Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
Scrolling through the countless videos (with a combined viewership of 21.3 million views and climbing), it's difficult to tell who exactly coined the 242 trend but beauty enthusiasts like Olivia Allen, Mollie McMullon and Maha are convinced their makeup has never looked better or more flawless. Contrary to the hype, the 242 makeup rule doesn't reinvent the wheel. In fact, it's probably the simplest trend I've come across on the app: two products on the eyes, four to constitute your base and two on the lips.
I know what you're thinking: It's not groundbreaking. And you're right. According to TikTok's makeup artists and beauty obsessives, though, it's the perfect formula for achieving glowy, natural makeup in 10 minutes or less. 'Formula' is the key word here. I welcome a quick, easy and effective method of application, one I know will make me glow and, more importantly, make me appear more awake when I sleep through my alarm. While the exact products you opt for are down to personal preference, the 242 makeup rule usually follows the same recipe: a lightweight foundation or skin tint, concealer, bronzer and blush for your base; a neutral eyeshadow and mascara on the eyes; lip liner and lip gloss on the lips.
All long-lasting makeup looks start with a hydrating moisturiser or sunscreen so I used The Outset Nourishing Squalane Daily Moisturizer, £36, and Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Face Fluid SPF50+, £12. This summer I've exclusively opted for lightweight skin tints but the recently launched MAC Studio Radiance Serum-Powered Foundation, £39, is excellent (even better than the new Glossier Stretch Fluid Foundation, £34, in my opinion). It's so featherweight, I forget I'm even wearing it, but it lends ample coverage and glow — everything I want and need from a foundation.
How you apply it is entirely up to you but at a recent makeup masterclass, I spotted Kendall Jenner's makeup artist, Mary Phillips, apply a few pumps of foundation to the inside of her arm and blend it with a brush so that the product melted into each and every bristle. Then she applied it to the face. I suspect this lends a more believable, seamless finish than pumping the product directly onto your face (the downside of which is using too much, which can then appear cakey if your blending isn't up to scratch).
The next step is concealer. I used Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer, £26, in areas where I like a bit more coverage: over spots and red skin staining left behind by said breakouts, and in the inner corners of my eyes. For some TikTokers, blush and a touch of highlighter tends to follow but I'm not done with sun-kissed skin yet so I dusted Jones Road The Bronzer, £32, onto my cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, and added Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand in Peachgasm, £30, over the top. That's my four-product limit.
On my eyes, I applied the shade Phase from Vieve's The Ninetease Eyeshadow Palette, £49, but you could use bronzer if you like. I don't believe an eyelash curler counts towards the two-product limit so after giving my lashes a quick press, I swiped on Max Factor Masterpiece 2 In 1 Lash WOW Volume & Length Mascara 001 Black, £12.99.
Ask any makeup artist and they'll tell you that one of the most viral lip combos right now is MAC's Lip Pencil in Soar, £20, and a clear gloss in the centre. To finish, I lined my lips and used a brush to feather the product into the middle, then slicked on Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment Strawberry Glaze, £16.
The 242 rule is wholly uncomplicated but my makeup instantly looked better. I can't put my finger on it; perhaps it's the bronzer layered over the blush (the ultimate glow-enhancing combination) or simply that my signature winged liner was becoming a little tired (and maybe even making my eyes look smaller). The thing about the 242 makeup rule, however, is that it doesn't leave much room for creativity. Sure, you could swap the neutral eyeshadow for something filled to bursting with glitter or opt for a bold lip rather than sheer and glossy. All in all though, it's pretty formulaic.
That said, this rule is perfect for makeup beginners and those with a penchant for natural or no-makeup makeup. Rules are often made to be broken but this one is racking up clicks, views and likes for a good reason: It works.
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