No longer reserved for face paint at children’s parties, butterfly makeup is becoming an increasingly popular beauty look both irl and through virtual filters. On platforms like Instagram and Tiktok a search of #butterflymakeup garners almost 50K posts and over 12M views respectively. The trend is a nostalgic nod to the 90s, when butterfly clips and Mariah Carey (dressed in the iconic sequin butterfly top by Emanuel Ungaro) reigned supreme.
Iterations of the trend vary in theatricality. Some opt for a simple temporary tattoo paired with an equally 90s glossy lip for a more casual look (à la @salemmitchell), while others create more intricate full face designs (example being @anatakonyourface). However conceived, the delicate intrinsic beauty of butterflies is conveyed.
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Butterflies embody a flamboyant expressiveness that lends them to beauty and fashion. Makeup is playful by nature, and much like butterflies, is emblematic of the magic of metamorphoses. Especially in a post-lockdown context, these vibrant beauty looks are an ode to recuperation and transformation: no one is emerging from their lockdown cocoons the same they went in.