When it comes to trends, Hailey Bieber is known for setting them. Whether it’s glazed-donut nails or glazed-donut skin, the Rhode founder is always making beauty and fashion trends go viral. However, when the model recently posted on TikTok about “brownie glazed lips” she was met with raised eyebrows — for good reason.
On August 22, Bieber shared a TikTok of herself lining her lips with a brown pencil and then applying a glossy Rhode lip treatment over top. As Page Six reports, in a second TikTok posted on August 23, Bieber puckered her lips to show off the lip combo and captioned the video: “ready for all the fall things including brownie glazed lips.”
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It seemed innocuous enough, however, many Brown and Black women immediately called Bieber out in the comments for taking the brown liner and gloss look, something that was already popular in the racialized communities, and re-branding it as something new.
The comments began rolling in. User @jc23331 wrote, “So basically the exact same color combo our tias have been using,” with a laughing emoji. Another user, @laurakaryme00 wrote: “90’s LATINA LIPS love that you took inspiration from them.”
In other words, it looks like Bieber was engaging in cultural appropriation, although in a very non-overt way.
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Hailey Bieber is the face of the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic — which was invented by women of colour
Cultural appropriation doesn’t always have to be loud and in your face to exist. When most people think about it, it’s often offensive, bold examples such as people wearing racist Halloween costumes, dressing in traditional cultural clothing from marginalized communities or doing things like Blackface. But it can also happen on smaller scales, and this includes Hailey Bieber popularizing and renaming trends that have already existed thanks to racialized women.
Slicked buns, gold hoops and more beauty trends that have come to be associated with the clean girl aesthetic have always been popular with Black and Brown women, but when Hailey Bieber does them, she gets labelled as a trendsetter.
…history and context are important, so it’s necessary that we recognize where these beauty trends originate from in order to understand the significance behind them.
And that’s not to say she’s doing these trends with the intent of co-opting them, but by virtue of her being a white celebrity, people associate the trend with her — meaning that the people who created them are pretty much erased from the conversation.
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TIME wrote that Bieber’s brownie lip look “has historically been associated with the distinct aesthetics of cholas, a subculture of first and second generation Mexican Americans, as well as Black and brown women, who often turned to brown brow and eye liners and clear lip gloss to create a nude lip color when the market lacked shade options to match their skin tones.”
New York Times style reporter Sandra E. Garcia echoed this when speaking to Good Morning America. “[Black women and Latinas] are being looked at as lesser than any other woman just because of the way they decide to do their own makeup,” she said. “But then another woman, a white woman, does the same thing, and her lip gloss is sold out and she’s now the face of the trend.”
Related: Hailey Bieber reveals she had a procedure to repair a hole in her heart.
We’d like to think Hailey Bieber was likely just making a video on what she thought was a cute makeup look. But history and context are important, so it’s necessary that we recognize where these beauty trends originate from in order to understand the significance behind them.
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