Swamp Beauty Is the Next Big Makeup Trend To Look Out For

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Swamp Beauty Is the Next Big Makeup Trend To Look Out For featured image
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After a full year of clean girl makeup and coquettish beauty, it’s high time for beauty to get a little dirty. Answering the moment, of course, is the ’90s grunge look currently holding the runway and my TikTok algorithm in a chokehold. But more than that, we’re seeing play in earthy, grimey tones that exemplify what MAC’s director of makeup artistry Terry Barber calls ‘Swamp Beauty.’

Picture a mermaid coming out of the marsh grasses. Picture a grunge-babe with earth-witch vibes ready to break your heart and sleep in her makeup. That’s Swamp Beauty.

What Is Swamp Beauty?

“Last year the trends were all very beautiful,” Barber explains. “And I think there’s a subculture of people who want something a little more earthy, swampy, natural…something that feels a bit grunge.”

All about challenging the existing beauty standard, you can see grunge’s influence on a concept like Swamp Beauty, which intentionally mixes the beautiful and the traditionally ugly.

Makeup artist David Birdwell, BUXOM Cosmetics’ executive director of global education and artistry explains to Allure that grunge is supposed to be fun. “Grunge should challenge the status quo” Birdwell says. “Lean into the fun of this trend and use it to express your individuality.”

Along those lines, 2024 and swamp beauty are a rejection of that buttoned-up look.

“I think we’re moving into a space where people are looking off the beaten path,” explains Cat Quinn, MAC’s executive director of trends. “I think people are just a bit bored with the idea of pretty.”

Swamp Beauty: How to

The core of this trend is color. According to makeup artist Natalie Dresher, a key feature of this trend is the repurposing of murky greens.

“As swamp beauty rises in 2024,” Dresher says. “Green will become a neutral.”


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♬ (Nice Dream) – Radiohead

If you know anything about eye shadow, you know that green can be a particularly finicky color to formulate. So, finding an earthy green that isn’t spotty or hard to blend is a must.

“These days, MAC shadows are so well made that they are less tacky,” Barber explains. “They don’t grab the skin as much, so that you can actually layer these shadows on top of each other. You could use a deep green and overlay it with gold to get that gilded look. But if you’re layering a poorly made eye shadow on top of a poorly made eye shadow, it just becomes muddy.”

Color-wise, you really have a lot to choose from when it comes to swamp beauty.

“There are so many colors in those marshes and swampy inspirations,” Quinn says. “Terry described it to me on set as a beautiful sludge.”

If you’re hesitant to dive right in with an all-over green lid, Dresher recommends working in an olive tone alongside bronzy neutrals.

“The Tarte Smoldereyes in olive and bronze make the trend easy to achieve when doing your normal shadow routine,” Dresher explains. “You can pop a bit of this pencil shadow on the lid and you’re ready to become a swamp queen.”

Swamp Beauty Products

1 / 3

ILIA Cosmetics Liquid Eye Powder Tint in Juniper ($28)

A 2023 NewBeauty Award Winner, this highly pigmented eye pigment is easy to blend with a fingertip or a brush to create a buildable wash of color. We love this shade for it’s mossy green tones that remain bright and fun.

BUY NOW – $28

2 / 3

MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems ($23)

A blendable hunter green formulated to go on smooth, wet or dry, for up to 8 hours of creasless wear. This pressed powder matte is dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested to be safe for contact wearers and to keep skin clear of acne.

BUY NOW – $23

3 / 3

Half Magic Eye Shadow Single in Lil’ Deranged ($12)

A shimmery moss green in a velvety formula that packs high pigment into a single swipe, Lil Deranged from Half Magic is an ideal way to enter swamp beauty. Embrace the natural and earthy while still getting high payoff shine that could rival a disco ball.

BUY NOW – $12

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