What Happened When We Tried 5 Instagram Beauty Trends

Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Social media has really changed the beauty space — especially when it comes to experimentation. Now, anyone can be a makeup artist. All you need is an Instagram account, a ton of product, and the ability to edit your routine into a 15-second, sped-up snippet. This has given way to myriad trends — some better than others. Loads of lipstick, glitter freckles, and serious strobing, to name just a few, have all gained major popularity thanks to the photo-sharing app.

While these styles look fantastic (if not a touch heavy-handed) in the filtered world of Instagram, can they actually translate to real life? Makeup artist Tiffany Patton says yes — for certain people. In her experience, the majority of people who post these looks actually wear them. "It's not just for the photo," she says. "The people who love this kind of makeup wear it all the time."

What we're interested in, though, is whether the average person can pull them off — and would they even want to? So we asked Patton to make up five Refinery29 staffers in five different Instagram trends. (Full disclosure: This shoot isn't representative of the makeup Patton typically does.) Then, we wore them for the entire day — and snapped a few selfies, of course.

Did we suddenly become 'gram-obsessed makeup experts? Or were we running for the wipes as soon as we got home? Grab your contouring palettes and read on.
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1 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Name: Madison Utendahl, creative associate
Look: Electric brows

How do you typically do your makeup? How long does it take to apply?
"It takes me about five to 10 minutes to do my makeup. I am someone who always prefers a natural look. My daily makeup routine goes as follows: I fill in my eyebrows, and then add mascara, tinted moisturizer, a little bit of blush, and I'm done!"

What do you think of the makeup trends on Instagram?
"I am not one who follows makeup trends, but I do find the trends on Instagram to be incredibly fascinating. While I believe many of them are a bit excessive, I am a strong believer in the saying 'to each their own.' If it makes someone happy and allows for them to be more confident, then anything goes!"

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2 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
What did you think when we told you what trend you'd be wearing?
"I thought it was hilarious! I didn't even realize filling in your eyebrows in fluorescent colors was a trend."

How did it feel to wear this kind of makeup?
"I felt very ridiculous because it doesn't go with my everyday style. Nonetheless, I am always down to try something new and enjoyed the experience. It's fun to play a character and switch my routine up."
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3 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Tell us about your experience wearing this makeup throughout the day.
"I definitely felt that people took me less seriously. I received many more double-takes and odd glances than when I fill in my brows with my natural color. Surprisingly, though, I also got a bunch of compliments. But I think that had to do more with how different the blue eyebrows were from my everyday look."

Would you try this look again?
"On Halloween — yes! Otherwise, no way."

Stylist's own jeans.

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Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Name: Taylor Bryant, beauty news editor
Look: Major strobing

How do you typically do your makeup? How long does it take to apply?

"I am the most basic of makeup-wearers. I almost pride myself on my less-than-60-seconds routine of brow tamer, blush, and the occasional swipe of mascara on fancy days. Basically, if I have to reach for a brush or sponge to apply it, it doesn't make its way onto my face."

What do you think of the makeup trends on Instagram?

"I think they're mostly makeup moments that are meant for selfies and the like. Aside from maybe when the sun goes down, I've never actually witnessed any of these trends on people in the flesh. And that's probably because a lot of them are super-impractical and not meant for 'real-world' wear. But, hey, if you are one of the few to rock them in public, more power to you."

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5 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
What did you think when we told you what trend you'd be wearing?
"Although my makeup routine veers basic, I am an advocate of the glitter-and-shine life. I plan on having highlighter basically glued to my cheeks this summer, so for that reason, and that reason alone, I was actually very excited to try out the strobing technique (or, have a makeup artist try it out on me). In fact, I actually rallied for my trend of choice, which I immediately regretted once the makeup process was underway..."

How did it feel to wear this kind of makeup?
"It felt very, very heavy. To my naked eye, strobing appears to be a simple stroke or two of glitz, and that's it, you're done. Wrong. As Tiffany made sure to explain, with most of these Instagram techniques, the key is to start out with a flawless canvas. And that meant hella foundation, concealer, and contour, a.k.a. all the things I make a point to avoid in my day-to-day routine. So, needless to say, I was way out of my makeup comfort zone — like, next-dimension out.

