Beauty Trend: Do You Have High Or Low Visual Weight? A Gen Z Makeup Artist Weighs In On The New TikTok Trend

@raffyso_ / Instagram

Earlier this year, beauty content creator Jam Zoleta posted a video where she emphasized a seemingly curious new term in makeup: visual weight. “The hottest glow-up tip for 2024 is for you to know if you’re a high visual weight or low visual weight,” she says in the video. Zoleta, along with beauty creators such as Princess Raquelle and Helin Doski, have been exploring the trend in an array of videos: analyzing celebrities’ faces, makeup and styling tips for each visual weight, “get ready with me” videos, and even applying both makeup looks on each side of the face respectively.

In design principle, visual weight is defined as the measure of how much a visual element “attracts the eyes of the viewer.” Visual elements have a higher visual weight if they are larger, in warm colors, have darker values, or have an irregular shape—anything that easily catches attention.

When applied to analyzing faces, visual weight measures how prominent your facial features are. Applying the design principle means that larger and angular features define high-visual-weight faces, whereas low-visual-weight faces have more rounded and smaller facial features. Popular examples of high-visual-weight faces include the likes of Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, and Blackpink’s Lisa. On the other hand, Selena Gomez, IU, and Taylor Swift are some of the most popular low visual-weight muses.

There are several ways to determine your visual weight. On TikTok, there are filters designed for this purpose. The most recommended way to do it is through the photo contrast test, done by adjusting a photo’s contrast setting to both ends of the spectrum. If your facial features are more prominent in low contrast, your face has low visual weight, and if your features are more prominent in high contrast, then your face has high visual weight.

To learn more about the trend, Vogue Philippines had a short Q&A session with Gen Z makeup artist Raffy So.

What do you think of this trend? Does it have any merit?

The idea of low visual weight and high visual weight makeup totally makes sense. It’s like knowing how to use makeup to either keep things subtle and natural or go all out for a bold look. As a makeup artist, I see low visual weight makeup as the go-to for a natural, everyday look. It’s all about using lighter textures and softer colors to enhance features without looking too heavy. On the other hand, high visual weight makeup is like bringing out the big guns for a bold, standout look. Think bold colors, strong contrasts, and precise contouring to create a striking effect, perfect for special occasions or when you want to make a statement. So yeah, I definitely play around with both styles depending on the vibe my client wants to go for. 

@raffyso_ / Instagram
@raffyso_ / Instagram

What are your makeup tips for high and low visual weight faces?

For low visual weight makeup, keep it light with tinted moisturizers, soft shades for eyes and lips, and just a hint of contouring. If you’re going for high visual weight, go bold with full-coverage foundations, intense colors for eyes and lips, sharp contouring, bold brows, and eyeliner.

Would you recommend the technique to others?

I’d recommend trying both low and high-visual weight makeup trends. Low visual weight is chill for daily vibes, while high visual weight brings the drama for special moments. But remember, makeup has no rules; have fun and rock whatever feels right for you.

What are your overall thoughts about it?

Overall, trends in makeup are fun to explore and play with, but at the end of the day, there are no rules in makeup. It’s all about expressing yourself and feeling confident in whatever style you choose!

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