The fast-paced social media app TikTok, renowned for its unending supply of microtrends, has returned to make its mark in the beauty sphere. From 2023’s clean girl make-up to cherry cola lips, it’s high time we hop onto the next TikTok trick, viral product or niche aesthetic to elevate our beauty game. What’s in this season? The visual weight make-up theory.
Yes, 2024’s newly minted trend theorises subjects as being either a high or low visual weight, influenced by one’s features. The theory has less to do with actual weight than facial proportions, think: volume, prominence of bone structure and blending of facial features. Complicated as it may be, people are desperate to discover where they belong—be it through the ‘contrast picture test’ or the effect of the ‘Bold Glamour’ filter on their visages. The question is, why?
@princessraquelle happy thanksgiving loves~😋❤️ #beauty #makeup #makeuptutorial #makeuphacks #beautyhacks #beautytips #kpop #kpopidol #makeuptips #lisa #iu #lisablackpink #blackpink ♬ Girls Like Me Don’t Cry (Remix) – thuy
In the nature of other online archetypes, each visual weight group is accompanied by a slew of standards promising to beautify one’s countenance. According to TikTok beauty guru @princessraquelle, your category “impacts how make-up and clothing looks on you”, positioning these rules as the cheat code to glowing-up. For instance, high visual weight characters with dramatic features like Hollywood’s Angelina Jolie and Blackpink’s Lisa, are advised to sport natural hairstyles and bolder make-up due to naturally strong, charismatic appearances. On the flip side, those of low visual weight like K-pop icons IU and Yeji, are recommended light make-up with muted, neutral shades due to their delicate features.
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Whilst beauty TikTokers are advocating this theory through recreating blueprint, guaranteed make-up looks for each type, with even a dedicated ‘visual weight make-up’ filter released on the app, the Vogue Singapore beauty team questions the significance of this microtrend. Is the theory and its guidelines the be-all and end-all in one’s beauty and make-up choices? Are our self-expressions tied down to the categories we belong to? Weighing in on this topic are professional make-up artists Airin Lee and Bobbie Ng of The Make Up Room, to answer us and our fellow beauty enthusiasts.
@priscillakwonThe way high visual weight makeup looks SO good on people but I’m just far away from it
As experts, are there similar theories that exist in make-up artistry?
In the expansive beauty landscape, make-up artistry methods have existed long before the inception of TikTok tips. According to the professionals, related concepts are known under different terms. Lee cites approaches such as the ratio technique, which emphasises facial symmetry, or the colour theory which uses tones to counterbalance. Ng concurs, reminding us that “maintaining balance between the choice of colours, textures and one’s features, considering the occasion as well” is crucial. It is evident you’ll want to focus on achieving harmonious make-up, regardless of visual weight.
Name effective make-up techniques you would recommend for either high or low visual weight faces?
The theory might have been spot on in distinguishing each visual weight type’s features, but it seems that there’s room to bend the rules. On whether only bolder make-up is suitable for high visual weight faces, Ng believes that it is not a constant necessity. Less might mean more in some situations, as “already defined features could look overdone”. On the other hand, her view is that low visual weight faces have the ability to experiment with a greater range of looks—either “lightly defining the soft features or going all-out glam”. “Eyeliner, mascara and blush are a must for them”, she reminds.
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What products would you recommend for each type?
According to Lee, high visual weight faces can’t go wrong with Rare Beauty’s All Of The Above weightless eyeshadow stick. Her choice shade is Growth, and for lips, she proposes Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist in 320. Low visual weight faces can try out the NARS Afterglow liquid blush in Behave for a rosy glow, and a glazed pout courtesy of Sephora Collection’s Outrageous Plumping lip gloss. However, feel free to swap the colours to what best works for you.
Are there specific areas or features that make-up artists target to enhance or minimise on high or low visual weight faces?
Keeping the desired result of harmony in mind, Ng suggests that “pronounced high visual weight features should be balanced and coherent with the others”. To illustrate, those with deep-set or larger eyes could consider amplifying the lips. Lee echoes that “such choices can be kept fluid depending on the goal look”.
How much does one’s visual weight matter in applying make-up?
It’s reasonable to take visual weight into some level of consideration when analysing one’s features. Ng’s stance remains clear on this—attaining “balance on all sides of the face” is optimal. Beyond that, Lee responds to this burning question stating that “this theory is but a general guideline which does not need to be strictly followed, and there are other more important methods that help to determine aesthetically-pleasing make-up”. The experts’ voices have been heard—in the world of make-up, an assortment of tricks exist to create beauty and at the end of the day, beauty looks should be “fun and personal” for every individual.