As a child who went through many, many experimental phases, it perhaps comes as no surprise that in my adult life, I have a major love for left-field beauty trends. While no-makeup makeup has become my go-to look, I’ll bounce between gothic, vampy Wednesday Addams vibes and hedonistic, chaotic party-girl makeup when the mood takes me. The next makeup trend that I think will be taking 2023 by storm? Cyborg skin.
Yep, it’s time to get futuristic with our faces, as we leave the foodstuff-inspired jello skin and Twilight-renaissance vampire skin in 2022 and head towards sci-fi skin.
What is cyborg skin?
Jessica DeFino, a beauty culture critic and writer of the Substack newsletter Unpublishable (a must-read if you’re an avid consumer of all things beauty) cited ‘cyborg skin’ as the next step in the evolution of the glazed doughnut skin.
Whether you pay attention to fashion week or not, the runways are always reliable indicators of which trends will trickle down into the mainstream for the next season. Take a look at SS23’s runway beauty and you’ll see the likes of Diesel, Stella Jean and Mark Fast getting creative with some futuristic faces.
Cyborg skin, however, is all about skin that is so pristine, it almost doesn’t look real. A slight tongue-in-cheek reference to the idea of the overly filtered, perfect, un-human looking skin that we’ve become used to consuming through the lenses of Tiktok and Instagram, cyborg takes this to the extreme with a skin finish that makes you look, well, like you could be an AI robot.
Of course, I have to address the elephant in the room here: the idea of ‘perfect skin’ sets a pretty unrealistic standard for many of us, making the idea of cyborg skin a touch problematic. But as mentioned, I’m taking this one with a rather sizeable pinch of salt and using it as an opportunity to get experimental and step outside of my usual comfort zone, amping up the healthy, glowy skin I’m obsessed with and taking it to the extreme. After all, if you can’t have a bit of fun with your beauty looks, when can you?
How to get the cyborg skin look
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cyborg skin, so it’s a look you can achieve with any skin type and texture. And, as mentioned, for me this one is simply about boosting your skin to its absolute best, which is very personal to you.
Traditional ‘cyborg skin’ has a few different elements. In Vogue’s round-up of the biggest beauty trends for 2023, their predictions for ‘retro flash makeup’ and ‘Y2K continues’ shared similarities of an otherworldly and futuristic approach to our complexions, with uber-highlighted, duo-chrome skin finishes.
It borrows from the dewy, glass-skin finish that went viral in 2022, combines it with playful, holographic colour products, and then multiplies it by about 100. Here’s the thing about cyborg skin: it actually focuses more on the makeup than the skincare to achieve that ethereal-finish, making it more doable than you may originally have thought.
Apply your usual skincare routine that’s suited for your skin type and then use a pore-blurring primer, such as e.l.f’s Poreless Putty Primer, £9, e.l.f, to lay down a smooth base. Here you can go in with a concealer and or foundation that has a medium coverage and ideally a luminous finish, using it sparingly to achieve a flawless, no makeup-makeup base.
Highlighter is a big deal here. Rather than keeping it to the high points of your face, cyborg skin amps up the glow on the centre of your face where you might have previously avoided placing it in your T-Zone. Because cyborgs don’t have to worry about sebum, obvs.
Liquid highlighters are ideal for achieving the cyborg skin look as they melt into your base like a second skin. I love MAC’s Strobe Cream, £28, Look Fantastic, which has a pearlescent, slightly holographic colour shift. Pat this on the centre of your forehead, across your cheeks from your nose to the edge of your cheekbones, down the centre of your nose and on your chin.
To take the look to the next level, top the highlighter with a duo-chrome shift such as Peaches & Cream in Mermaze, Fantasy, and Pearl.
Ready to go? Here’s all the inspo you’ll need to channel your inner cyborg…