As a 25-year-old adult human woman growing crustier than the bottom of a sauce pan by the hour, I have very little insight into “what the cool teens are up to” these days. In fact, uttering the words “what the cool teens are up to” is probably grounds for arrest in whatever utopia the denizens of Gen Z are undoubtedly building in secret right now, but that just goes to show you how far removed I am.
Since I work on the internet, though, I try to stay informed as best I can. My latest strategy involves stalking a roster of hand-picked (by me) cool teens on Google images to keep tabs on what they’re up to, in the style of a classic helicopter parent.
Around the beginning of May, when statement earrings were still a trend going strong, I began to notice how cool teens accessorized: they didn’t. Or they wore delicate earrings at most. Rather than clutter their lobes and clavicles with jewelry, cool teens at large swapped in another adornment entirely: notebook doodle makeup.
What is notebook doodle makeup? Great question, mom! It’s a name I came up with to describe how cool teens accessorize their red carpet looks. Notebook doodle makeup reminds me of the bright, colorful, perfectly imperfect doodles I used to make with highlighters and Gelly Roll pens in my high school notebooks (usually during chemistry class).
Take Rowan Blanchard’s magnificent rainbow-hooded lids at a recent Chanel-sponsored dinner in L.A, for example. “The stranger I look, the more comfortable I feel,” said Blanchard to WWD of the four different shades of eye shadow she was wearing simultaneously.
“I don’t really wear makeup in my day-to-day life, so when I do, I wear blue and green, something colorful. I’m obsessed with when people get freaky with makeup. It feels very performance-like. I don’t like thinking about it in terms of perfecting something.”
Sasha Lane, Maisie Williams and Joey King are all also clearly on board — each accessorizing with a swipe of thick, colorful eyeliner straight out of a Crayola box lineup at recent red carpet events.
The best thing about this red carpet trend is how easy it is to replicate. You don’t need an expensive handbag or millions of dollars worth of jewelry to look like a cool teen. All you need is your high school pencil case.
Feature collage by Edith Young; Photos by Joe Schilling, Jason LaVeris, Myrna M. Suarez, Stefanie Keenan, Monica Schipper, Gregg DeGuire and JB Lacroix via Getty Images