"That's not to say I didn't enjoy having my face beat to the gods, but the highlight combined with the base makeup...I was giving myself pale Edward Cullen vibes once I stepped out of the makeup chair."

Mr. Larkin top.
6 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Tell us about your experience wearing this makeup throughout the day.
"Like most events in my life that I don't care to remember, I blocked out a majority of my day from my memory. But, from what I can recall, I was actually showered with compliments post-photo shoot. Without rays of sun shining down, or a camera to emphasize the highlighter, it actually just looked like I got a pretty normal, everyday makeover. It definitely wasn't as in-your-face as the glitter freckles [see ahead] or colorful eyebrows my coworkers were forced to rock all day. In fact, most people that came up to me had to ask what my trend was because it was so unnoticeable.

"Sure, I got a couple of stares on the subway, but my overall lewk wasn't nearly as intense as I thought it was — at least to the observer's eye. I did reach for my makeup remover as soon as I got back to my apartment to scrub off the — what felt like — pounds of makeup. But not without posting a selfie first. Because the challenge wouldn't have been complete without one, right?"

Would you try this look again?
"I'll definitely be trying it out again, and, like I said, I plan to master the strobe come summer. But, next time around, I'll probably forgo the base-makeup step. Hey, old habits die hard."
7 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Name: Mi-Anne Chan, beauty editorial assistant
Look: Glitter freckles

How do you typically do your makeup? How long does it take to apply?
"My day-to-day look varies, well, day to day. I normally start with some foundation. Then, I'll quickly dust a little sculpting powder under my cheekbones, under my jawline, and on my forehead. After a light spritzing of setting spray, I'll move on to my barely-there brows. I switch up my brow pencils a lot, but currently I'm loving L'Oréal's Brow Stylist Designer Pencil in Dark Brunette — it's the perfect shade for my brows. If I'm feeling up to it I might brush a little brow gel through my hairs, but usually I'm way too lazy to do that.

"Then, I'll move on to eyes — which is where my makeup varies the most. If I have a lot of time, I'll add a bit of liner (usually a flick) before curling my lashes with Kevyn Aucoin's lash curler and slicking on a few coats of waterproof mascara. Finally, I'll pull out some lipstick. I have dozens of lipsticks in my collection, but right now I'm loving Jouer's Lip Crème in Fraise Bonbon."

What do you think of the makeup trends on Instagram?
"I absolutely love taking a deep dive through Instagram and discovering new trends like baking, strobing, and glitter freckles. Although they may not be something I'd wear daily, I respect and admire the women and men who do. I really do look at makeup as an art form, and when people beat their faces and snap a photo or video of their creation, I'm almost always awestruck by the skill and precision it takes to create each look."

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8 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
What did you think when we told you what trend you'd be wearing?
"I let out a small, very excited squeal. I love the look of glitter freckles, and having an excuse to wear them all day made me very happy."

How did it feel to wear this kind of makeup?
"It made me feel powerful! I thought Tiffany did an absolutely wonderful job with my makeup. I loved the lashes, the brows, the foundation, and the glitter!"

Ann-Sofie Back top.

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9 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Tell us about your experience wearing this makeup throughout the day.
"I thought I'd get a lot of strange stares and comments, but surprisingly I didn't notice very much extra attention. When I went to Starbucks in the afternoon with a coworker, our barista gave me a strange look before taking our order. I got a few other puzzled stares. But overall, I think New Yorkers have pretty much seen it all so it wasn't much of a shock. I even FaceTimed my mother that night with the glitter on, and she said she liked it!"

