There is a lot that can be said about the beauty realm this year, but if there is one thing that most devotees will agree on, it is that there is never a dull moment. This feels especially pertinent considering that 2023 was the year of the micro trend; an unceasing affair comprising curated hair, complexion, and make-up aesthetics equipped with catchy epithets ranging from cherry cola pouts to skin cycling. Celebrities, too, spearheaded the charge on several monumental movements with momentous mane makeovers. bold facial adornments, and more, many of whom drew inspiration from influential productions within the current zeitgeist. At the top of the list: Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Disney’s Little Mermaid, both of which kicked off a wave of oceanic-inspired talons and pastel pink accents that boasted remarkable staying power. Not forgetting, of course, the bouts of drama stemming from the YouTube community, which included Mikayla Noguiera’s falsified review of the L’Oréal Telescopic Lift Mascara as well as Jeffree Star’s comeback. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Vogue Singapore presents an extensive curation of the best beauty moments of 2023 for your viewing pleasure below, ranging from standout runway instances to jaw-dropping red carpet transformations.
The best beauty moments of 2023
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Pamela Anderson's views on 'lifeing'
The 56-year-old bombshell turned heads at the Victoria Beckham show at Paris Fashion Week, opting for a make-up free face. But what really resonated with women globally was not her ‘dare to bare’ attitude, but perspective on self-acceptance and finding comfort in her skin.
“It’s all about self-acceptance. This is the chapter of my life I’m trying to embrace now,” Anderson told a reporter for i-D. “Sometimes it’s challenging, and you just have to understand that you’re good enough and that you are beautiful.
“I like to stay the word ‘lifeing’ instead of ‘ageing’. Chasing youth is just futile, you’re never going to get there so why not embrace what’s going on? I really walked out the door as me. I feel relief, a weight off my shoulders and I’m dressing for me now. Not for everybody else.”
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Doja Cat covered in 30,000 crystals at Schiaparelli
2023 was the year Doja Cat proved to us that as long as she’s involved, we can always expect the unexpected. Between radical words of parasocial relationships and catty transformations at the Met, perhaps none were quite as phenomenal as when she took her place in the front row of the Schiaparelli spring/summer haute couture show glistening in crimson—made from over 30,000 Swarovski crystals. A sublime treat for her watching audience, no less.
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Bows on faces at Simone Rocha AW23
If one accessory ruled in 2023, it was the tiny but mighty satin bow. Fuelled by the balletcore and coquettecore trends, bows of all kinds adorned tresses, manicures and even in the case of Simone Rocha, on cheeks.
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Rihanna's throwback tresses
The Internet was collectively transported back to 2012 when the Barbadian singer, actress, and songwriter showed up at the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix sporting honey-blonde locks and a layered, sweeping fringe. This marks the lightest bad gal RiRi has gone since the release of her Unapologetic album, sparking speculations that she might be back at the studio working on a new era of music.
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Dua Lipa's flame-red mane
Hot off Rihanna’s heels is Dua Lipa, who debuted her spicy auburn mane alongside a completely new Instagram feed in October. The sole post on her grid? A selfie captioned “Miss me?”. She then proceeded to drop a new track, ‘Houdini’, to showcase her new sound which veers toward 1970s-era psychedelia.
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Lash gate orchestrated by Mikayla Nogueira
The TikTok and YouTube star fell out of favour with the beauty community after she was accused of donning false eyelashes during a sponsored review of the L’Óreal Telescopic Lift Mascara. Fans were gutted by her supposed duplicity, considered how Nogueira’s claim to fame was centred around her unerringly honest and authentic reviews. The American social media influencer ceased posting on social media for a week before returning, though she still refuses to address the controversy on both TikTok and Instagram.
7 / 13
NewJeans's 'Super Shy' music video
Recall the summer of 2023. The K-pop quintet’s sophomore EP is just about to hit the charts, but before that—a boppy pre-release meant to go hand in hand with one swinging music video. The MV in question? ‘Super Shy’, which saw the girls enter the fray with a nod to their new era—imbued by a Y2K frenzy of sticker embellishments, butterfly clips and one increasingly prevailing make-up look: the tonal crush of under-eye blush swiped up to the lids.
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Jeffree Star's comeback
The controversial Internet personality took to TikTok to announce that they would be reinstating their brutally honest make-up reviews after Mikayla Nogueira came under fire for her deceptive behaviour. “A lot of foundations and mascaras and certain things I hear may be fraudulent. So if y’all want an unbiased motherf**king b***h that’s been reviewing makeup for 10 years, that has never accepting a f**king coin from one brand to ever say a product is ‘amazing’—then stay f**king tuned because the b***h is back,” they stated. Star has since launched a new make-up collection for their eponymous label, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, and has since shared their honest opinion on specific products from Rare Beauty and NYX.
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The 'Barbie' press tour
Pink and playfulness took centrestage in 2023 thanks to the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie; a pastel-coloured fever dream featuring monochromatic ensembles with matching make-up: think a pink pout, fuchsia eyeshadow, and sun-kissed skin.
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Mermaidcore manicures on the red carpet
The live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid propelled merfolk-inspired nail detailing into the spotlight—think seashells, bubbles, and shimmering holographic hues meant to mimic the ever-changing nature of light reflecting off tumultuous waves. Whitney Peak, Halle Bailey, and Hailee Steinfeld were early adopters of the trend, where they made a splash on the red carpet with standout talon looks.
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Tooth gems make a fresh statement
Hate it or love it, the glinting piece enshrined on your favourite celebrity’s grin has successfully had its moment. And those who have done it well, have managed to make it their own. From standouts like chains and diamantés to cutesy heart and flower motifs, this semi-permanent embellishment can do more than serve up a gleaming smile.
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Bae Suzy's hime haircut as Doona
Not all haircuts were made equal. What when ‘hime‘ is a direct translation for ‘princess’ in Japanese, there’s no question as to why it reigns above all—more so when it’s become synonymous with some of the biggest names in South Korea. At the Met Gala earlier this year, Song Hye-kyo wore it with a regal air but the one who really brought it home? Suzy Bae, who donned the face-framing haircut for her titular character in Doona!.
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The blonde-ssiance of Beyoncé
Beyoncé going platinum blonde certainly wasn’t on our bingo card this year, dialling up the drama all between her sensational Renaissance World Tour, which was already host to a smorgasbord of delicious beauty looks. And while 2023 is almost over, we’re happy to surmise that Blonde Bey will follow into the new year.