Butler students discuss top quarantine makeup trends

From vibrant eyeshadow to intricate eyeliner, quarantine led to students’ experimenting with new makeup trends. Photos by Lauren Hough. 


It has been a little over a year since the World Health Organization deemed COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11 — even though it feels like the pandemic simultaneously began eons ago and two days ago. The pandemic soon led to a variety of new trends to occupy quarantine boredom as well as account for mask-wearing. Some of the places where people have flaunted their new looks and found inspiration for trends include TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest

Vibrant eyeshadow

Mandatory mask requirements posed quite a dilemma to makeup enthusiasts — who now only had half a face to work with. Naturally, this shifted attention to the eyes, leading to artistic or unique eyeshadow looks. From different color combinations to intricate designs and patterns, eyeshadow has been the best way for people to express themselves using makeup while being able to show off their artistry from under a mask.

Nadia Issa, a junior economics and finance double major, has been doing makeup since she was 13 years old. During quarantine, she noticed that her entire makeup routine changed due to having to wear a mask. Because of this, she said she put more attention and focus on her eyebrow and eye makeup.

“The top makeup trend that grew during quarantine is matching your eyeshadow with your mask,” Issa said. “I think that’s super clever and beautiful… Makeup is one of those things that’s different for each person, it’s all about your face and what works for it.”

Wild eyeliner

In addition to “natural” makeup, unique and interesting eyeliner looks have become a trend as well. The trend allows for a bold and unique look that also draws attention to one’s eyes — but it does require a steady hand. 

Senior psychology major Aine Montgomery has been doing makeup since middle school when she began digging through her mom’s makeup bag. Her go-to makeup look, specifically regarding eyeliner, used to be darker before quarantine. But during the early months of quarantine, she switched to a brighter and more colorful aesthetic, which has endured over the past year. A majority of her makeup inspiration can be found on social media.

“I hate to be this person but [my inspiration is] through TikTok,” Montgomery said. “I now take screenshots of cool eye looks that I want to adopt from people on TikTok because they’re just doing it so well. I also mindlessly scroll through Pinterest a lot, and sometimes I’m just like ‘here’s a color I want to use, what looks works with this’ and I go from there.”

Natalie Urban, a junior creative writing, Spanish, and race, gender and sexuality studies major, has been experimenting with makeup since they were in eighth grade. Urban has also noticed not only a change in trends online regarding what is now deemed “normal” in terms of makeup, but also how individuality has become the center of the majority of makeup trends that were popular during quarantine. 

“I think that experimental makeup has become normal,” Urban said. “People have been encouraging one another to do crazy eye makeup to find a form of expression during the pandemic… and makeup trends are reflecting that move towards drastic individuality.”

Natural looks

While a stark contrast to the wild eyeliner and vibrant eyeshadow trends, the no-makeup makeup look has been making its rounds as well. The no-makeup look has been popular in that it allows people to look refreshed and “glowy” for their Zoom calls. On top of that, the no-makeup look requires significantly less work to create and maintain throughout the day.

Quarantine was a time in which Urban was able to experiment and take time to explore different makeup looks and techniques. As of late, they said they were inspired by Twiggy, a model from the ’60s and ’70s. 

There have definitely been new makeup trends discussed in the groups I’m in online,” Urban said. “Big blush, big lashes and little to no foundation are taking the place of the heavily caked glam of the late 2010s.”

Whether inspiration is taken from TikTok or Pinterest, a year of enduring COVID-19 has fostered a variety of makeup trends based on experimentation to thrive. From natural looks to wild eyeliner to vibrant eyeshadow, the shifted focus to individuality and self-expression in makeup is allowing new trends to surface, and old trends to find new life.


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