Would you try this look again?
"Definitely! Although I wouldn't do this daily, I would definitely wear this look again to a festival or event."
10 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Name: Maria Del Russo, beauty editor
Look: Drippy lips

How do you typically do your makeup? How long does it take to apply?
"While I pride myself on a very low-key makeup routine, I probably wear the most makeup out of anyone on the beauty team. The whole kit and caboodle takes me about 15 minutes from start to finish. (I have it down to a science.) I mix some Tom Ford Skin Illuminator with my NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint, followed by their Radiant Creamy Concealer. Then, I contour, highlight, and blush using Make Up For Ever's Pro Sculpting Palette. Finally, I sketch on the teeniest ever cat-eye with some Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner, pop on some NARS Audacious Mascara, and swipe some Glossier Generation G in Like across my lips."

What do you think of the makeup trends on Instagram?
"I am completely and utterly fascinated and slightly horrified by it. The fascination is with the skill with which these people wield their product, while the horror comes from some half-baked moral objection against wearing all that makeup. Some of the girls and guys wearing these trends are teenagers. Do they really need so much product?"

Vince Little Boy Cotton-Blend Tee, $60, available at Saks Fifth Avenue; Topshop Ribbed Crop Cami, $10, available at Topshop.
11 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
What did you think when we told you what trend you'd be wearing?
"I was actually super-excited. I'm a lipstick obsessive, and I've been a huge fan of Vlada Haggerty (the artist behind this trend) for a while. Plus it's always fun to get a little messy with your makeup, isn't it?"

How did it feel to wear this kind of makeup?
"Messy doesn't even begin to describe it. The lipstick needed a ton of gloss to drip like it did, which made me almost unable to move my mouth. And having the pigment drip down my chin was absolutely one of the creepiest feelings of my life. Picture someone tickling you on the chin; that's the drip. Now multiply that by 20, add sticky texture, and imagine each one staying on for 15 minutes before they dripped off your face."
12 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Tell us about your experience wearing this makeup throughout the day.
"This overly glossy lip is not for the faint of heart — or long hair. It was windy on the day that we did this shoot, which was a major problem. (Hair with blue tips is not a good look for this chick.)

"While I LOVED the blue shade Tiffany chose, I'm not one for the glossy lip this look requires. So even though the drips eventually subsided, that tacky texture haunted me until I finally got home and wiped it off. It also made the blue smear across my teeth — a fact the photographer enjoyed so much that he snapped a few shots of my azure-tinted canines. All in a day's work, you know?"

Would you try this look again?
"I would totally wear the blue, but I'm not sure the drip is exactly wearable IRL. For an Instagram, though? I did it once, and I'd totally do it again."

Öhlin/d top; Andrea Jiapei Li dress; Maria's own jeans.

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13 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Name: Eliza Marie Florendo, social production assistant
Look: The sunset smoky eye

How do you typically do your makeup? How long does it take to apply?

"I am clueless when it comes to makeup, so I usually go with a little eyeliner and blush for my everyday look, and sometimes fill in my eyebrows! Takes about five minutes tops to apply."

What do you think of the makeup trends on Instagram?
"Crazy. Intimidating. Colorful. Super-cool. But unattainable for someone like me."

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14 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
What did you think when we told you what trend you'd be wearing?
"I've seen a serious smoky eye, but nothing like this before!"

Tell us about your experience wearing this makeup throughout the day.
"This is a long and crazy story, but I was brewing a sickness when I was getting my makeup done. I kept my makeup on my face on my way home — and, as it turned out, the train I usually take wasn't running. So I had to take another and walk to another station, all with this full makeup on. During this time, I felt a fever coming on. I tried to take the bus, which was so full because of the train shutting down. Then, I tried to take a cab, but they were all taken! So I ended up walking home, with a fever, and crying, causing all the makeup to run. I definitely got some stares. I definitely felt self-conscious as I saw people staring, but, hey, it made for a funny story."
15 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
Would you try this look again?
"Probably not! As a minimalist, it felt very heavy to wear that much concealer and eyeshadow. Maybe for a costume, on Halloween, or a theme party. It was definitely a fun experience to wear some art on my face, but I wouldn't do it on a normal day."

Adeam top; Eliza's own jeans.
16 of 16
Photographed by Brayden Olson.
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