Cast your mind back to 2014, when the phrase ‘normcore’ entered our shared vernacular, closely followed by ‘dadcore’ and the accompanying chunky trainer trends. Fast forward nearly a decade, and the ‘core’ movement has gone wild, expanding from fashion to subsume beauty too.
Fashion and beauty brands are rushing to keep up with the neverending carousel of emerging aesthetics, with what feels like a new ‘core’ trending on Tiktok every week, but what is ‘core’ actually all about?
The word ‘core’ describes an aesthetic or vibe that centres around a certain preferred subject, which is reflected in your outfits and/or beauty looks. These are subject to interpretation and can be abstract, exaggerated, or just plain bonkers. For example, ‘balletcore’, one of the biggest beauty trends this year, amps up the frosted highlighters and pink blush to the extreme, giving a whimsical spin on reality.
Where these ‘cores’ emerge from is as random as the looks themselves. Inspiration can come from pop culture, often movies and music, but it can also derive from celebrities and wider culture conversations.
But aside from their reflection of the zeitgeist, these ‘core’ trends and aesthetics are meant to offer fun, provoking experimentation and a chance to step outside your comfort zone to try a new look.
A 2023 beautycore guide
This year has been full on ‘core’ crazy, so to make your search for inspiration a bit easier, I’ve rounded up the most popular beautycore looks from this year so far.
With the release of Disney’s new The Little Mermaid movie, came Mermaidcore. This look focuses on shimmering eyes, aqua hues and glistening skin. If you’re feeling extra, add some gems and pearls as decals to your makeup or nails. If you look like you’ve just surfaced from the ocean, you’re doing it right.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a film that’s created more excitement than Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, especially considering it hasn’t even been released yet. Hot pink has shown millennial pink the door, and no amount is too much. From fuchsia liner to magenta lips and bubblegum blush, monochrome pink is in.
Delicate and frosted, this core trend borrows inspo from 00s frosted lids and extreme highlighters. Glowy, bare-looking skin is worn with soft pink blush and frosted eyeshadows, highlighting the high points of the face with a glossy or frosted lip. For hair, scrape it back into a ballerina bun with a ribbon as a finishing touch.
Quiet luxury core
The obsession with the ‘quiet luxury’ trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for the rest of this year, and luckily, it’s relatively easy to achieve when it comes to makeup. The key? Healthy, dewy skin that looks like you’ve paid thousands to achieve, with nude-toned lips, a slick of mascara and clear brow gel to look like you haven’t tried at all.
Gothic makeup has transcended from how you probably remember it looking when you had your experimental phase in your early teens. Think less Ozzy Osborne and more Morticia Addams. Heavy eyeshadow has been swapped out for white lids all the way to the brow bone, super thin eyebrows (fake this by covering your natural brows with a white pigment and draw the brows back in with a pencil), with blood-red lips and dark lip liner. Oh, and don’t forget some heavy cheekbone contouring for that vampy IT girl look.
Cute, cosy, countryside chic is what cottagecore makeup is all about. Think sunkissed blush across your nose and cheeks, full rosy lips, warm-toned eyes with inner corner highlight and soft liner. The goal is to look like you spend most of your days pottering around your cottage garden with the sun on your skin.
Y2K makeup kind of seems like it’s never gone away over the past few years, but the most recent look to blow up on Tiktok is none other than Ashley Olsen’s golden glowing Y2K skin and smokey eye combo. Dewy, glowing skin is the absolute highlight (pardon the pun) of this look, all the way from the brow bone to the cupid’s bow. Warm up the skin with a cream bronzer, forgo the contour and seal the look with a nude satin lipstick.