What do you expect to find in a make-up bag? Lippy? Mascara? How about a hot glue gun?
A bit odd, no? Nevertheless, beauty creators are adding this unconventional tool to their arsenal of products. TikTok’s make-up artists have been using hot glue guns to produce futuristic 3D looks consisting of sculptural graphic eyeliner and organic shapes.
The trend was popularised by beauty creator Vanessa Funes, better known as @cutcreaser, in March this year after she posted a video in which she used a hot glue gun to help create a space-age eyeliner look. She says, “The first design I made was inspired by the Mandalorian’s Beskar armour but melted. So, I thought of melted metal and how that would look as an eyeliner design.”
Funes first tried her hand at the technique in 2019 when creating Euphoria-inspired fake tears. But, after watching TikTok creator Elaine Corredor’s 3D chrome eyeshadow tutorial, she was inspired to give it another go. She cites the work of 3D digital makeup artist Ines Alpha, saying, “I had never seen anyone design the glue pieces like myself! Then I found out that a digital artist who does 3D work also did similar work for Charli XCX’s self-titled album artwork. It’s cool how things come back to create trends.”
Since Funes’ video went viral, the trend has gathered traction on TikTok, with the hashtag #hotgluemakeup amassing an impressive 14.9 million views. Among the artists trying the trend for themselves, creator Anhelina Sira was inspired by the cyber nature of the hot glue gun looks. She says, “The first mention of cyber beauty was made by Pat McGrath backstage at a Prada show, in February 2020. And since then, glittery pigments, geometric shapes and graphic eyeliner looks have been making their way into most of the trending looks of the 2020s.”
Before you try this trend at home it is important to note that you should not place hot glue directly on your face! It is recommended to use a stainless-steel surface or parchment paper as a base to draw your desired designs. This prevents your surface from melting and allows for the glue to peel off easily. Funes says, “I move the gun towards the directions I want it to go so to the side, up, down, around, or even zigzag it to make it a certain shape. And I use a light or heavy hand on the trigger depending on how I want the shape to go. Then finally I release more and more pressure to pull away from the piece I made and let it dry for a few minutes.” Makeup artist and former contestant on BBC show Glow Up, Eve Jenkins, offers a hot tip to help achieve symmetry: “Just keep trying and when you have two that are close you can use little scissors to even them out.”
Working with glue does provide the perfect opportunity for experimentation. “I start creating random shapes, until I find a style that I like or until I have a good collection to play with. I don’t really plan out the shapes I just go with the flow,” says Jenkins. While Sara adds: “When the glue is still drying, I use a metal spatula to give it some texture and imitate that liquid mercury effect, then when it’s dry, I rub in a shimmery silver eyeshadow.” The colourless nature of the glue lends itself to customisation. Artists have produced a wide variety of looks by using a sponge to apply different coloured eyeshadows and glitter to the glue. To finally achieve that futuristic 3D look, all you need to do is attach your creations to your face, simply use some tweezers and eyelash glue and position the designs as you wish.
In terms of where Funes thinks this trend will go, she says, “I think it’s trending so wildly now so I can imagine it on celebrities’ red carpet looks or more runways in the future. It’s a neat technique and to see it fully realized on other folks has been amazing.” Whereas Jenkins offers other potential uses for the latest addition to her makeup bag, saying, “I used a similar technique with a glue gun to create matching 3D nails. If you stop thinking about it just being hot glue gun eyeliner. It’s simply just a 3D effect and this can be translated into anything!”