TikTok’s “Passport Makeup” Beauty Trend Shows the 2010 Aesthetic Is Here to Stay
Recently TikTok beauty influencer @georgiabarratt documented her trip to the local post office in TikTok. She was modelling her take on “passport makeup,” a “full beat” beauty look that has since gone viral with 18 million views and plenty of copycat tutorials.
Georgia Barratt specialises in hyper-feminine, club-ready makeup tutorials. Think sharp contours, pin curls, baked press powder makeup hacks and lifted “siren eye” (some would say “fox eye”). Makeup that looked crazy in a parking lot but pops on camera – even at the post office.
@georgia.barratt Reply to @haaalzzy mission complete #xyzbca #makeup #beauty ♬ As It Was – Harry Styles
Anyone who rushed to renew their expired visa will have been viscerally reminded that passport makeup is an art. Australia Post photographers have no eye, and no matter how on fleek you are when you head in, greige lighting, stringent guidelines (no overhead or “point five” selfies) and a lack of patience will fail to capture you at your best.
But, international travel is not what passport makeup is all about.
Passport Makeup Or “Snapchat Contour”?
For anyone engaged in beauty in 2014, the passport makeup look, which has 100M views currently, is powerfully reminiscent of Kim Kardashian’s contouring debut in 2014.
In 2014 a then-rising beauty icon posted a getting-ready selfie with MUA Scott Barnes. Her face appeared geometrically divided by huge streaks of brown and white triangles. This was professional grade “contouring” as used by film and television MUAs for years. It spawned a million “transformation” Youtube videos, contour kits and cringe-worthy flashback-heavy club photos.
The end of this hyper snatched trend can be traced to Kim Kardashian’s own evolving beauty look – as she started dating and then married Kanye West and began appearing in high fashion outfits, and “that girl style” editorial makeup looks. In 2021 KKW Beauty in 2021 for a complete revitalisation, Kardashian said that while the brand “started with contour kits,” they were repositioning for a more “elevated and sustainable look.”
…Why Do We Want This?
If we collectively decided to ditch our contour palettes when Becca’s Champagne Pop got pulled from shelves, why are we seeing a revival now?
There’s a general thirst for all things 2010.
We kicked off 2022 with a battle between “that girl” and the “party girl,” aesthetics while we navigated a flux of Y2K trends before skipping merrily on to Barbicore. This stylised, ultra-glam party girl aesthetic is less Lindsay Lohan, and more Amber Rose. It’s controlled, effortful, and imbued with performative femininity, much like the siren eye.
On May 27th trend podcast Nymphet Alumni described the rise and fall of the Snapocalypse – the app that preceded Instagram, and for anyone old enough to be on it was characterised by something the Nymphettes referred to as “devious heterosexuality,” that’s Drake, Kanye and “Thirst Trap” culture, virtual infidelity (hello disappearing messages) and catfishing.
The soundtrack? Tracks like Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Kanye’s “Blame Game,” that praised “cool girls” (“hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on, That’s when you’re the prettiest”) and chastised women for wearing Christian Louboutin platforms and Hervé Léger bandage dresses, and… essentially, not staying at home and answering their phones. Rapper Chief Keef brought the term THOT into the mainstream, with the track “Love No Thotties” (if you want some bad music, track this down, or don’t), the very same year Kim Kardashian launched the hard contour.
So what’s the relevance in 2023? Emily Ratajkowski and Megan Markle were rechristened with the baddie moniker in an atmosphere of cheating scandals, smokey eyes and hair extensions. We’ve also seen some of the most traumatic acts of public misogyny since Donald Trump’s election – concentrated on female sexuality and reproductive rights.
It seems the original STFU vibe of “catfishing makeup,” as referred to recently by the NY Post, has regained some of its appeal.
Why We’re Embracing a 2010 Aesthetic for 2023
Whatever the zeitgeist that’s fuelling it, we’re betting on the 2010s as 2023s Y2K. Why? Aside from “Champagne Pop” officially being back on shelves the people are here for it.
When this writer posted to Instagram mourning the Tom Ford-approved comeback of the stiletto pump, the overwhelming vibe was that people were there for it. No, we’re not dusting off our Wittner Platform Stilettos, but we might dust off our banana powders and a Fenty Match Stix.