What is ‘crying girl makeup’ and why it’s problematic

Have you ever had one of those insanely difficult days at work that make you want to cry yourself to sleep? Maybe your boss yelled at you or maybe your client didn’t approve of the presentation you’ve been working on for months. It crashes as soon as you enter your door. You feel better because crying releases endorphins, but do you look better? Or is your crying face similar to Kim Kardashian’s? The reason we asked this silly question is because someone on TikTok not only thought he looked better after a full crying session, but also created a makeup tutorial that looks like his post-cry look. And it kept zooming in online until “crying makeup” appeared on the list of 1-minute beauty trends in 2022.

Let us break this down for you. Some time ago, makeup artist Zoe Kim Kennelly posted a video on TikTok explaining how to recreate the look you get after a good crying session. As she described it, “Do you know how good we look when we cry?” And he dedicated it to all the “flaky girls” who don’t want to cry but still want to make it look like she just did. She starts with a soft, matte red lip with a load of gloss for “soft, plump lips” and then (over) applies the blush to her eyes, under her eyes, cheekbones, and nose. But it’s not over yet. Kenealy goes in with some liquid gloss under her eyes, on her cheeks, and on her cupid’s bow. She curls her lashes and credits the most important one as the last—a generous amount of lip gloss.

Well, if we throw this look at the surface level, it’s not bad. However, the idea behind it is problematic, to say the least. There are theories floating around the internet that say this trend has its roots in celebrities posting selfies of themselves after crying. Think back to Bella Hadid’s viral post about her struggles with mental health, Lizzo’s crying video, or Nicola Peltz Beckham’s crying “Mondays” post. While all of these came from vulnerable moments in their lives, we don’t need a romantic direction for grief. Especially considering that we live in a world where conversations about anxiety and mental health only push it further.

We can find reassurance in the fact that beauty trends are short-lived, and while we’ve seen some really cool trends this year, crying girl makeup shouldn’t be there.