Skip to Main Content

Culture & Trends

Tiny faces, big audiences

  • By Joshua Sostrin
  • Editor
  • Sep.30.2020
Tiny faces, big audiences
How people are putting on their best face by putting on their smallest face — and they’re doing this through the tiny faces makeup challenge.

The 2020 Olympics have been postponed until next year...professional sports like soccer, basketball, and baseball are playing abbreviated seasons to empty stadiums...while other sports have been canceled altogether.


What are dispirited fans to do in this unprecedented time for competitive sports when marble racing won’t fit the bill?


It’s time to watch how others are putting on their best face by putting on their smallest face — and they’re doing this through the tiny faces makeup challenge.


We’ll explain...

And what exactly is a tiny face created with makeup?

On April 29, beauty creator Jaime French helped popularize this trend by uploading a video called “Tiny Face Makeup Challenge.” She used visual effects makeup techniques to create the illusion of a tiny face with her “mouth” sitting at the base of her nose, while her real mouth and lower portion of her face were covered by a mask. 


French’s video has gained over a million views and spawned many others to take up the challenge, the most popular coming from creators like  Kristen Leanne, TheLittleBalu, BrandiTV, Andrew Ponch, and ANJA. From the time French uploaded her “Tiny Face Makeup Challenge,” videos with “tiny face” and “makeup” or “challenge” in the title have gained 9.3 million views.*

The great debate

As is the case with many trends that go viral, debate has erupted over when the tiny faces makeup challenge actually began. 


Although the spike in uploads and viewership for these videos did not happen until French put on a happy (albeit tiny) face, some commenters on her original video have argued that a small group of visual effects creators started this trend years ago. Some insisted the originator of this trend is visual effects makeup artist Anna Lingis-Zavros with her 2014 rendition of Yoda. Others have credited visual effects artists like Alexis Stone.

😷마스크에 화장이 자꾸 묻어나면 이렇게 해보세요! (NO파데!) Non-smudging makeup while wearing a mask
Play button Play button icon

😷마스크에 화장이 자꾸 묻어나면 이렇게 해보세요! (NO파데!) Non-smudging makeup while wearing a mask

A Covid-19 tie-in?

It may seem like all this fun with masks concealing part of the face is somehow grounded in the current pandemic, which is requiring many people in the world to wear a mask in public areas. As it turns out, however, the trend is not directly related to Covid-19. Indeed, as public mask wearers know, not covering your nose is a no-no (even if tiny face makeup challengers’ use of their exposed noses to achieve this illusion is a worthy endeavor). 


And yet this trend is nonetheless grouped under the larger umbrella of makeup tutorials for those wearing facemasks. This broader category of tutorials typically focuses on making makeup under facemasks last longer and ensuring external makeup does not get smudged by masks. Many of the most popular videos in this category are from beauty creators PONY, Manny Mua, Hatice Schmidt, lamuqe, and Hot and Flashy.


What’s next?

Beauty creators keep coming up with creative new ways to express themselves, and we can't wait to see what they do next.  


*Source: YouTube data, global, Mar 15 - Sep 20, 2020.