to say that people aren’t actively trying to look as much like them as possible, which leads us to . . . .
The Invasion of Botox Pop-Ups
Dubbed the “Drybar of Botox,” for their affordability and accessibility, these “medi-spas” offer injections in the same fashion that nail salons offer gel manicures. These clinics are popping up all over the place because celebrities, and everyone trying to be one, have gotten so many injections that they’ve completely eliminated the stigma attached to plastic surgery. Personally, I feel like there are a couple things we should have tried to normalize before offering walk-in appointments to change your God-given appearance, which sets a potentially questionable example for all future generations and anyone living in this time with a face. Couldn’t we have just normalized our regular faces? I guess it’s not that hard to comprehend how we got here considering we have Instagram robots to compete with now.
. . . And Instagram Robots
The artificial intelligence takeover has begun, and unsurprisingly, it’s already taken off on Instagram. Not only does the average person have to keep up with Facetuned models, but now those models have to keep up with Instagram robots or, as they’re officially known, avatars. Those include “influencers” like Lil Miquela, who has racked up 1.5 million followers on the social media platform. I try to avoid her page as much as possible, considering every time I check it I tend to find myself screaming at her captions, which involve long-winded anecdotes about something she did that is a lie because it never happened because she doesn’t exist!
CBD, Our Savior
In the span of one year, CBD has appeared in absolutely everything: water, lotion, lip balms, cocktails, lube, dessert, sunscreen—even my Juul has CBD in it now. It’s hard to compute how people are still getting hard time in jail for marijuana possession, while gourmet chefs are infusing it into burrata. But contradictions like this sum up 2018 in a nutshell.
Touching Your Lips With Your Hands in Selfies
The technical term? Fingermouthing. The only reason you know this isn’t a joke is because it was impossible to miss. Everyone took a crack at pushing their lips with their fingers in photos. Lips pushed to the right, to the left, up, but not down; I guess down doesn’t look “sexy baby” enough. The migraine pose was the runner-up. It is what it sounds like, both hands pulling back on your forehead skin to make it look like you’ve made multiple trips to that Botox Drybar mentioned above.
Witches are to 2018 what vampires were to 2012. From the aisles of Urban Outfitters to Sabrina, “chic witches” took over mainstream culture. Everyone deemed themselves “witches” by spending hundreds of dollars on tarot cards, sage, and crystals. I don’t know if lighting incense makes your group of friends a coven. That said, I’m definitely one for a good séance if anyone has some real witches they’d like to send my way.
The Horoscope Takeover
The study of astrology experienced a surge in 2018, a cultural revival so massive that not even the Ancient Egyptians who developed the star science themselves could have predicted it. Everyone and anyone you came across was not only willing but, for some reason, inexplicably down to talk horoscopes: generally, star signs, moon signs, your sign, their sign, whatever. Everyone loves horoscope memes and has downloaded Co-Star (the horoscope app that reads your chart and compares it to the charts of everyone in your contact book). Even Spotify is savvy to the great horoscope takeover. Their annual wrap-up now has a section that tells you the astrological sign of your most listened-to artists. What does it mean that I only listen to Leos? Nothing, but it’s there.
I remember a time in the beginning of social media when we the people collectively agreed that over-sharing in our Facebook statuses and Tweets was embarrassing. “I don’t care that you’re eating a sandwich!” said every adult when the emerging platforms came up in conversation at the dinner table. Afterwards, I’d think to myself, Ha! Adults have no idea what social media is. It’s so much more than that. Cut to 2018 and that’s exactly what social media is. Everyone is sharing every detail of their private lives and emotional well-being online. Short captions are over, and instead paragraphs describing our daily hurdles and emotions are in. Didn’t sleep? Tell everyone! Had the flu for six and a half days? Thank you for sharing. There’s so much content about everyone’s lives I don’t even know what my own life is anymore. Maybe my life is just watching other people’s lives? Well that’s a horrifying thought. Should I tweet about it?
?Anyway, here’s hoping reality comes back in style for 2019, and if not, I guess I’ll meet you at the Botox bar. I’ll be the one with sparkles all over my cheeks.