25 Most Unflattering Beauty Trends of All Time

By Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, Best Life

With new viral beauty trends popping up on social media seemingly every day, it's easy to think you've got to try at least some of them. But if you're styling and restyling your everyday look for a few extra double taps and thumbs up on your accounts, you're likely also succumbing to a few trends that you probably shouldn't. In fact, most beauty trends are short-lived, far-fetched, and extremely unflattering, to boot. To make navigating the oft-confusing style world a bit easier, we’ve identified the beauty trends you should always avoid.

1. Over-contoured makeup

With the increasing popularity of backstage fashion show face charts, it’s easy to get caught up in the contouring craze. And while a bit of light and shade will absolutely give your face some increased definition, it’s all too easy to go overboard. These charts, you see, were made for fashion shows and stage makeup—not for the everyday woman to wear in real life. Brown and streaky is never a good look.

2. Overdrawn eyebrows

Because your eyebrows frame your face, they’re often one of the first things people notice about your look. And if your brows are too harsh, dark, or overdrawn, you’ll be left looking more comical than natural. Instead of going wild with your eyebrow pencil, focus on making wispy, slim strokes that blend in with your natural eyebrow hairs.

3. Too much highlighter

Highlighter can be a beautiful thing when applied with a measured hand. However, it’s definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Over-applying will leave you looking more like a lightbulb than a glowy goddess. Plus, it’s an extra step that you simply might not need.

4. Bright, unblended eyeshadow

A bold eye look can make you feel like the most glamorous person on the planet. But you shouldn’t be throwing colors together just for the sake of using every shade in your eyeshadow palette. In fact, that’s often a clear sign you’re a makeup novice, especially if you leave the crayon-colored hues unblended. So if you want to use six different colors on your lids, that’s cool—just make sure you use a fluffy blending brush and blend, blend, blend.

5. Overlined lips

We get it—you want luscious, large lips. And that’s OK! But using lip liner to trace outside of the natural lip line has gone too far. What was once a subtle way of enhancing the size of your lips has become an overwrought process that looks insanely dated. Instead, try dotting a bit of gloss at the center of your bottom lip to puff your pout.

6. Bad highlights

Quality highlights can add some much-needed warmth and dimension to your hair. But when highlights are done poorly, they tend to look more skunk than stylish. Head to a pro to get these done, and make sure you bring plenty of photos of the color you’d like to achieve.

7. Yellow blush

While experimenting with color is most assuredly not a bad thing, trying this 2017 trend is never a good idea. Instead of yellow, focus on hues in the pink, coral, and dusty mauve families to add a hint of flush to your cheeks without looking like a clown.

8. Lip art

Lip art was a huge Instagram beauty trend in 2018 and it doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. However, the idea of painting a scene from your favorite film, TV show, or book on your pout isn’t practical, and, quite frankly, is a beauty don’t.

9. Orange spray tan

Everyone loves having sun-kissed skin, but unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get this look year-round. Avoid risking blotchy, streaky skin and embrace your natural color.

10. Matte lipstick

While matte lipstick is definitely on trend right now, it’s a difficult look to manage—especially if you suffer from dry, flaky lips. Plus, you’ve pretty much always got to have a mirror in hand to make sure you haven’t tracked this long-lasting lip color all over your face. Glossy or satin lip colors are easier to apply on the fly and happen to be having a moment as well.

11. Tooth nails

While we love a funky manicure, there are certain styles that go too far. The “tooth nail” trend—or the practice of gluing faux molars onto your nails, is one such style. They’re creepy and gross, and we’re not sure who allowed them to happen.

12. Glitter face masks

While face masks have become a social media sensation in their own right, any mask made with unnecessary glitter is just a ploy for social media likes. Not only is glitter difficult to remove once it gets loose in your home, but it also has zero skin benefits—you’re better off using a formula infused with helpful ingredients like kaolin clay, hyaluronic acid, or silver powder.

13. Household items as makeup sponges

We’re not sure why everyone felt the need to ditch traditional makeup brushes and tools in lieu of random household items like dish sponges, eggs, and tampons, but we’re going to come out and put this on the don’t list. Choose a quality makeup brush or sponge, instead.

14. Hairspray as makeup setting spray

Setting spray can work miracles by enabling your makeup to stay on for hours. But because the skin on your face is super sensitive, you never want to try silly trends like using hairspray to set your makeup. It’s bad for your skin, and spraying a ton of stuff around in general is a huge faux pas.

15. “Unicorn” hair

The past few years saw an explosion of unicorn (read: rainbow) everything, and that infiltrated the beauty world in ways we still can’t comprehend. While a sparkly “unicorn” lip gloss could offer an appropriate amount of shimmer, the idea of a pastel-rainbow mane of hair is nothing short of tacky. If you absolutely cannot live without candy-colored hair, try a temporary dye in just one hue for a bright but not overbearing effect.

16. Faux freckles

While a freckled face may be in vogue at the moment, there’s no need to copy this look if you’ve got a naturally freckle-free complexion. Own whatever skin you were born with!

17. Squiggle brows

File this under trends you should never try: Drawing or using gel to manipulate your eyebrows into a pair of squiggly lines. If you’re feeling like your brows are looking a bit sparse, use something like Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade ($18;, which works wonders on the lightest and thinnest of brows.

18. Furry manicures

If you thought gluing faux fur to your nails could ever look good, you’re wrong. Plus it’s a tad grimy: Because you use your hands so often, your newly art-ed talons will pick up a bevy of germs. And dirty plus tacky equals one bad beauty trend.

19. Wet hair

We know this look is having a moment among celebs and supermodels. But on the average person, this style typically looks more lazy than anything else.

20. Baby bangs

The trend of super-short fringe is unflattering on pretty much everyone. Baby bangs are extremely hard to pull off, so unless you’re a high-fashion model or have an unlimited styling budget, this is one cut to skip every time.

21. Glitter roots

Glitter is messy, and typically, messy looking. One application of a gel-glitter root treatment is enough to leave you finding random flecks of sparkle on your skin for years. If you’re looking for extra sheen, try a glitter spray such as IGK Preparty Hair Strobing Glitter Spray ($16; instead.

22. Neon lips

Again, while experimenting with color isn’t a bad thing, wearing a neon lip can come off as unprofessional and overly aggressive. It’s best to stay away from these shades if you’ve got a job interview or a big meeting with your boss coming up.

23. Bad hair extensions

We’re not saying all hair extensions are bad. But if your clip-ins are visible or there’s an obvious difference in volume where your natural hair ends and your hair extnsions begin, it might be time to invest in a higher-quality set.

24. Eyelash extensions

Although long eyelashes may look flirtatious and seductive, eyelash extensions are something you’ll want to do a ton of research on before you commit. A few coats of lengthening mascara will probably appear much more realistic, and you can always opt for falsies if you’ve got a special event on the horizon.

25. Sushi nails

This crazy nail trend started with an ingenious South Korean manicurist and involves applying a mix of appliques and nail polish to create sushi roll look-alikes on your tips. Don’t use this manicure as an excuse to nibble on your nails, though!


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