Beauty, Beauty Trends, Makeup

Uncanny Valley Makeup: A Look Into The Creepy Makeup Trend

uncanny valley makeup trend

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Raven Minyard. Find her on Instagram at @raven.minyard. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at thezillennialzine@gmail.com.

Halloween might be over, but there’s a new creepy makeup trend going viral on TikTok. The uncanny valley makeup trend began when TikTok creator @blonde.girlyy attempted to create a makeup look that made her seem vaguely inhuman, and it has since surpassed 45M views on the app, with several other creators posting videos of their own interpretations of the look. But what exactly is uncanny valley, and how does this makeup make you look uncanny? In this article, we’re going to dive into the strange world of the uncanny valley makeup trend and tell you all you need to know about this robotic look.

What Does Uncanny Valley Mean?

The term uncanny valley refers to the eerie, uneasy feeling you get when looking at something that is not quite human, such as androids and lifelike dolls. We also often get the uncanny valley feeling when looking at CGI. Think of how creepy the characters in The Polar Express are, or how strange it is to see a famous actor de-aged for a movie. The uncanny valley theory was introduced by robotics professor Masahiro Mori in 1970 and relates to the psychological experience of the uncanny, which describes things that are frightening in an oddly familiar way.

What Is The Uncanny Valley Makeup Trend?

This trend seems to have originated from a video by Emilia Barth (user blonde.girlyy) posted in late October. The video shows Barth doing her makeup in an attempt to make herself appear uncanny, and it has since gained 13.8M views and 1.7M likes. Barth certainly seems to have achieved her goal, as the comments of the video are flooded with users talking about how frightening the end results are. The final look depicts Barth as someone with extremely pale, smooth skin, no lips and dark round eyes.

Other users have since uploaded their own takes on the uncanny valley makeup trend. Most seem to follow Barth’s original concept by giving themselves pale skin and lips, rounded eyes and small, dark eyebrows, but some are putting their own spin on things. One user used liquid latex to make herself even more eerie, and another painted an open mouth onto her lips. While there are many different techniques, the end goal is always the same: to appear humanoid and lifeless.

How To Do Uncanny Valley Makeup

The first step to achieving an uncanny valley makeup look is to make your skin as pale and smooth as possible, like a robot or a porcelain doll. To do so, you’re going to need to apply a foundation a shade or two lighter than you’d normally wear. You can also apply the foundation to your mouth, and then trace the inner crease of your lips with a dark lip liner to make your mouth seem long and thin. 

Then, you’ll apply some light concealer under your eyes to make the area appear brighter, and you can use highlighter and contour to create shadows in areas you normally wouldn’t. You can then choose to conceal your eyebrows altogether or use a brow brush to make them short, dark and rounded. 

One of the biggest factors in pulling off the uncanny valley makeup look is the eyes. You’ll want to make them large, round and lifeless. To achieve this look, take a dark eyeliner pencil and apply it to both your top and bottom lid, just around the iris. This draws attention to your pupils and the center of your eyes, making them look dark and eerie.

Because there are so many different versions of this trend, there isn’t necessarily a “right” way to do it. Play around with your own features to figure out what makeup techniques work best for you. If you think you look slightly “off,” you’re probably doing the trend correctly.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the uncanny valley makeup trend. What do you think of this look? Let us know in the comments!

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