Insta-Beauty Trends, Debunked

If there’s one thing we know about so-called “Insta-trends” it’s that, like the majority of pictures on Instagram itself, most everything you see is not, in any sense, “real.” What’s been labeled a trend is frequently the result of one media outlet “scooping” a story from a single person’s brazen beauty innovation, then passing it off as the new black. In fact, the majority of beauty trends aren’t meant to beautify at all, but to shock. Nor are they, by definition, trends. In the information era, it’s astoundingly easy to pass off a single post as evidence of the next new craze. But, like Kim K. did with Taylor, we’re pulling out the receipts. Here are the origins of four beauty “trends” written about this season.

Trend: Flower Boobs
Number of Hashtags: 410

Origin Story: When the aptly-named @faceflorals, a company specializing in adhesive flowers meant to adorn the face, was repurposed into pasties by UK-based makeup artist @gillianhoban.

How it Spread: The image in question was posted back in February, but on April 18th, The New York Post and two British tabloids wrote about it in connection to stories on body painting at summer music festivals. The story continued to circulate using the same image until it reached what might be considered critical mass three days later, when Maxim ran a piece with the subtle headline, “FLOWER BOOBS ARE THE SEXY FESTIVAL TREND YOU NEED TO SEE TO BELIEVE.”

Trend: Nose Art
Number of Hashtags: 19,856

Origin Story: Last year, Ashlee Summer, a makeup artist, became the first visible Insta-presence to adorn her schnoz, and the idea spread from there, mostly to other makeup influencers looking to stand out.

How It Spread: On April 11th of this year, Allure broke the story, followed shortly thereafter by Cosmopolitan.

I feel like glitter

A post shared by 𝖆𝖘𝖍𝖑𝖊𝖊 (@ashleesummer) on

Trend: Rose Brown Hair
Number of Hashtags: 1,114

Origin Story: Though attributed to Australia-based hair stylist Thi Thao Tu, The trend actually originated many years earlier in 2014, thanks to a Midwestern stylist who goes by the name Pang Vang.

How it Spread: A piece in Allure on March 7th led to a flood of other from Elle UK, Refinery29 and the like later in the month.


A post shared by Style & Grace by Pang Vang LLC (@stylistpang) on


Trend: Bow Brows*
Number of Hashtags: 147

*Not to be confused with Glossier’s best-selling Boy Brow.

Origin Story: On March 11th, Instagram user @beautylizs posted a picture of her eyebrows penciled in like two bows. “Since Brow trends became very popular the last weeks I thought about inventing my own brow trend. I hope you guys like it!” she wrote.

How it Spread: On picked up by an Australian style blog. By April 2nd, it reached the big leagues (Cosmopolitan, followed by Allure), who approved the look in headlines as “Insane…ly Cute” and “Actually Pretty Cute,” respectively.



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