Credit: Composite: Ian Moore / Mashable / Image: Sofia Polukhina / Moment / Iuliia Isaieva / PeopleImages / iStock / Deagreez / Francesco Prandoni / Prostock-Studio / Getty.

Best of 2023

2023 deserves a closer look. Let’s dive into the most captivating, surprising, and even perplexing trends of the year, as we join Mashable in reviewing the highlights of 2023.

TikTok enthusiasts are deeply drawn to aesthetics, especially the niche and nostalgic ones that defy time. In 2023, the platform swarmed with beauty and fashion trends, spanning from seasonal fads and nods to iconic films to cultural phenomena that captured the internet’s attention (for instance, Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski adventures). These trends were characterized by increasingly specific names, known mainly to those immersed in endless FYP scrolls. The phenomenon ranged from popular “-girl” trends like coastal cowgirl and tomato girl, to larger visual aesthetics such as Barbiecore and mermaidcore.

Exploring the #Barbiecore Trend: Think Pink

However, 2023 also saw a wave of scrutiny directed at these trends and their implications. Cultural critics began to challenge the nature of trend culture, questioning the multitude of terms introduced by TikTok and subsequently adopted by mainstream media. Reflecting on these microtrends, Rebecca Jennings noted in Vox, “Reading them all in a row, you’d be forgiven for thinking these terms are at best silly and meaningless, and at worst obnoxious and insidious.” Delia Cai, a correspondent at Vanity Fair, suggested that TikTok’s “girl” trends overly emphasized femininity and whiteness, stating, “It’s this specific idea of girlhood that we are currently consumed by, everywhere we see: exuberant and hyperfeminine, playful and innocent—and therefore, almost always white.”

Consumers and TikTok creators also exhibited a tangible resistance to these trends. Queries about individuality and mass consumerism emerged in trend discourse. For instance, the emergence of “blueberry milk nails” led to discussions about overconsumption and the recycling of existing trends ad infinitum. “De-influencing” became an ironic response to the prevalent cycle of a) influencer promotion and b) product purchases. Some creators began advocating for more candid product reviews and urged their followers to refrain from unnecessary consumption of items aggressively promoted on TikTok.

Despite evident exhaustion, these trends persist and continue to steer lifestyle content on TikTok. Brands eagerly embraced these trends, fueling a commercialized environment. Yet, the ongoing discourse remains crucial—a moment to contemplate the intentions behind influencing and the commercialization of TikTok as a whole. Nonetheless, at its core, microtrends offer an avenue for entertainment and engagement. Trends come and go, and few understand this better than the TikTok community. For some, each new aesthetic is simply a means to enjoy a little fun.

The Allure of “Tomato Girl”

A TikToker experimenting with 'tomato girl' makeup.

Credit: TikTok / @aysha_harun

A TikToker experimenting with 'tomato girl' makeup.

Credit: TikTok / @atosaaghakhani

Summer has always been the ideal season for trends to blossom, and “tomato girl” was no exception. This aesthetic drew inspiration from Mediterranean locales, infusing a romantic essence into the summer color palette. Anticipate bursts of red, orange, warm hues, and hints of floral patterns. Think of the wardrobe favored by guests at The White Lotus in its Sicilian setting during Season 2: sundresses, headscarves, and a sun-kissed glow. On TikTok, “tomato girl” makeup rapidly gained popularity, with cream blush and vibrant red lips taking center stage.


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