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

Why are we romanticising sorrow and anxiety?

Have you ever had one of those insanely tough 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 worked on for months. You break down as soon as you step through your door. You feel better because crying releases endorphins but do you look better? Or does your crying face resemble Kim Kardashian’s? The reason we ask this absurd question is that someone on TikTok not only thought they look better after a full-blown weeping session but they also created a make-up tutorial that resembles the post-cry look. And it went zooming across the internet until ‘crying girl makeup’ landed up in the 2022s beauty one-hot-minute trend list.

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


Okay, if we take this look on a surface level, it’s not bad. However, the idea behind it is problematic, to say the least. There are theories floating online that say that the trend has its roots in celebrities posting their post-cry selfies. Think back to Bella Hadid’s viral post about her struggles with mental health or Lizzo’s crying video or Nicola Peltz Beckham's crying post captioned “Mondays”. While all of these came from vulnerable moments in their lives, we don’t need a trend romanticizing sorrow. Especially considering we live in a world where conversations surrounding anxiety and mental health are only propelling further.

We can find reassurance in the fact that beauty trends are short-lived, and while we’ve seen some truly brilliant ones this year, crying girl makeup should not be up there.