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Why Are We So Obsessed With Turning Everything Into An Aesthetic?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

“Blueberry milk nails,” “Latte makeup,” and “Cinnamon Cookie Butter Hair.” These are probably terms that you’ve seen on TikTok over the last few months, used to describe beauty trends. If you haven’t heard of those, you’ve most likely seen the hashtags “Cottagecore,” “Balletcore,” “Coquette,” or “Tomato Girl Summer” thrown around casually in TikTok captions. To the average onlooker, these are just cute names for different nail polish shades or specific makeup styles, but they’re really just indicators of a bigger issue: our obsession with trends and the need to label every niche that graces our screens. While our likes, dislikes and interests have always played a role when defining our identities, over the last few years, it seems as though our identities are embedded in the media and trends we consume.   

The trend cycle, which typically lasts 25 to 30 years, is at an all-time high right now and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. With the influx of influencers advertising new products every few days, and a need to feed into trends before they peak and inevitably decline, it’s difficult to keep up with all of the fads that are altering the trend cycle as we know it. Homogeneity starts to trickle into our lives in grade school as we alter our likes and dislikes to fit in with our peers. While we’re taught this eventually ends once we blossom into adulthood, it seems as though this homogeneity has now infiltrated the internet and promotes the idea that if you’re not conforming to the latest micro-trend, then you’re behind socially. Even though being taunted for not having the latest fad is not a new concept, we’re in an era that promotes this homogeneity so much, that we’re losing all sense of individuality and self-expression. 

A very recent example of this phenomenon is the shift in trends after Sofia Richie got married in the spring. Following the days after her wedding, search terms like “quiet luxury” and “old money aesthetic” were trending on all social media platforms, and the floodgates for more micro-trends opened. Since her nuptials, Sofia Richie has reached Hailey Bieber’s status when it comes to setting trends and having a cult following. For the last few years, Hailey Bieber’s style has been chronicled by every fashion magazine imaginable; if she wore a slick-backed bun, then everyone else started wearing slick-backed buns. If she had “glazed donut nails” then the nail polish shade used to achieve that look was sold out within 24 hours nationwide. More recently, she’s been at the center of another hair trend: the aforementioned fad of “Cinnamon Cookie Butter Hair.” A quick Google search of this term will show you that it’s just brown hair with caramel-colored highlights. While there’s no doubt that both Sofia Richie and Hailey Bieber are both stunning, when are we going to stop letting every small change they make to their appearance rule the way we look? 

Claudia Stewart is currently a senior at VCU, majoring in fashion merchandising with a minor in art history. She enjoys watching rom-coms, baking double chocolate chip cookies with her roommate, and finding the best spot for sushi in her free time. Stewart loves writing about pop culture, fashion, and beauty.