This 'colour theory' lipstick trend has over 20 million views on TikTok

·3-min read

On TikTok, we see many beauty trends, hacks and even a handy dandy top tip every now and then. A few weeks ago, we were all about the 90s hair gem tool (actually, we still are, tbh) and not too long before that there was the crease-free concealer hack. Oh, and who could forget the one-layer makeup trend?! Not me, that's for sure...

Now, when scrolling down my FYP, I tend to anticipate what's to come – perhaps it'll be an influencer #influencing a new mascara launch or it may be that a cat video will pop up from time to time. But let's not get me started on our feline friends. Instead, my FYP brought up something I did not see coming.

With over 20 million views and a casual 2.2 million likes, user @makeupbymonicaa's video quickly went viral for simply showing how different a lipstick can look on two different skin tones. Take a look below:

But how is it that one lipstick can look oh so different? Well, in an additional two follow up TikToks, Monica explained: "This is not a trick – it's colour theory. We even kissed a paper towel to show you guys it's the same lipstick. The colour of a lipstick appears different depending on the colour of [its] base".

Intrigued by the science behind this wizardry, we spoke with Dominic Skinner, Global Senior Artist at MAC Cosmetics. "Colour theory is essentially a mix of how colours are made, how colours react and how colours are seen," he explains. "This TikTok video beautifully illustrates all three".

"Firstly, the colour of the liquid lipstick is pink. However, what many don’t realise is that pink is a mix of both cool and warm tones".

Dom adds that this is why the lipstick looks so different on each person. "One person has a more golden skin tone, this brings out more of the red within the lip colour making it look warmer.

"Whereas, on the other person, their skin tone has more of a rose undertone, which brings out the blue and making the lip colour look more mauve or purple. This is also enhanced by the very different natural lip colours of each person".

Secondly, Dominic touches on another reason why we may interpret different colours. "Basically, our eyes have different colour receptors, each one seeing a specific primary colour. This information is then stitched together so we can register all the colours at once. However, receptors can be deceived". Now, stay with us...

"While taking in all the visual information, the colours that surround the shade we are focusing on can skew the info and makes us think we seeing something ever so subtlety different. A prime example of this was the ‘white dress/blue dress’ meme from a few years back.

"Colour and colour theory are incredible and there are so many variations, like light colour theory, pigment-based colour theory and process colour theory, for example. Our eyes work incredibly hard to capture everything, so don’t be too hard on them if they make a little mistake every now and then".

Very well put, Dom!

Of course, not ones to fall victim to a hyped trend without trying it out for ourselves, we had to put it to the test – The Cosmo Hype Test, in fact. Watch what happened when we tried the lipstick colour theory below:

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