Skip to main content
Beauty Trends

Is 2016 make up really having a comeback?

Jade Biggs
Writer and expert1 month ago
View Jade Biggs's profile
A close up image of a woman with dark hair wearing full coverage foundation, smoky eye make up, false lashes and a nude glossy lip.

If you’re ever wondering what the ‘next big thing’ will be, a quick scroll on TikTok is sure to offer the answer. From Bed Rotting to Balletcore beauty (and let’s not forget our most recent favourite: the Everything Shower), TikTok’s For You Page is awash with trends just waiting to be hopped on. 

And the latest trend taking social media by storm? 2016 make up. 


As the name suggests, the 2016 make up trend is inspired by the must-have products and application styles from 2016. Think: dramatic brows, cut crease lids, uber-lined lips and a seriously matte complexion. The trend couldn’t be further from the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ that has dominated the beauty world in recent years, characterised by dewy skin, barely-there eye make up and soft blush. 

“Possible controversial opinion over here, 2016 was the peak of make up,” beauty influencer Mirta Miler said of the trend on Instagram, before recreating the look for her 1.5 million followers. 

“Why did we ever stop?” she added at the end of her video, admiring her finished creation. “Watch me do this every day from now on.” 

Despite racking up almost 40K likes on her video, in the comments section there was a mixed reaction from fans about the supposed comeback of 2016 make up. 

“I will forever keep my 2016 brows,” one person commented, showing their love for the trend, as another wrote: “I miss this style so much.” 

“I love my 2016 make up. I just don’t see the need to wear it at 10am anymore,” someone else commented along with a laughing emoji, as another simply said: “Thank god it’s over.” 

Amongst the arguments for and against the return of the 2016 make up trend, there was a clear common ground. “I want it back in trend! Love it, but damn it did take a long time,” one person said, as another added: “I love it, yet I don’t miss doing my makeup for 3 hours.” A third agreed, writing: “We stopped because it took us forever to do this entire process.” 

So, with the internet divided on whether 2016 make up should return to our 2024 faces, what do two beauty editors think?  


“Personally, the trend just isn’t for me” Trifonia Asmar, Senior SEO Copywriter 

“While I love the way 2016 make up is nostalgic, expressive and demonstrates supreme artistry (hello heavy liner, translucent powder and big, bold brows), as someone who taps into clean aesthetics, personally the trend just isn’t for me. Why? Well, firstly, it doesn’t bode well for my skin’s overall health. With layers and layers of complexion make up to contend with – we’re talking concealer, matte foundation, powder, contouring and then more powder – my face would feel too heavy and clogged, resulting in a boom of blemishes and spots. What’s more, with the throwback trend spotlighting the contour techniques of yesteryear, it’s not the easiest of looks to get right when your MUA skills aren’t top notch. As someone who has only just about mastered the art of blush and highlighter placement, the level of detail 2016 make up brings is one step too far for me. All in all, while it’s not a look I will be bringing back anytime soon, I applaud the originality behind it and will be celebrating the self-expression of those who will ace it!” 

“I’m thrilled to see the return of 2016 make up”Jade Biggs, Senior Copywriter 

“As an early nineties millennial, the 2016 make up trend is so nostalgic for me. From the fashion trends (see: lace up bodysuits and chokers) to the way we used social media (RIP, Snapchat’s dog filter), that era is what I would call ‘the good old days’ — it’s no wonder then, that I’m so thrilled to see the return of 2016 make up. As well as the heavy dose of nostalgia the trend gives me, it’s more aligned to my style of make up in comparison to other trends, like the ‘clean girl aesthetic’. You’ll never catch me without my cat-eye eyeliner or a swipe of glittery eyeshadow (the Urban Decay Mono Moondust Eyeshadow in ‘Space Cowboy’ is my ride-or-die), and as someone with oily skin, I’ve typically opted for matte finish foundations — although, more recently, I’ve been reaching for dewier, more skin-like base make up. As for brows, I was very much on board with the Dipbrow Movement back in 2016, and I’m still of the opinion that the bigger, the better, but now I’m team bushy! With all that being said, I won’t be fully jumping back into 2016 make up, but I will take inspiration from it and inject that into my current look — as well as cheering on those who are!” 



No 2016 make up look would be complete without carefully carved brows, and Anastasia Beverly Hills is an absolute non-negotiable for this. Add the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel to your basket for modern-day 2016 brows, teamed with the Benefit Powmade Brow Pomade and the Kosas BROW POP Dual-Action Defining Pencil 


As Mirta Miler expertly demonstrated in her Instagram Reel, lids in 2016 were adorned with glitter and a sharp-as-a-knife cut crease. Achieve the look by starting with a nude palette, like the VIEVE The Ninetease Palette or the Huda Beauty Empowered Eyeshadow Palette, then carve out your crease with a full-coverage concealer, like the Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Concealer. Next, load on lots of shimmer (try the NYX Professional Makeup’s Metallic Glitter) then swipe on some eyeliner before finishing off with a pair of statement false eyelashes. 


Bid farewell to no-make up make up and fill your beauty bag with full coverage foundations and matte finish powders for the 2016 make up trend. Prime skin for your masterpiece with a stay-all-day staple like the Milk Makeup Pore Eclipse Mattifying Primer, then go in with a base like the NARS Soft Matte Foundation or the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation. Next up, concealer and contour is a must — our picks are the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Liquid Concealer and the Danessa Myricks Beauty Balm Contour. Finish off with a powder and seal the deal with a setting spray, like the Urban Decay All Nighter. 


Last but certainly not least, lips! And, you guessed it, we’re going matte... again. Start off by lining your lips with a pencil like the By Terry Hyaluronic Lip Liner then load on a lipstick, like the new Westman Atelier Lip Suede Matte Lipstick. 

It’s giving: nostalgia... 



Jade Biggs
Writer and expert
View Jade Biggs's profile
Having spent much of her career in the world of glossy magazines, Jade is one of Cult Beauty's Senior Copywriters. As well as a passion for all-things-words (she can — and will, if asked — write a dissertation on fake tan), she has heaps of skin care and beauty know-how (including how to achieve the perfect winged eyeliner again and again... and again). When she’s not applying fake tan or admiring her knife-sharp liner, she’s an adoring mum to four feline fur babies, hunting down inspiration for her next set of acrylic nails or watching endless episodes of reality TV.