By Sable Yong. Photos: Courtesy of Instagram, Hannah Choi/Allure.
Perhaps you've noticed the rather aggressive trend of unicorn beauty. Anything pastel, iridescent or vaguely unicorn horn-shaped falls under this category of Lisa Frank-inspired unicorn beauty, hot on the heels of mermaid beauty, which is also still a thing. And look — that's all fine and good, but just because a bunch of folks flipped out over unicorn horn-shaped brushes and rainbow highlighters does not an entire beauty category make. By all means, appear as mythical as you please. But I say this as someone currently sporting bright blue hair who doesn't necessarily identify with unicorn beauty because I can color my hair blue if I want to — not because I aspire to be a fictional horse-like creature.
I'm not totally surprised by this development considering the three makeup powerhouses that be — highlighters and strobing, pastels, and glitter have all combined to form the sparkling mythical aesthetic that has become associated with unicorns (which as far as I know don't exist, but in folklore are just white horses with horns on their heads?). A close predecessor, mermaid beauty, had to collapse at some point so it makes sense to usher in another mystical creature that we can turn girls into with the help of makeup. Apparently, if you slap the word "unicorn" on anything it's bound to be a sellout hit — doesn't matter how out-there it is. There's now Unicorn Essence and Unicorn Snot), which just irk me, honestly. I was totally fine with holographic highlighter and glittery hair until it became some sort of unicorn thing and suddenly I feel like I'm back in grade school arts and crafts class. No — what if I was going for more of a disco punk look? (I was). You can't have all glittery looks, unicorn beauty, I won't let you!
The unicorn aesthetic is lovely for those who enjoy it, but once you start attaching buzzwords to products that have no business carrying that buzzword (uh, like unicorn dildos?) just for marketing purposes, we have reached peak unicorn. We are so far past peak unicorn actually at that point. It's like taking an OK joke and going too far with a punch line and now it's weird for everyone. Way to make unicorns weird now, dildos.
It's a tale as old as time — Big Beauty noticing living and thriving trends and then trying to market and sell it back to you. With Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest being huge beauty sounding boards, it only gets easier for this to happen. But like all the old school days of this happening, sure enough, once it reaches the point of saturation, there's bound to be a backlash and about-face in trends, which I'm betting is going to happen any moment now.
We can most likely attribute '90s nostalgia powered by the creative powerhouse that is Instagram stunt beauty and our human inclinations to see something shiny and pretty and immediately make grabby hands at it, but wow did everyone really take off with this whole unicorn thing. I mean, you could just strobe your face to the high heavens with glitter on your eyes and lips and have pastel hair and just be a really shiny person.
Here's the thing. Everyone has their own self-determined aesthetic and way of expressing themselves with makeup. This is a good thing. If you want to be a unicorn, be a unicorn. I don't think I'll be picking up any Unicorn Snot anytime soon, but give me a lip gloss and I'll mess with that.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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