Faux beauty trends can be platforms for establishing confidence

Ellen Freeborn

Most of our faux beauty trends aren’t actually fooling anyone. Those acrylic nails, pencil-perfect eyebrows and inches of eyelashes can be spotted as unnatural with or without a makeup malfunction. Anyone who knows me at all can assume that I don’t know the slightest thing about how to achieve these beauty ideals, nor have I tried despite the rising trends. However, I would never underestimate the power of looking good as a step toward feeling confident.

One could look at this topic from many angles. On one hand, by submitting to unnatural trends, we could be further solidifying an unattainable beauty ideal as desirable. On the other hand, we have the right to look however we want in order to feel good and refreshed, and no one should be judged for wearing “too much makeup.”

We’re all fake in one way or another. It’s the nature of humans to want what we can’t have, and therefore, we “fake it until we make it.” Makeup and beauty trends are platforms on which to accomplish this. 

Here are a few of our culture’s beauty trends that lead to less-than-genuine treatments but are fun and glamorous if you have the time and energy to work for it.


Long Lashes

Long and luscious lashes are undeniably beautiful. I always get a little envious when a see a guy with full and dark eyelashes that look prettier than the ones I work so hard to achieve. Adding fake lash extensions may look dramatic and stunning, but they take time to apply. Here’s a trick to avoid the glue:

Step one is always to invest in good mascara. Professionals suggest buying mascara that won’t dry on your lashes, such as Ardency Inn Punker Unrivaled Volume & Curl Lash Wax for $24 at sephora.com. This way, you can apply and reapply multiple times throughout your morning routine and throughout your day without getting clumpy lashes. Simply apply a few base coats by wiggling your way up the lash. This enhances fullness by touching every single lash with mascara.

Brush a bit of baby powder on the top and bottom of your lashes with a Q-tip, and make sure every lash is coated to create an illusion of a full base. Finish with a final coat of mascara, moving from roots to tips. 

Just make sure you don’t over-do it. Spider lashes paired next to a heavy coat of foundation and eye shadow can make you look like a human Barbie and somewhat clownish. 


Acrylic Nails

The larger the canvas the better, it seems. Although, we’ve all seen the obtrusively long nails that look like they could be painted with poison. While they certainly aren’t fooling anyone, they could be an easy conversation starter or serve to draw the attention away from any other feature you’re trying to hide.

Whether your nail care is extremely dramatic, glamorous or almost all-natural, a well-polished nail has the power to make you feel composed no matter what state of mind you’re in. My only suggestion is to avoid the chemicals as much as you can. Bio-gel is an alternative to acrylic, shellac and gel nails that lasts just as long without setting harmful toxins into your skin. It’s a bit more expensive, but, in my opinion, a fake beauty trend is only acceptable if it doesn’t risk harming your health.


Eyebrows “on Fleek”

Perfectly symmetric and cleanly arched brows are another subtle way of enhancing your best features. Unfortunately, the process is painful and takes time. Some prefer to avoid the struggle altogether by shaving off their brows completely and penciling them in later. This seems like it would lead to some embarrassing mishaps, but more power to you if you’re daring enough to try it.

However, one should note that simply adding some color, fullness and precision to your God-given eyebrows could go a long way. The bushy brows are back thanks to trendsetters like Cara Delevingne, whose stunning face looks anything but fake. To define your brows, use an eyebrow powder instead of a pencil, which will allow for easy adjustments and will appear more natural. 

Thankfully, we have the freedom (and the Internet to help us) to look however we want and feel confident. Whether you’re a naturalist who argues that “less is more” or a feminist who believes women should have the choice of looking however they like, make sure you’re walking out the door feeling confident and ready to be the most genuine version of yourself. Because we all know that “faking it till you make it” is only effective as long as you actually strive to “make it” in this world. 

Contact Ellen Freeborn at [email protected].